“An increasingly synchronised global economy will contract in 2009 for the first time since World War II.”
--The Economist, Manning The Barricades
“Import replacement, by the way, is exactly how the United States rose in the 19th century to become the world’s preeminent manufacturing nation. It doesn’t foreclose trade with other countries, but it self-evidently changes the terms of that trade, and it would spell the end of the kind of predatory “globalism” that has led to the current state of gross imbalance and reckless destruction.”
--James Howard Kunstler
Free trade has proven to be one more bad, amoral, extremely costly, and irresponsible deregulation. As a result of this effectively forced trade regime we are well on our way to wiping out our once enviable First World standards of living, wages, benefits, human rights and democracy. As a result, we in the USA are now begging for money from a totalitarian China and watching the middle-class gains of the twentieth century evaporate and economic independence become a memory.
And they call this progress? Freedom? Universal gain?
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Aside from multinational corporations able to arbitrage and extort first world labor, free trade for the great majority, and particularly for the G7 countries, has been a dependency disaster. This is due to the fact it is not really free but rather a forced, capital-driven, WTO-GATT-NAFTA scheme unaffected by the wishes of the vast wage-earning majorities in “free” countries around the world. What we have today is a fascist, top-down, fast-tracked, global gulag.
Get real. To have truly free trade, you have to be free not to trade and/or to revise your tariff systems according to domestic needs and democratic preferences – i.e., meaning a rational and incentivizing scheme appropriate for a still very disparate and undemocratic world. Otherwise, you are locked into a regime over which you have no control... and so we now find ourselves trapped within a roach motel “economy” without exit.
Instead of domestic tariff and trade freedoms serving us well for over a century, we have virtually given away our markets, our leverage, our moral authority, our democracy, and our standard of living... and all for nothing but a surfeit of “cheap” goods serving to create monstrous trade imbalances and lock the world into global oligarchy, oligopoly, and a dispiriting sameness.
The premise of interdependency (read dependency) is that nations locked together in trade will not go to war, etc. This naive theorum is still in vogue despite today’s synchronized collapse, beggar-thy-neighbor currency pegs, competitive devaluation policies, and now the riots and revolutions arising around the world. All of this chaos is due to this interdependency nonsense brought to us by unrepentant fascists and thieving banksters out to destroy democracy, freedom, and diversity.
Given this “synchronized” global collapse the remedy now is to rebuild domestic demand and capacity – but exactly this rational necessity is stymied by existing “free” trade treaties written by multinationals. This is where free trade breaks down and why many degrees and strategems of protectionism will, and should arise, in order to rebuild domestic capacity and demand.
In this way we rebuild and multiply the middle classes of nations, we multiply producers, competition and creativity, and we break down the migration of privilege, profit, and power into fewer and fewer hands and corporations. In this way we can trade and tariff as we wish and adjust our level of interdependency as wage-earning majorities see fit. That’s truly free trade... and a domestic freedom and process nations badly need today.
Economic efficiency needn't be fascist and greater-slave driven but must first be democratic, moral and environmentally sane... to be truly economic. Otherwise, prisoners are cheap producers and even extorted wage earners don't need the upkeep expense of a slave who, like you, also does not get to vote for their trade representative.
At this juncture, if not collapsing the current undemocratic trade scheme, we should temporarily suspend GATT-NAFTA-WTO rules, say, for three years and allow truly free and/or tariffed trade to proceed... according to domestic needs and wants. Aggregate demand is not then reduced in this manner but simply shifted from foreign to domestic producers.... allowing for more domestic freedom, diversity, and democracy.
Exactly this call for rebuilding domestic demand, and escaping the export-driven economy trap, is being heard around the world today. At the same time the Smoot-Hawley propaganda we hear constantly is largely nonsense and but a distracting cover for the Federal Reserve’s creation of the Great Depression... and this one too.
The real problem with the current trade scheme is that it is all about protectionism for capital and not for labor, the vast wage-earning majorities, or our collapsing environment. That is precisely why the scheme is failing, producing syncronized ruin, and now synchronized riot and revolution... just as Karl Marx predicted would occur with free trade. Meanwhile, the independent Amish have to be laughing their asses off seeing the misery resulting from capital’s corrupt dependency regime. For us, however, “buying American” still remains a crime, and a trade “barrier” to exploitation and reward of the greater slave.
Clearly, free trade and globalization as we know is simply old style imperialism with the rich extorting the poor and middle classes and lesser nations. Perfected by England this “comparative advantage” policy was used to collapse domestic competition around the world by undercutting local producers until they disappeared and competition was destroyed. Even today we need anti-dumping provisions for this very reason.
In any case, inter-dependency is but another name for dependency and a removal of freedom, independence, sovereignty and sustainability.
The emerging global depression is a direct result of not only private central banks “independence” and capital’s trade scheme of forced interdependency but also the tying up of economies into export machines forced to neglect domestic needs - often in order to pay off costly loans from World Bank organizations brought to them by economic hit men.
A good example of the academic fantasy land of free traders has to be the idiocy of Clinton-Era free trade promoters like Robert Reich. He proudly asserted years ago that we need not worry as everyone in the advanced nations would become “symbolic analysts” in high paying service jobs - a real gob of nonsense here in a country whose population is fifty percent illiterate and still subject to even service job outsourcing without penalty or offset.
The free traders, corporate fascists, and bought-off legislators owe a massive mea culpa to the American people and the world. A few brave economists like Krugman and Steiglitz have already admitted the fallacies and errors of the regime. But many still go on talking about the evils of protectionism and economic democracy while the First World collapses from our enclosure in a forced trade straightjacket.
Clearly, we should have listened to Ralph Nader – a man who, unlike Congress, actually read the trade documents and discerned the trap and travesty awaiting the American people. But all the corporate media whores buried these concerns along with the will of the vast majority of American people - who instinctively understood the idiocy and unfairness of these trade schemes.
It all goes to show us what a “free” country we live in... and what a riot it is becoming.