Students of economics are usually seduced into "Free Trade" by reading the classic eighteenth century text, "Wealth Of Nations," by Adam Smith. This book describes a pleasant economic world in which each country freely chooses to produce those things which it is best suited to produce, and the benevolent "invisible hand" of supply and demand neatly regulates prices and production levels of all products, for the benefit of all people. And everyone lives happily ever after.
But this rosy scenario does not apply today. The biggest problem with "Wealth Of Nations" for us today is that corporations barely existed when it was written, and modern industrial Capitalism was totally unforseen. In fact, the word "Capitalism" didn't yet exist. Therefore "Wealth Of Nations" may have been very useful to describe the economic realities in 1776, but it is worthless to describe these realities today. The modern-day, multi-national, profit-seeking corporation - armed with huge financial resources, instant communication, the right to free speech, the right to own property, and the right to hire and fire - totally changes the whole scene. Halliburton is a prime example. Who can stand up against them, naked, on an unregulated battlefield? Nobody can! The entire "Wealth Of Nations" free-trade scenario is altered beyond recognition. Unless these corporations can somehow be regulated, they will form alliances as needed, then win every competition they choose to enter, every battle they choose to fight.
Until very recently, the average person in the United States has not been hurt very much by unregulated "Free Trade," because we have had the benefit of some low-priced consumer goods made in other countries under slave-labor conditions, such as cheap shoes and clothing and almost everything sold at Wal-Mart. So we have smugly said to ourselves, "This is no problem for us. We are the rich beneficiaries of free trade, not the poor victims."
But now, unregulated "Free Trade" has started to turn against us, too, as our non-manufacturing jobs have begun to leave the country to join the manufacturing jobs which have already moved away. Why should anyone have ever thought that "Free Trade" would suck out only the manufacturing jobs?
No! "Free Trade" will suck out any jobs which can be performed cheaper somewhere else than here. The manufacturing jobs were merely the first to go. For example, if Microsoft or any other high-tech corporation can get the computer programmers it needs from China or India, at less than half the cost of employing Americans, why wouldn't they do it? Corporations exist to make profits, not to be nice to people. They will hire and fire at their own discretion, and everyone else can go to hell.
Blessings to you. May God help us all.
Rev. Bill McGinnis
Rev. Bill McGinnis is an Internet Christian minister, writer, and publisher. He is Director of LoveAllPeople.org, a small private think tank in Alexandria, Virginia, and all of its related websites, including InternetChurchOfChrist.org, CommitteeForTheGoldenRule.org, CivicAmerican.com, and EssaysAndCommentaries.com, LoveAllPeople.org. His agenda is to help maximize the happiness and well-being of all people.