Surprise! “Free Trade Agreements” Damage the American Economy

by James Matthew Wilson on June 1, 2011 · 3 comments <span>Print this article</span> Print this article

in Short

Devon, PA.  Paul Craig Roberts reports at The American Conservative the shocking news that a Nobel-prizing-winning economist associated with the Council on Foreign Relations has demonstrated the deleterious effects of “globalizing” “Free Trade” agreements on the American economy:

To find a Nobel prize-winner documenting the high cost of globalism to developed economies is extraordinary. For the Council on Foreign Relations to publish it suggests that the Establishment, or some part of it, suspects that its hubris has run away with its fortunes, and that different thinking is needed to restore the US economy.

We must be in a bad way if such persons (the CFR, et al.) are willing at last to admit the relevance of evidence so plain to nearly every American outside the beltway and uncontaminated by the coasts.  But the greater significance of Roberts’ essay is the empirical study that occasions it: numbers confirm the anecdotes, and the local instances of disappearing manufacturing jobs are documented as part of a macro-level trend.

With Republicans agitating to sell the country down the river to yet another set of “trading partners” (a relationship in which the amity is entirely one-sided), a move to which the Obama White House perfectly amenable (once the losers in the deal who are members of unions have received their compensatory kick-back, of course), we can look forward to a few more sprays of Pam to grease the slide into bankruptcy, unemployment, and the disappearance of what is left of the American middle class.  Not that these agreements will lead to South Korea, Panama, or Columbia’s feasting on our fruits: the real beneficiaries live here, in America, and you might even say they do business here, if you can all managing the off-shoring of the foundation and core of our economy “business” rather than pillaging.

If only a nation’s entire economy could consist of nurse practitioners putting bandaids on the thumbs of displaced workers, who have worked up some serious callouses sitting on the couch all week, flipping channels on their foreign-made flat screen!

I dream of the day when the Establishment might actually listen to someone like Tom Pauken, and we might see an American VAT function to the benefit of American manufacturing and the rebalancing of our exports with our imports.  If the Council on Foreign Relations will allow the truth to be spoken, anything is possible.

Read the whole report here.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar love the girls June 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm

“We must be in a bad way if such persons are willing at last to admit the relevance of evidence so plain to nearly every American outside the beltway and uncontaminated by the coasts. ”

I only occasionally read the The American Conservative, but it was my impression that it, as creature of Pat Buchanan, has been the most consistent national voice against free trade. Especially of the kind of “free trade” the practiced here which as you write amounts to nothing short of pillaging.

avatar John C. Médaille June 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

The trade isn’t “free”; in fact, it isn’t even trade. Trade is when I make something and you make something, and we exchange them to our mutual advantage. But when I make something and you make nothing, but I lend you the money to buy what I make, it is debt, not trade. And it doesn’t become trade until the circuit is completed: you must make something for me to eliminate the debt.

Trade would be good, free or fair. The sign of real trade is that it is balanced, more or less. This is not what we have, and not what we are likely to get anytime in the near future.

Our biggest problem is not the federal deficit, but the current accounts deficit.

avatar D.W. Sabin June 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

As with so many entrenched Shibboleth, when discussing the mirage of Free Trade, we can point to Gandhi’s riposte when some condescending wag put the question about “Western Civilization” to him:

“somebody should try it sometime”

Conventional wisdom is not such a bad thing when the leadership of any polity actually runs on principle and reasoned ethics. We are way beyond any relevant definition of “government” in this regard now. After all, while playing chicken with the known results of Athen’s dumbfoundingly dubious assault against Sicily, we continue to pump billions down the doublewide gullet of that Tar Baby set of sadistic twins known as the Levant and the Hindu Kush. I believe the term of art they employ is “Nation Building”, or, perhaps, “doing it over there so it don’t come here”.

Here at home, we’ve given full vent to the idea of change by adopting Nation Destruction as a proper venue for our attentions. The Government and its media swoon several days of news cycles over “Tweets” (Gawd , was there ever a name that fit the object so well?) about Wiener’s pudenda while the granting of legal protections for Ashcroft’s violation of the Rule of Law at the altar of fighting Terrorism comes and goes in a heartbeat. We are not a nation that vouchsafes the Rule of Law anymore and so we are no longer, frankly, a nation. We are a collection of varying urges, largely unrequited and entirely inchoate. The fact that we are well armed on a mortgage plan in this pursuit should alarm any right-thinking individual.

This is a puerile and self-destructive culture intent upon a date with the gutter. Many innocent and good folks will go down with it but one has to recognize that the great noisy majority of this Culture of Unceasing Want is well past any hope of redemption and they are damned proud of it. Never has the accepted definition of “open-mindedness” been so thoroughly shut up within a terminal Skinner Box of No Return.

Any idea that the Yakatariet might embark upon “different thinking” is either vain or clueless or perhaps both. This is the United States of Kervorkian. Another Round for the House.

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