Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
How Sony Is Fueling the Computer Vision Boom - 3rd Aug 20
Computer Gaming System Rig Top Tips For 6 Years Future Proofing Build Spec - 3rd Aug 20
Cornwwall Bude Caravan Park Holidays 2020 - Look Inside Holiday Resort Caravan - 3rd Aug 20
UK Caravan Park Holidays 2020 Review - Hoseasons Cayton Bay North East England - 3rd Aug 20
Best Travel Bags for 2020 Summer Holidays , Back Sling packs, water proof, money belt and tactical - 3rd Aug 20
Precious Metals Warn Of Increased Volatility Ahead - 2nd Aug 20
The Key USDX Sign for Gold and Silver - 2nd Aug 20
Corona Crisis Will Have Lasting Impact on Gold Market - 2nd Aug 20
Gold & Silver: Two Pictures - 1st Aug 20
The Bullish Case for Stocks Isn't Over Yet - 1st Aug 20
Is Gold Price Action Warning Of Imminent Monetary Collapse - Part 2? - 1st Aug 20
Will America Accept the World's Worst Pandemic Response Government - 1st Aug 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More – Part II - 1st Aug 20
Trump White House Accelerating Toward a US Dollar Crisis - 31st Jul 20
Why US Commercial Real Estate is Set to Get Slammed - 31st Jul 20
Gold Price Blows Through Upside Resistance - The Chase Is On - 31st Jul 20
Is Crude Oil Price Setting Up for a Waterfall Decline? - 31st Jul 20
Stock Market Technical Patterns, Future Expectations and More - 30th Jul 20
Why Big Money Is Already Pouring Into Edge Computing Tech Stocks - 30th Jul 20
Economic and Geopolitical Worries Fuel Gold’s Rally - 30th Jul 20
How to Finance an Investment Property - 30th Jul 20
I Hate Banks - Including Goldman Sachs - 29th Jul 20
NASDAQ Stock Market Double Top & Price Channels Suggest Pending Price Correction - 29th Jul 20
Silver Price Surge Leaves Naysayers in the Dust - 29th Jul 20
UK Supermarket Covid-19 Shop - Few Masks, Lack of Social Distancing (Tesco) - 29th Jul 20
Budgie Clipped Wings, How Long Before it Can Fly Again? - 29th Jul 20
How To Take Advantage Of Tesla's 400% Stock Surge - 29th Jul 20
Gold Makes Record High and Targets $6,000 in New Bull Cycle - 28th Jul 20
Gold Strong Signal For A Secular Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Anatomy of a Gold and Silver Precious Metals Bull Market - 28th Jul 20
Shopify Is Seizing an $80 Billion Pot of Gold - 28th Jul 20
Stock Market Minor Correction Underway - 28th Jul 20
Why College Is Never Coming Back - 27th Jul 20
Stocks Disconnect from Economy, Gold Responds - 27th Jul 20
Silver Begins Big Upside Rally Attempt - 27th Jul 20
The Gold and Silver Markets Have Changed… What About You? - 27th Jul 20
Google, Apple And Amazon Are Leading A $30 Trillion Assault On Wall Street - 27th Jul 20
This Stock Market Indicator Reaches "Lowest Level in Nearly 20 Years" - 26th Jul 20
New Wave of Economic Stimulus Lifts Gold Price - 26th Jul 20
Stock Market Slow Grind Higher Above the Early June Stock Highs - 26th Jul 20
How High Will Silver Go? - 25th Jul 20
If You Own Gold, Look Out Below - 25th Jul 20
Crude Oil and Energy Sets Up Near Major Resistance – Breakdown Pending - 25th Jul 20
FREE Access to Premium Market Forecasts by Elliott Wave International - 25th Jul 20
The Promise of Silver as August Approaches: Accumulation and Conversation - 25th Jul 20
The Silver Bull Gateway is at Hand - 24th Jul 20
The Prospects of S&P 500 Above the Early June Highs - 24th Jul 20
How Silver Could Surpass Its All-Time High - 24th Jul 20
China Recovered in Q2. Will the Red Dragon Sink Gold? - 23rd Jul 20
UK Covid19 MOT 6 Month Extensions Still Working Late July 2020? - 23rd Jul 20
How Did the Takeaway Apps Stocks Perform During the Lockdown? - 23rd Jul 20
US Stock Market Stalls Near A Double Peak - 23rd Jul 20
Parking at Lands End Car Park Cornwall - UK Holidays 2020 - 23rd Jul 20
Translating the Gold Index Signal into Gold Target - 23rd Jul 20
Weakness in commodity prices suggests a slowing economy - 23rd Jul 20
This Stock Market Stinks - But Not Why You May Think - 22nd Jul 20
Protracted G7 Economic Contraction – or Multiyear Global Depression - 22nd Jul 20
Gold and Oil: Be Aware of the "Spike" - 22nd Jul 20
US Online Casino Demographics: Who Plays Online For Money? - 22nd Jul 20
Machine Intelligence Quantum AI Stocks Mega-Trend Forecast 2020 to 2035! - 21st Jul 20
How to benefit from the big US Infrastructure push - 21st Jul 20
Gold and gold mining stocks are entering a strong seasonal phase - 21st Jul 20
Silver Eyes Key Breakout Levels as Inflation Heats Up - 21st Jul 20
Gold During Coronavirus Recession and Beyond - 21st Jul 20
US Election 2020: ‘A Major Bear Market of Political Decency’ - 21st Jul 20
Summertime Sizzle for Gold and Silver - 21st Jul 20
Overclockers UK Custom Built PC Review - Delivery and Unboxing (3) - 21st Jul 20
Will Coronavirus Vaccines Become a Bridge to Nowhere? - 20th Jul 20
Stock Market Time for Caution?  - 20th Jul 20
ClickTrades Review - The Importance of Dynamic Analysis and Educational Tools in Online Trading - 20th Jul 20
US Housing Market Collapse Second Phase Pending - 20th Jul 20
Capitalising on the AI Mega-trend - 20th Jul 20
Getting Started with Machine Learning - 20th Jul 20
Why Moores Law is NOT Dead! - 20th Jul 20
Help the Economy by Going Outside - 19th Jul 20
Stock Market Fantasy Finance: Follow the Money - 19th Jul 20
Did the Stock Market Bubble Just Pop? - 19th Jul 20
Quick Souring of the S&P 500 Stock Market Mood - 19th Jul 20
The Six-Year Jobs Recession - 19th Jul 20
Silver Demand Exploding! - 18th Jul 20
Tesco Scraps Covid Safe One Way Arrow Supermarket Shopping System - 18th Jul 20
The Rise of Online Pawnbroking - 17th Jul 20
Gold Rallies Together With U.S. Covid-19 Cases - 17th Jul 20
Gold & Silver Measured Moves - 17th Jul 20
The Bizarre Mathematics Of How Negative Interest Rates Create Stratospheric Profits - 17th Jul 20
From a Stocks Bull Market Far, Far Away, Virus Doomsday Scenerio! - 16th Jul 20
Fiscal Cliffs and the Self-destructing Treasury - 16th Jul 20
Dow Stock Market Crash Watch - Update - 16th Jul 20
Gold & Silver Gaining on US Dollar Weakness - 16th Jul 20
How to Find the Best Stocks to Invest In - 16th Jul 20
Overclockers UK Custom Build PC Review - 2. System Build Changes Communications - 16th Jul 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

What Is At Stake With Free Trade

Economics / Global Economy Nov 15, 2009 - 07:00 AM GMT

By: Shamus_Cooke

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIn the ten years since the World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle, global opposition to free trade and “globalization” has exploded. The general public now has a basic understanding of how the world economy works … against them: companies scour the globe searching for slave wages, which help push down wages in “developed” countries; any regulation that reduces profits — environmental, financial, labor, etc. — is destroyed or ignored.


The two focal points of the anti-globalization movement have been dismantling of the WTO and free trade agreements; both legitimate targets. However, what happens if both goals are accomplished? Mission Accomplished?

The obvious answer is no. Corporations will continue to push for the above anti-worker policies, whether or not the WTO continues to exist or if free trade agreements stop.

Proof of this can be seen in the present condition of the WTO, an organization that, for all intents and purposes, is dead — having collapsed under its own weight. The “Doha” round of the WTO has been eight years in the making, with little sign of a deal emerging. Powerful corporations in different countries are advocating a more “independent” approach to trade; they view the corporate-run WTO as too democratic, and would rather go it alone on the global market place.

And go alone they have. Instead of WTO-style international trade agreements, rich nations began developing one-on-one “bi-lateral” agreements, between themselves and poorer nations. The result is that instead of having an international agreement over trade, we have competing trade blocs. The European Union and NAFTA are the two largest, although others exist around the world, each dominated by a regional economic powerhouse.

Promoting these bi-lateral agreements or trade blocs are the corporations residing within the boundaries of the richer nations. To boost their profits, they need guaranteed access to markets, cheap labor, and raw materials. Once they’ve captured these items via a free trade agreement, their overseas competitors are excluded. Thus, the international battle for these rare commodities becomes intensified; the threat of war and “regime change” is always considered an option when diplomacy and threats fail. It becomes clear, then, that free trade is merely a policy of corporations to pursue wider aims within a larger system.

When all the mysteries behind it are removed, free trade is revealed as simply the best fuel for capitalism; it allows money and goods to flow around the world freely (while keeping workers within national boundaries), and thus boosts profits best. Restrictions to free trade — regulation, protectionism, state ownership, etc. — reduce profits, and are thus fought by most corporations. But not all anti-free trade measures are equal.

For example, any worker concerned with trade will welcome certain demands of the “fair trade” movement, including the demand for living wage jobs domestically and abroad, and high labor and environmental standards internationally.

However, other demands of the fair trade movement are not so progressive. Quite the opposite. Some fair traders are demanding that U.S. corporations be allowed to compete on a “level playing field” internationally, while also including demands that help U.S. corporations export abroad more efficiently. Working people have no interest in helping “their” corporations battle other global corporations for global market dominance.

Unfortunately, the membership of the fair trade movement is polluted by individuals and corporations promoting such ideas. They advocate workers and corporations uniting for “fair trade,” with a focus on pressuring the U.S. government to help U.S. corporations out-battle — by any means necessary — foreign corporations.

This attempt at worker/corporation “partnerships” has deeply infected not only the fair trade movement, but portions of the U.S. labor movement. The most heinous example is the Alliance for American Manufacturers (AAM). The AAM is a group consisting of giant U.S. corporations and the U.S. Steelworkers union; the president of the AAM is also the President of the Steelworkers. The group argues that the interests of workers and corporations are one and the same — but one of these groups is being badly fooled.

For example, the AAM serves to promote its version of fair trade through media, intellectuals, and most importantly, pressuring the U.S. government to raise trade barriers against China and other countries. The AAM has been very successful promoting U.S. animosity towards China, having persuaded Obama to act more aggressively than Bush. Make no mistake, the AAM considers “fair trade” to mean the dominance of U.S. corporations. In the past, confrontations over trade — i.e., international market dominance — have evolved into trade wars, evolving in some cases into military wars.

The AAM has greatly succeeded in creating a progressive image for U.S. manufacturing corporations. Their sponsorship of TV and radio personality Ed Schultz — himself closely tied to the Democrats — is one example of how U.S. corporations have bought alleged supporters of the working-class. The U.S. corporations behind the AAM have solid support in Congress, and use this support to advocate corporate protectionist trade policies. To please the corporations, the Democrats pass the bills, while some labor leaders scream “victory!” Of course, workers have no interest in befriending corporations, and for good reason.

The more workers are taught to “cooperate” with the company they work for, the less able are they to put up a fight when “their” company decides to slash jobs, wages and benefits, or destroy pensions, etc. When attempting to organize a union or bargain a union contract, workers and employers stand opposed to each other; employers are notorious union-busters, and use intimidation, threats, and firings to achieve their aims; workers in response fight back through demonstrations and strikes. There is little room for friendly cooperation during these moments; when the workplace facade of “teamwork” is shattered, its true nature of competing interests is revealed.

This is the necessary place to start when creating worker-friendly political goals. The fair trade movement needs some deep cleaning, so that the contaminating, corporate influence is neutralized. Only clear, pro-worker polices should be fought for, leaving the corporations to fend for themselves. This will require the abandonment of the corporate-bought Democrats, while clearly defining what “fair trade” is.

For many progressive workers, fair trade is an all-encompassing term that includes: living wages and benefits, international cooperation, the strict regulation of the banks, the environment, and corporations in general. After hearing the comprehensive aims of fair-traders, it becomes clear that many are referring to an issue wider than merely trade — they desire a complete overhaul of how our economic system works, and who it works for. They want people and the environment to be the political priority, not corporations. This can only mean a desire to transform our current economic structure — capitalism.

If the battle against free trade is really a battle against capitalism, then it must be clearly stated. As it stands now, many corporations are benefiting from the confusion that “free trade” creates, and use the bewilderment to help them gain workers' and union officials' support in fighting foreign corporations. For workers, this is a suicidal policy.

The first step in fighting free trade is removing the influence of U.S. corporations, and instead, begin fighting these corporations, with the goal of democratically controlling these privately owned entities, so that the wealth of billionaires may become the wealth of whole communities. Only then will we have a real voice over our wages, the environment, and over what we choose to produce and trade with other nations.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org).  He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

Shamus Cooke is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Shamus Cooke

© Copyright Shamus Cooke , Global Research, 2009

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules