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US Politics

Fair Trade Vs Free Trade

When they shop at these large retailers. They fail to consider “That nothing is cheap if you don’t have a job”. 

 The Bittersweet Reality

If you were considering topics to discuss during your next dinner party how well do you think ‘free trade trade agreements’ would rate with your friends? Yes, I agree entirely. However on the other side of the track in a growing number of American states this would be an entirely different story. 

I speak of states like Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio to name a few. Commonly known in political speak as the ‘rust belt states” these used to be prosperous regions, but no longer. They have become places where many people as victims of political ineptitude and neglect, continue to suffer the consequences of long term unemployment, and the remorseless socioeconomic destruction it bequeaths. Such is their plight . 

A Shocking Indictment

As any competent psychologist would agree, that is precisely where deep bitterness and its constant companion, hopelessness finds root.  Many people in these circumstances summoning the last residues of pride as their only defence, prefer  not to talk about it, they bottle it up.  Others are so distraught they are unable to think clearly as they fight the ceaseless pain of being reminded – every day. What a shocking indictment, the sight of decent Americans facing the debilitating reality of a world which offers no income, no prospects and only the unwanted gift of diminished self esteem.

Who wouldn’t feel left out, politically betrayed and bitter? Judging by her comments, apparently the Bosnian war heroine Hillary Clinton?  The former first lady claims to be in touch. ” Utter rubbish, how insensitive and ignorant in the extreme!”  Everybody else has said it. And now it’s my turn, “Shame on her!”. That feels much better.

Saying things like that when confronting these sad facts helps me, but it doesn’t help the people of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio and many other places, only a new deal for America can do that.  And it goes without saying – a new type of dealer in the Oval office.

The Demise of American Manufacturing

The purpose of this discourse is to make the case that these free trade agreements usually result in the loss of American jobs in the first instance as companies are forced to cut costs trying to compete with low wage, nil benefit paying, manufacturers.  After a while branches and plants begin to close and inevitably this leads to the demise of even more American based businesses. None of this is news. But why is it that no politician has attempted to turn this around, to halt the continuing degradation of  America’s manufacturing production capactiy.

It is quite simple really. American based manufacturers simply cannot compete with Asian pay rates and low cost working conditions. Unless something is done about this problem the continuing demise of American manufacturing enterprises will continue. It is the reason many manufacturers have taken their work to Asia. Generations of Americans built those companies from scratch, and yet to survive and keep their shareholders happy those same companies have had to desert their American employees. It’s a catch 22 situation. Always remember, the flight of investment capital owes allegiance to no flag.

And now for the big picture: If this trend continues unchecked, it will ensure further long term damage to the national economy, increasing national debt, continued depreciation in the value of US currency and higher unemployment. Who’s been minding the store in Washington?  Who is gaining from all of this. I think you know.


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  1. John,

    This is such an accurate and thoughtful statement on what is happening with our economy. I think what Obama had to say about people being bitter, was with good reason. People are bitter!

    I don’t think he used a poor choice of words at all, but rather it was a poor choice on the part of the very negative American media, to turn it into a “miss-statement”, when there are real people in all parts of this country, who are suffering because of what the Bush administration and the war have done to our economy! I’ve seen it first hand, I know.

    Thanks, well done!

    Posted by Cami | April 19, 2008, 4:10 am
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