Throughout most of my life I’ve heard my fair share about something called free trade.
What is Free Trade? Why is it such a large issue?
Free trade is a policy followed by international markets in which a country’s government will not place a restriction on goods being imported from, or exported to, other countries.
There are barely any tariffs, barely any taxes on incoming and outgoing goods.
The entire idea is that, if the entire world turns into a global market, large international corporations would rely on each other for financial survival and thus larger, wealthier nations would be incentivized to help the economies of smaller, poorer countries.
Now, economists, politicians and CEOs from Apple to Namco have sworn by Free Trade and all the policies made in its name, such as NAFTA, and TPP, work.
I don’t think they do.
Since the signing of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada in 1994, we have lost over 600,000 jobs to Mexico as manufacturing simply picked up and moved south, closing factories in California, Texas and Michigan and other states.
China has consumed more than three million American jobs to outsourcing.
Why are corporations like Apple and Nike are so willing to pack up and move factories and jobs to other countries?
Because of the cheap labor forces. It’s common knowledge these companies make use of sweatshops and child labor.
In 2013 an undercover reporter went to Dailymail, BBC and other news outlets that Apple’s sweatshops have violated basic human and workers rights and continue to do so.
These violations include laboring fifty-five hour work weeks with no paid overtime, being forced to sleep in confined rooms with up to and over twelve other people. Also being exposed to toxic, possibly lethal chemicals without being informed.
The pay is so low workers can barely afford basic human needs.
These atrocities have led to suicides in such high numbers that some hostels housing workers had to install suicide nets.
Worse still, the most recent Free Trade agreement, TPP, not only ignores these violations but also the violations of the countries TPP solidified an agreement with. Vietnam still imprisons political dissenters, who, alongside drug addicts in government run rehab centers are forced into this exploitive labor.
In terms of money, Free Trade has cut up the United States. The U.S. has a trade deficit of above $340 billion with China alone.
This means we are buying more from China then we’re selling currently.
Our leaders thought it would bring about a new era of economic prosperity to the world and instead it delivered it to a few handful at the painful expense of the world.
Free trade, along with other economic policies, have bled money and jobs both of which are in desperate need in today’s economy and crushed the American middle class.
I think it’s massively irresponsible, immoral, and delusional to allow any further believe in free trade economics and its corporate sponsors.
Once again, large corporations have found themselves as the antagonists of a new economic crisis.
This time however, they are not crushing just America. They’ve set their sights on the world.
We’ve seen this before with Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt. Large corporations set out to exploit labor, make quick cash at the expense of the people and their hopes. We have to endorse policies that are harsher on corporations and ensure the executives of large corporations can’t benefit from global exploitation.