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View Diary: What the polls say about free trade (219 comments)

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  •  more and more mainstream Democrats are coming (1+ / 0-)
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    around on this issue.

    The final chapter in this book is called "The End of the Free Trade Coalition" and it talks about that.

    I think in 5-10 years, almost all Democrats will be against free trade and support fair trade.

    It wouldn't surprise me if some Republicans came around on this issue.

    There are also more CEO's who have come to question free trade - among them is GE's Jeffrey Immelt.

    I think the tide is turning faster than many people realize partly because it doesn't work and because there is such a huge political opening and partly because we have to get jobs back to this country.

    I'm normally not this optimistic but on this issue I think we've seen the bottom.

    •  you're conflating two different things . . . . (1+ / 0-)
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      "Fair trade" does NOT mean the end of "free trade"--it does not mean the end of WTO, it does not mean that nation-states will be able to impose protectionist economic policies again--indeed it does not mean that any nation will be able to set any of its own trade policies again.

      What "fair trade" DOES mean is that the existing free trade structure will be modified to include things like workers rights, environmental protections, consumer protections, safety and health regulations, etc, within the trade rules themselves.  In theory, that means every corporation, everywhere, will have to follow the same rules regarding minimum wages, workplace safety, product purity and safety, etc.

      The corporados are of course absolutely opposed to any such thing, so there will be two huge fights--first to impose meaningful rules, and then to make sure they get enforced.

      That fight will go far beyond US politics--it will be a global fight.

      •  Thank you for explaining. (0+ / 0-)

        I hope my optimistic feelings aren't misplaced. I've just often felt with our economic situation combined with polls, things could only slowly improve.

        Can I ask you this?

        Would it be possible to put a VAT on manufactured goods with the tax based on where the value was added?  If the value was added in the U.S. the tax would be very low. If added overseas, it would be high.

        Or would the WTO strike this down?

        •  they probably would. (0+ / 0-)

          The general trend of WTO is to simply strike down anything that someone ASKS them to strike down.  Nations who file charges with WTO win about 85% of the time. WTO's inclination seems to be simply to strike down everything.

          One thing WTO rules are very clear about, though, is that one cannot discriminate based on the origin of a product--one cannot, for instance, have a tax of A on products coming from country X, and have a tax of twice A coming from country Y. So I think your idea of a VAT valued according to origin, wouldn't survive ten minutes at WTO.

      •  There are, however, ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... simpler, less intrusive approaches to Fair Trade, which prevents countries from pursuing a race to the bottom in pursuit of a trade surplus by establishing a balanced trade system.

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        by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 09:46:34 PM PDT

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        •  the countries no longer matter, though (0+ / 0-)

          The world economy consists of multinational corporations which have no country, answer to no government, and care for no nation's interests.

          National borders are now utterly irrelevant, and nation-states simply no longer exist, economically.

          •  Yes, that is the corporate storyline. (0+ / 0-)

            There Is No Alternative. Border's Don't Matter.

            While it is the neoliberal aspiration, as a description of current reality it includes a substantial helping of corporatist horseshit.

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            by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 10:25:39 PM PDT

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            •  I quite disagree. (0+ / 0-)

              It reflects the economic reality. Nation-states simply are not the economic units anymore---multinational corporations are.

              As I note elsewhere, I only describe reality--I don't create it, and I never mentioned liking it.

              •  I have to agree with you here, Lenny. (0+ / 0-)

                Corporations are the economic blocs, often it is industry groups that form the bloc.

                Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                by k9disc on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 10:07:06 PM PDT

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