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Once, many of the issues we talk about on this blog were discussed mostly among Rust Belt labor unions or in street demonstrations. But tough questions are increasingly being asked in a variety of places, from the ivory tower to the campaign stump... and in both instances, the focus is on a change in the rules of globalization, rather than perpetuating the stale debate about whether "yes" or whether "no" on globalization. Witness Harvard's Dani Rodrik's new paper, articulating what he says is now the "new orthodoxy" on trade:

We can talk of a new conventional wisdom that has begun to emerge within multilateral institutions and among Northern academics. This new orthodoxy emphasizes that reaping the benefits of trade and financial globalization requires better domestic institutions, essentially improved safety nets in rich countries and improved governance in the poor countries.

Rodrik goes on to push this new orthodoxy further, articulating what he calls his "policy space" approach, allowing countries to negotiate around opting-in and opting-out more easily of international rules and schemes as their development and domestic needs merit. Citing the controversy around NAFTA's investor-state mechanism and the WTO's challenge of Europe's precautionary approach in consumer affairs, Rodrik poses the following challenge to the orthodoxy:

Globalization is a hot button issue in the advanced countries not just because it hits some people in their pocket book; it is controversial because it raises difficult questions about whether its outcomes are "right" or "fair." That is why addressing the globalization backlash purely through compensation and income transfers is likely to fall short. Globalization also needs new rules that are more consistent with prevailing conceptions of procedural fairness.

And this focus on a change of rules hit the political arena today, with a major policy speech by former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). See here. Among the important points, that thus far are only being articulated by Edwards among the top candidates:

   *For years now, Washington has been passing trade deal after trade deal that works great for multinational corporations, but not for working Americans. For example, NAFTA and the WTO provide unique rights for foreign companies whose profits are allegedly hurt by environmental and health regulations. These foreign companies have used them to demand compensation for laws against toxins, mad cow disease, and gambling - they have even sued the Canadian postal service for being a monopoly. Domestic companies would get laughed out of court if they tried this, but foreign investors can assert these special rights in secretive panels that operate outside our system of laws.
   *The trade policies of President Bush have devastated towns and communities all across America. But let's be clear about something - this isn't just his doing. For far too long, presidents from both parties have entered into trade agreements, agreements like NAFTA, promising that they would create millions of new jobs and enrich communities. Instead, too many of these agreements have cost us jobs and devastated many of our towns.
   *NAFTA was written by insiders in all three countries, and it served their interests - not the interests of regular workers. It included unprecedented rights for corporate investors, but no labor or environmental protections in its core text. And over the past 15 years, we have seen growing income inequality in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
   *Today, our trade agreements are negotiated behind closed doors. The multinationals get their say, but when one goes to Congress it gets an up or down vote - no amendments are allowed. No wonder that corporations get unique protections, while workers don't benefit. That's wrong.

So, our movement has made real progress when things like Chapter 11, Fast Track and the precautionary principle are even being discussed by politicians and academics in the context of trade policy debates. And hopefully Edwards' raising of these issues will put pressure on the other candidates to follow suit. In the meantime, you can help turn the nice words into action by clicking here.

Originally posted to globaltradewatch on Tue Aug 07, 2007 at 12:51 PM PDT.


Which Democratic presidential candidate's position on trade do you most agree with?

5%4 votes
8%6 votes
62%42 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
17%12 votes
2%2 votes
1%1 votes

| 67 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hmm.. (0+ / 0-)

    Among the important points, that thus far are only being articulated by Edwards among the top candidates

    By "top candidates" I'm assuming that you mean Clinton, Obama, and Edwards.

    What are the non "top candidates" saying?

    •  I don't think it would be inaccurate to say (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What are the non "top candidates" saying?

      That in characterizing both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama's positions on 'free trade' and the offshoring of jobs, notwithstanding the fact that I spent nine years in college and have two degrees, I am going to have to go back to community college and 'retrain for the jobs of the 21st century'.

      Fortunately the DOL has provided me with a list of choices for my next job.

      <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

      by superscalar on Tue Aug 07, 2007 at 01:03:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This comes from an individual (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Who is very thankful that Senator Edwards has been talking about this issue, and is thankful for the fact that he has been pretty much alone amongst the candidates in talking about it -- which should come as no surprise to anyone.

    To help regular Americans get ahead and stay ahead, we need to make sure our children get a quality education and have the chance to go to college. We need to raise the minimum wage, strengthen unions, and help families build assets. And the most important thing we can do to provide security to our workers is to guarantee universal health care in this country.

    None of this will work.

    <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

    by superscalar on Tue Aug 07, 2007 at 12:58:04 PM PDT

  •  Since you're not exactly being squeezed for space (0+ / 0-)

    In your diary, hopefully you will not mind if I post another comment.

    Clinton's Strong Ties to Wall Street

    Contributions from Hedge Funds/Private Equity: Mitt Romney: $797,325 Chris Dodd: $726,950 Hillary Clinton: $703,600 Barak Obama: $652,105 Rudy Giuliani: $644,750 Source: Latest numbers since July 15 Hillary Clinton's Wall Street backers: John Marck/Morgan Stanley Heidi Miller, JP Morgan's Chief Exec. of Treasury and Security Services. Alan Patricof, co-founder Apax Partners Thomas H. Lee, Lee Equity Partners Thomas Steyer, Farallon James D. Robinson III, Former CEO Amex (former Republican) Roger Alltman, Evercore Blair Effron, Centerview Glenn Hutchins, Silver Lake, Steve Rattner, Quadrangle (former Lazard) Clifton Robbins, BlueHarbour Group Jim Simons, Renaissance Technolgies Richard Perry, Perry Capital David Shaw, DE Shaw Glenn Dubin, Highbridge capital Also: Warren Buffet.

    This is one of the reasons we don't see Senator Clinton, and to only a slightly lesser degree Senator Obama, making a lot of noise about the American economy and American jobs.

    Both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton are also strongly backed by Goldman Sachs, Citgroup, JP Morgan, UBS, etc., and finally, if there is a bigger supporter of 'free trade' than Robert Rubin, someone please tell me who it is.

    <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

    by superscalar on Tue Aug 07, 2007 at 01:21:30 PM PDT

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