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June 10, 2005

"Free" Trade

-- by Dave Johnson

A comment I left, at the post Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: Free Trade, which referred to this post by Max:

It strikes me that the "free traders" are describing some kind of idealized system THAT DOESN'T EXIST! They're like the Ayn Randians - brains malfunctioning, fixated on a simplified utopian description.

Is is the words used? "Free" sounds so nice.

Science is supposed to DEscribe. Ideology is "if only people would do so-and-so". I suggest that even the use of the words "free trade" is a drift into ideology.

Is it "free" trade when China pegs its currency? Is it "free" trade when other countries MURDER people who try to form unions? Is it "free" trade when workers live in barracks surrounded by barbed wire, paid not even enough to have a place to live? Is it "free" trade when costs are externalized by dumping chemicals in the water and the air?

I say we require "market development" tarrifs on imported goods. The tarrif would reflect the wages paid by the exporting country: the more they pay, the lower the tarrif. This DEVELOPS A MARKET for our own goods, instead of just sending our jobs away with nothing in return.

Posted by Dave Johnson at June 10, 2005 9:35 AM

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Comments

I pledge allegiance to the Price Tag of the United States of MEXA/CHINA and to the Great WAL/MART for which it stands.

One Nation Undermined, Devisable with Management’s view of NonUnion liberty and Injustice for ALL.

Low Price tag guarantee:

We buy from off shore to cut the throat of American Labor.

Expected Consequence:

China will Buy us (USA) with out firing a shot. (Like Japan bought Oahu.)

Even the Playing Field:

Look for a Union Label or products made in the United States of America.

While you can still find them!

Out Sourcing is Un-American Trading!

By Roy Olsen

Posted by: pushn70 at June 10, 2005 12:23 PM

I think we need fair trade, not free trade. And I'm sick of the whole "free market" idealogoy - it ain't free if the government controls the money supply and the interest rate, folks.....

Posted by: donna at June 10, 2005 12:25 PM

A timely comment Dave! Made me think of the 'free' trade agreement signed not so long ago by the US and Australia - nothing free about that one either!

Posted by: Helga Fremlin at June 10, 2005 2:01 PM

"Free" trade is not free; market forces are a tool, not a goal.

Posted by: Bribes at June 10, 2005 9:07 PM

The reasoning in your paragraph:

I say we require "market development" tarrifs on imported goods. The tarrif would reflect the wages paid by the exporting country: the more they pay, the lower the tarrif. This DEVELOPS A MARKET for our own goods, instead of just sending our jobs away with nothing in return.

Made me think of Bastiat's (1801 - 1850) Petition 'from the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, Sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers ..." to the Members of the French Chamber of Deputies asking for protection against foreign competion:

We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival, which is none other than the sun, is waging war on us...

We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bulls-eyes, deadlights, and blinds; in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.

..if you shut off as much as possible all access to natural light, and thereby create a need for artificial light, what industry in France will not
ultimately be encouraged? If France consumes more tallow, there will have to be more cattle and sheep, and, consequently, we shall see an increase in cleared fields, meat, wool, leather, and especially manure, the basis of all agricultural wealth.

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