Free Trade, What a Joke

Beat the Press has a wonderful comment which I print in full below –

Why can’t the NYT just call the trade agreements being sent to the senate “trade” agreements? Why does it feel the need to mislead readers in the headline and several times in the article itself by calling them “free trade” agreements?

These deals do not free all trade. There will still be plenty of protectionist barriers left in place that will make it difficult for doctors, lawyers and other professionals from these countries from working in the United States. Furthermore the deals actually increase protectionism in the areas of patents and copyrights, which is one of their main purposes.

Presumably the NYT approves of these deals which is why it blesses them as “free trade” agreements, but this sort of editorializing should be left to the opinion pages.

He’s absolutely right. Our wonderful corporate press has decided that we must be led by the nose to eat our oatmeal and swallow another free trade deal. The United States will insist that these nations observe our patent and copyright laws however ridiculous they have bccome and in return American corporations will move jobs and money to their countries to escape American law.

Now, if you’re thinking about this, you might say “James, they want to move somewhere with more American law but at the same time with a lot less American law?” Exactly. You see our giant corporate sleaze operation wants other nations to have to protect their intellectual property interests while using them to evade American environmental and labor law.

Some doctrinal looney decided that free trade is always a good thing, and since our media, government and corporate leadership tend to act as a group of not very smart but greedy second graders, we’re going to get shafted again.

James Pilant

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Ethics Newspaper Columnists – Round Up 7/30/10

Keith Chrostowski writing for the Kansas City Star has an article contemplating the likelihood of deflation, an economic malady, an unknown experience for Americans as the last time it happened was before our generation and the generation before that were born. He hopes that optimism in the minds of consumers will avert this but looking at his story I am more struck by the enormous cash reserves held by major corporations and their unwillingness to invest it in this country.

Edward Lotterman writing for Twin Cities has a wonderful article explaining a basic concept of economics, comparative advantage. It is also used as an argument for free trade. Whether you believe in free trade or not it is a good read by a very competent teacher of economics. (Warning – Lotterman’s Twin Cities web site does not allow me to link you to the individual articles just to his columns as a whole, so you may have to work your way into the archives unless you are reading this before he writes his next column.)

Jon Talton writing for the Seattle Times explains the concept of indigenous innovation rules. Read his explanation but it all boils down to they can sell to us but we can’t sell to them.

Barry Ritholtz writing for the web site, The Big Picture, explains that we are really just pants wearing monkeys (really) and that knowing and understanding that can keep us out of trouble. (He may be writing provocatively here.)