“Somebody is going to be unhappy.”
THIS is how you respond to the rich monopolizing all of the gains from economic policy in recent decades, to systematic corruption and studies showing that democracy itself is being undermined? This is how you respond to a system that is without any doubt contributing to the environmental collapse? My god, how tone deaf are you? You could say the same thing about North Korea. Yeah, you can critique the system, but there are some winners and some losers. What are you going to do, right?
Thank you for the talking points of your employer. NAFTA and similar deals aren’t free trade agreements, they are investor rights agreements. Most of NAFTA has nothing to do with trade. Chapter 10 deals with government procurement and it makes it impossible for the government to take into account the environmental or labor record of a company when bidding for services. If a government picks a company because it doesn’t pay slave wages and if it doesn’t pollute (i.e. create costs that are then passed off onto others) it can be sued. Chapter 11 deals with investor state disputes. Chapter 11 is what allowed Keystone to sue the Obama administration, it is being used to challenge environmental protections in Canada regarding fracking, it has been used in many cases (especially against Canada) and the banks have talked about using it to undermine financial regulations. The power for them to do this has massive impacts on regulating these companies. There are components regarding intellectual property rights too, which benefits monopolies and oligopolies at the expense of the general public and healthcare systems.
Just so you know, in regards to actual free trade, the US developed behind protectionism. It had the highest industrial tariffs in the world and it relies heavily on an agricultural system that might be the most protectionist in the world. In fact, no country in modern times has developed behind free trade. Not a single one. These free trade agreements are entirely based on the internationalization of production. Many of the components that go into the advanced products people buy were made in multiple countries. If taxes were paid each time a component crossed a border, the products they go on to make would be much more expensive. So the components are made in multiple countries and are then assembled in China, where the value added is incredibly small. The establishment of this makes it so that organizing unions is impossible, environmental, financial, and labor regulations are increasingly difficult and the majority of benefits go to the corporations that control your corrupt and dying party. This whole thing is, by the way, harming high tech workers too, since there are plenty of intelligent and educated workers in China and India that can do the same work for a fraction of the cost. Then there’s automation, which the Office of the President under Obama said could result in 40% of jobs being lost in the next few decades. Other studies show that as much as 80% of all jobs could be lost and the jobs being lost could, and likely will be, from highly educated and well-paid workers. You really have no solutions at all to offer people, and that is why your party will not recover.
Oh, and if you look at the original ideas that Adam Smith and David Ricardo, they made it clear that when they talked about free trade, it was the trade of goods. They assumed, they said so clear as day, that factories stayed put because the factory owners had a “home bias”. In fact, the only mention that Adam Smith made to the invisible hand in the Wealth of Nations was part of an argument he made against what you seem to favor. He said the invisible hand was capitalists choosing to stay in their home countries even though shipping their factories elsewhere would be more profitable would benefit people in their home country. It wasn’t their aim, but it would. That was the invisible hand.
Like I said though, NAFTA and the WTO have little to do about actual free trade (they are highly protectionist in many ways and the average industrial tariff in the US is below 3% as is) and you have absolutely nothing to offer working people. If this is what your party offers, I hope is crashes and burns, and it is crashing and burning. If it has no solutions and nothing to offer, it can go away.