I used to believe in trade agreements. That was before the wages of most Americans stagnated and a relative few at the top captured just about all the economic gains.
while the end of ww2 brought many financial woes to europe, the immediate need for reconstruction, people in the u.s. of a, experienced an economic boom! gee, how many auto manufacturing plants, steel mills, grocery and other retailers all competing, not only for customers but for well-trained skilled as well as menial labor? this was a time when there were more jobs available than qualified people to fill them. we believed this nation had proven that capitalism and democracy worked hand-in-hand. “those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end!”
like reich, i was so naïve that when bill clinton presented his nafta plans, i believed it a program designed to lift all boats. gee, if workers in mexico, honduras, et al could enjoy a wage increase, i thought, we’d all see an increase in tourism and wholesale orders creating more jobs and wealth–spreading the “american dream” across national borders. but that’s not what happened, is it? the remaining big monopoly honchos did not wish to lift all boats, but rather to lower earnings all expectations for workers thus increasing income for the upper few.
The fact is, recent trade deals are less about trade and more about global investment.
when referring to this nation, i try to say always, the united states or uncle sam. when i say “america” i mean the militarized financial empire–like the difference between england, the nation and briton, the empire. it’s not only nafta, but automation which reduces job opportunities. “welcome to the machine!”
today’s economy, ruled by the big financial and insurance industry, now counts debt as profit. for example every time you fall to the impulse to hit wal*mart, (owned by golman sachs), credit card in hand hoping to “save” money on sale items, you inadvertently play into the owner’s hands. few, these days, pay those cards in full meaning your “savings” are lost in interest and other fees, while your growing debt is posted as expected profit on the p & l statement. these financial wizards made out like the bandits they are bundling junk bonds. the financial industry caused with malice and forethought the collapse of '08 and were rewarded with u.s. government bailouts.
In theory, the winners could fully compensate the losers and still come out ahead. But the winners don’t compensate the losers.
the very philosophy of capitalism makes us all competitors for jobs, greater income, bigger homes and a more lavish life-style. the “winners” truly believe that “nice guys finish last” and it’s better to work smarter than harder. they exploit both the earth and the human workforce worldwide telling us they create jobs when in truth they create poverty for the many and wealth for the already wealthy.
america now boasts the largest most powerful military this earth has ever witnessed.here in the 21st century u.s. workers most profitable industry for export is munitions. i would not be so proud in manufacturing death and destruction for profit. if we want a happier, healthier and more cooperative world community, we as a society must set new priorities–priorities that can sustain and nurture life, not exploit it for bragging rights.