Saturday, May 30, 2015

On Free Trade Agreements

By Maury and Dog

Every once in a while, the US becomes involved in some kind of so-called free trade agreement with some other nations of the world. The current trade agreement is the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership. Several years ago there was great concern with NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement involving Mexico, the United States, and Canada. What is a free trade agreement?

I guess my dictionary is outdated. I thought the US purports to use a capitalist economic system -- supposedly a competitive, free enterprise system of which free trade is one element. It seems to me that free trade is an oxymoron with the concept of formal trade agreements such as TPP or NAFTA. If there exists truly free trade among individuals, organizations, or nations, then why is there a need for formal, legal agreements? And if there is a North American Free trade Agreement with the US, Mexico, and Canada, then what kind of trade do we have with South America, or Europe, or Turkey? Do we have a NATFTA, North American and Turkey Free Trade Agreement? How does free trade exist under a formal trade agreement?

I don't get it. When is free free?

My Take - Maury asks a foundational question that needs to be asked repeatedly and answered often because history shows any deal struck by governments, for governments - it's never free. Do we think the tax code, which is written by government for the benefit of government, is "fair and equitable"? Of course not! There are all sorts of tax benefits for special interests, many times buried in sections that have nothing to do with that particular part of the tax code. There's a reason the tax code has 74,608 pages.

The words "free trade" are much like everything else defined by government - they're misnomers used to fool the public. Free trade agreements are in reality "managed trade agreements" that "serve special interests and big business, not citizens"! If it was otherwise why would there need to be an agreement?

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