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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Freedom is Slavery: The Old Paradigm

I'm 100% for Free Markets.  I'd like to ask some opinions though on the issue of International Trade.

Prior to the American Civil War, the economy of the South was driven by slavery.  There were people then, as there are today, who believe this should have been resolved with respect to the 10th Amendment (let the States decide).  Some apologists believe that slavery would eventually have ended in due course.  A million deaths later and we had the 13th and 14th Amendments.

Today we are confronted with an entire world driven into poverty and virtual slavery.  Corporations, backed by the CIA and US Military, have corrupted governments to allow easy access to raw materials, oil and cheap labor.  This undermines our own manufacturing base in the US leading to pressure for lower wages here.  The facts are there to see.

We have pesky "minimum wage" laws here in the US without which our wages would normalize with foreign labor.  Protectionist tariffs are intended to force higher prices on imports as a price support for domestic labor costs.  These are both subjects of incessant attack by those arguing for "Free Trade", and has been a strong part of LP economic policy since the beginning.

The relationship between Pennsylvania and South Carolina was much the same.  There were no tariffs between the States.  Manufacturers in PA enjoyed cheap cotton etc..  It was a free market, and it worked great for everyone.. except the slaves of course.

Today we import from Indonesia, China, South America, Mexico and Africa under a similar arrangement.  We recognize an international version of the 10th Amendment with these countries, to allow them to violate the rights and liberties of their populations, as long as our loans are recognized and our contracts enforced.

Personally, I believe that accepting stolen property makes one culpable.  Accepting contracts with dictators is to sign on with those dictators.  Trade isn't "free" when one of the parties are coerced.  And allowing corporations to act as free agents of US foreign policy, to corrupt governments as in Ecuador, Panama, Indonesia, Liberia, Iraq, you name it, all backed by threats of assassination, coup and invasion, isn't a policy of "free trade", but one of colonialism.

I am not a supporter of NAFTA, the North American "Free Trade" Agreement, but I was never sure just why.  It seemed to me like the Fugitive Slave Act.  Neither am I a supporter of reducing the federal minimum wage.  We are culpable for the injustices of our government, and we should be considering ways to rectify the situation.

Any thoughts?

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