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Free Trade vs. Fair Trade: Left of Center View

Proponents of free trade often point to the advantages of business being able to cut costs by using less expensive manpower overseas. What they usually fail to point out is that the cheaper labor comes at the expense of American jobs and American workers. The increased profits they see are not put back into the American workforce but rather into the pockets of the executives of the companies. Meanwhile the workers lose their jobs and have to either depend on the government for assistance or take massive pay cuts to go work for the companies left in America looking for labor.

The trade agreements our leaders have signed over the last couple decades have not only failed to serve the interests of the American workers, they have led to record trade deficits and now threaten to collapse our economy entirely. The dollar is weaker against the Euro now than it has ever previously been and with the price of oil topping $109 per barrel we are running headlong into a recession. With the housing market collapsing, the cost of fuel at a record high and companies laying off workers left and right how is it that nobody is talking about firing CEOís? Well, thatís the thing, the CEOís have made rather large profits for their stock holders and despite the hard times for the common man, there has never been a better time to be rich in America.

So how do we address the problem? We canít force the companies to fire their CEOís and reinvest in American workers and the American economy. Or can we? We canít do it all at once but we can in fact begin to make inroads into the improvement of our economy by doing two things when we buy. First we need to buy American made as much as possible. By choosing the American made products we are supporting American workers. The next thing is to buy Fair Trade items whenever possible. When something is labeled as Fair Trade it means that the workers that produced it got a reasonable amount of money for their product and that the profits of the company selling the product in the U.S. are reasonable.

You will not find Fair Trade on any goods from China. The Chinese government that controls labor in China refuses to accept the standards for their workers that would qualify them for Fair Trade status. If China were to adopt acceptable labor practices and environmental standards, American companies would be forced to pay prices for the products similar to those incurred in producing the same products in the United States. So the basic bottom line, donít buy Chinese made goods if at all possible. They donít buy our goods so why should we buy theirs? If the workers were exploited to produce the things you buy, you are in fact paying for the exploitation of the workers. Your money is enslaving children working in sweat shops producing the goods you buy if the goods come from those types of factories.

Americans for the most part acknowledge that slavery was one of the darkest pages in our history yet we pay for the enslavement of forced laborers in other countries every time we buy goods produced in countries that allow forced labor for profit. It may not be easy but if you want to live with a clearer conscience you should buy American first and if not American, buy Fair Trade goods.


LJ Finstermore - World Citizen | E-mail Comments on this column.

Got a liberal viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Racism and the Immigration Debate

Send in your view from the Left to be our featured Left of Center View for the week.

Click here to submit your article.

Last Week's View from the Left:
Migrant Farm Workers and the Cost of Groceries

Previous Weeks Views from the Left:
What Does a New Leader for Cuba Mean for America?High Tech Worker Visas and American Unemployment
What's Wrong With Our Current Immigration System?
How Will The Upcoming Election Impact Immigration Policy?
National ID Cards for American Citizens
American Children of Undocumented Immigrants
Globalization and Immigration
Human Rights and Immigration Policy
Multiculturalism and the Holidays
Unsafe Imports: Who's to Blame?
Amnesty and Elections
Undocumented Nannies and Politics
Terrorists at the Gates
Drugs and Immigration
The Border Fence
American Immigration Abroad
Port Security
Setting Standards for Legal Immigration
Diplomacy And Immigration
Archives by Date




Free Trade vs. Fair Trade: Right of Center View

What exactly is Fair Trade anyway? For business it means paying far too much for something just to make some liberals happy. The reason free trade is so good for America is that business is able to use the free market system to acquire goods at a lower price and sell them at a higher price. Last time I checked that was called capitalism and it was the cornerstone of American economics.

The liberals want to whine about poor little Chinese children working in factories in China making our shoes when the fact of the matter is without those jobs for the Chinese people China would become a third world nation with nuclear weapons and a bad attitude. The last thing America needs is an economically belly-up China thinking about taking things by force because nobody wants to buy from them anymore.

If we want to improve our relations with China and make things better here at home, we need to open up the international markets not close them. That means we need to trade with them. Free trade is the vehicle that allows American goods and services to get into foreign markets. Much like Americans seem to like Asian cars, the Asians are buying American cars. We need that money coming into our economy. Thatís not to say that our trade agreements are perfect. NAFTA pretty much gave away the farm and screwed American workers but the idea behind NAFTA was sound. We need trade.

In theory Fair Trade is all well and good but in practice it is not effective. Unless every nation on Earth adopts the same pricing structure for their goods there will never be parity in trade between larger and smaller countries. Much like in business overall, those with the money dictate the price they will pay and whomever is willing to sell at that price will get the benefit of doing business with those with the money to spend. Fair Trade is a pie-in-the-sky notion that is impractical on a global scale. If we canít even agree on a global currency, how can we possibly hope to agree on a single standard for fair trade on a global scale?

Free trade is the way to bring democracy and American values to the rest of the world. Clearly warfare can only kill our enemies so we have to rely on trade and other vehicles of international cooperation to improve our relations overseas. By showing nations like China how good things can be under our political and economic systems we can help them to find their way to the wisdom of democracy and capitalism. We will never build relations by cutting economic ties with another nation. The answer has always been and will always be trade. Much like the old adage that the clearest path to a manís heart is through his stomach, the best path to the hearts and minds of other nations is through trade. Boycotts will not change China but more trade just might.

Liberals can have their boycotts and like Don Quixote try to defeat the windmills that lie in their path but it will not serve any real purpose. There will always be buyers for the goods the nations they would boycott produce. By refusing to buy the products from those nations you just drive prices up and make it that much harder to afford to take care of your family. Insisting on Fair Trade goods may be a nice idea but itís impractical and will only serve to hurt the American economy in the long run.

John Smith - Average American | E-mail Comments on this column.

Got a conservative viewpoint? We want to know what you think.

Next week's subject: Racism and the Immigration Debate

Send in your view from the Right to be our featured Right of Center View for the week.

Click here to submit your article.

Last Week's View from the Right:
Migrant Farm Workers and the Cost of Groceries

Previous Weeks Views from the Right:
What Does a New Leader for Cuba Mean for America?
High Tech Worker Visas and American Unemployment
What's Wrong With Our Current Immigration System?
How Will The Upcoming Election Impact Immigration Policy?
National ID Cards for American Citizens
American Children of Undocumented Immigrants
Globalization and Immigration
Human Rights and Immigration Policy
Multiculturalism and the Holidays
Unsafe Imports: Who's to Blame?
Amnesty and Elections
Undocumented Nannies and Politics
Enemies At The Gates
Drugs and Immigration
The Border Fence
American Immigration Abroad
Port Security
Setting Standards for Legal Immigration
Diplomacy and Immigration
Archives by Date

Solving Our Immigration Problem

The major problem our country is facing with illegal immigrants today is because of the exploitation of these immigrants. We believe the solution to this problem is two-fold. First, we should allow more immigrants in this country to cut down on the number of illegal ones. Second, all immigrants should be educated about their rights at the expense of the government. Below, you will find an in-depth look at our suggested reforms.

Reforms for immigration limitations:

-New immigrants can't equal more than 1% of the US population in a given year (the population being from the last recorded census). That 1% will be further divided up to allow only a certain number of immigrants each month.
-Each country of origin for immigrants will be allowed a certain percentage of that 1%. No country could receive more than 10% of the total amount and no country can receive less than .1% of it. The left over percentage will be divided up between all countries as follows: Read more...

Do Elements Within the La Raza Movement Pose a Threat to America?

La Raza means literally ďThe RaceĒ in Spanish. The movement was formed in 1968 to promote the interests of the Mexican-American community. Like the NAACP and other affirmative-action minded organizations, La Raza has many members that are interested in being part of America and promoting equality for all Americans. The fundamental goals as stated by the movement are benign and represent the ideals of American diversity and cultural pride.

There is another movement affiliated with La Raza that has historically been more militant and still maintains documents within their organization that point to isolationistic views Read More

A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isnít really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:Read More

Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws.Read More



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