Thursday, July 1, 2010

Free, fair or balanced trade?

While I've long been convinced that the so-called “free-trade” doctrine has consisted in shipping abroad western know-how in exchange for cheap goods and huge corporate profits, I'm convinced that it also has dismantled our way of living, made our unemployment worst and is contributing to widening the gap between rich and poor, not just worldwide but within our own country. I see the process as burning the furniture in order to say warm. Without getting into examining fair trade, which is another twist in the whole trade philosophy, I'm a proponent of a better approach to trading that could appropriately called “balanced.” I have already introduced that idea in this blog on March 23 and 24, 2009, and still think it has lots of merits.

One element that I missed when I wrote that piece was the elimination of all government subsidies which, in many instances, have triggered the push for “fair trade.” Again, my proposal would be duty-free for equal trading between countries (that is, for the same values of goods changing hand) and levy a duty on goods that exceed this equal level of exchange. This would offer a self-regulating mechanism that wouldn't make the WTO happy, but might reframe the debate between "we the people" and the big corporations...

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