Friday, July 1, 2016

Free Trade Ain't Free

First of all. I believe in free trade. Free trade was explained to me in my junior high school civics class. Back in those days there were forty-eight contiguous states. Free trade was explained by exemplifying produce grown in California and bought in Massachusetts. There were no tariffs or taxes added. Cost of product plus cost of transportation plus profit was what you paid. (Yes, I know that is over simplified, so don't pull my chain.) That is the free trade that I believe in.

The difference between that "free trade" and today's "free trade" is freedom. In the upper forty-eight, you applied for a job. If the wages were unacceptable, you moved on. Entrepreneurs started companies and sank or swam by pure ability, ambition, and hard work.

Not so much in today's market. Free trade is no longer under one national government. It is an international treaty. The differences in countries and governments far exceed the differences between the states. 

In some countries the price paid for labor amounts to slave wages. So, if a manufacturer, anywhere in the world wants a product produced, that manufacturer will go where the cost of labor is cheapest. In those countries, it benefits the ruling class to keep their people hungry and poor.

When a company sets up a manufacturing facility in a foreign land they bring their technology with them. At that point, they lose control of that technology because that, oh so friendly, foreign government now has access to it. Governments that have no concern about American patents and trademarks. Since basic technology has many uses, many times this "borrowed" knowledge surfaces as weapons of war.

One of Americas greatest strengths is our creativeness and ingenuity. These trade agreements force us to pass out the fruits of this creativeness like candy at Halloween.

Ultimately, today's version of "free trade" has a price. It is a price that the American people pay in lost jobs in order to get cheap products into the Walmarts and Costcos. One thing is sure, we have to stop giving away the store.


  1. I really like your post on free trade.
    I posted a link to it on Facebook

  2. Thank you. I appreciate you spreading the word.