Free trade

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"Free trade is the unfettered movement of goods, services, and capital (money) across borders without the interference of tariffs, trade restrictions, taxes, subsidies, regulations, or other restrictions by governments."[1]

"American companies threaten workers that if they do not accept benefit cuts, their jobs will go to Mexico. Mexicans are warned that if they do not accept cuts, their jobs will go to Honduras. Hondurans are intimidated that their jobs could go to Haiti. That is Haiti's purpose. That is why living conditions in Haiti are not allowed to improve. This is essential to corporate profit, in the free market system.[2]

On Free Trade

  • "The whole idea of a free market is little more than a scam perpetrated on the public in order for those Few who control the wealth to take advantage of the many who work for a living. These Few are supported by an elaborate system of government sycophants whom they manipulate by means of campaign financing, and corporate media toadies whom they influence through ownership, advertising revenues and control of corporate media board seats. Executives who run the government and corporate media on behalf of the Few live largely in denial of their purpose, often deluded enough to believe they serve the public interest.
The scam can only work so long as citizens are kept ignorant, which is why the Few have spent so much money in buying up and consolidating media. Information is power-- which is why it is so feared and controlled by those in power."[3]
  • "OAKLAND, CA - August 26, 2003- What do the "war on terrorism" and "free trade" have in common? According to a new report by Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, they are the two formidable pillars of U.S. foreign policy, custom-fit to help privatize the world's resources for its corporations and a matter of growing concern with the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico. [4]
  • The concept of free trade in classical economics was exploited during the so-called Enlightenment in the 18th century to remove the guild system from its position of power in Europe. It was replaced with a system of nation-state and intellectual property management that has persisted to this day.
As it spread due to globalization and increasingly prevalent neoclassical philosophy, many of the protections that were part of that system eroded. For instance, nation-states have no jurisdiction over environment policy and labour policy of their trading partners, permitting a race to the bottom. Also, intellectual property protections, particularly patents and trademarks, have become inordinately expensive to apply on a global basis, favouring global players.
Because of this loss of any local control, some now view free trade as inherently parasitic and dangerous - see safe trade, fair trade and anti-globalization movement.
While one might think that "free" refers to freedom from regulation, trade policy is usually heavily interdependent on tariff and tax policy as well as those regarding human capital - as noted above. The GATT and World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have forced certain standardizations of these on states. Also, increasingly, major traders gather into trade blocs such as NAFTA or the EU for greater clout in global trade - and disputes between partners within these also continue, e.g. the US-Canada softwood lumber dispute. So it is not "free" in the original sense, but refers more to trade management and dispute mechanisms that parties are obligated to bring their disputes to, to avoid trade war.
  • Dwayne O. Andreas, "CEO of agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland said 'There is not one grain of anything in the world that is sold in the free market. Not one. The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians.' Well-acquainted with both illegal price fixing and legally wielding political power to extract taxpayer subsidies, Andreas knows his stuff." [5]

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