Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Sometimes I change my mind: Dave Pollard on free trade

Even though I bought, read, and appreciated Arundhati Roy's great little book "Power Politics", I have still been pro "free trade" - but I always qualify my opinion by saying "as long as human rights, environmental laws, etc. are upheld".

Dave Pollard's excellent paper on why free trade does not work has made me change my mind. Actually, unless you are a right wing conservative, changing one's mind is allowed and shows some evidence of a working brain. Radical conservatives (like the neocons in the Bush administration) will never admit that they are wrong - just as people on the far left lack this basic feature of intelligence. I never quite trust the political judgement of people who always vote democratic or republican for this reason - but I digress from what I really wanted to say:

Dave points out "why in a world of massive, hidden government subsidies it creates a hugely unfair playing field". This is the key thing here: the average American would be very surprised indeed if there was an accurate and transparent release of information for Congress giving away subsidies to corporations. This information is indeed hidden well from the public.

So, the problem is not with free trade itself, but the well hidden subsidies given to corporate sponsors of Congress. Other countries (especially in Europe) also do not play fair with subsidies.

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