“…Trudeau said it’s one of the key themes of the North American Leaders’ Summit, to highlight how trade and international agreements are good for global economy and for people around the world.
He said countries that export more of their goods to markets around the world are wealthier, and citizens are able to share in that growth.
Obama said it’s too late to try to prevent the integration of national economies into a single global entity, because it has already happened…”excerpt from the article.
I am reminded, by this column, of a Mexican auto worker being interviewed on television about the plan to build a new Toyota plant there. He was asked about the disparity between wages paid in Canada and Mexico. He said, “I should be paid the same wage for a job here that a Canadian would be paid there.”
It raised a question for me; does economic ‘integration’ with Mexico raise Mexico or lower us?
I don’t claim to know the answer but I know that trade tariffs were intended to ‘level’ disparate economies, protect trade and labour conditions among trading countries, despite the tendency of tariffs to protect inefficient industries over time. The history of tariffs has been ‘uneven’ but, at one time, they attempted to serve a purpose that, I suspect, ‘free trade’ fails to do or was never intended to do.
Supposedly, opportunities for investment and trade have the potential to help each country in the (so called) free trade arrangement which, one supposes, means more employment. The wealthier countries exploit (don’t hang up on the negative connotations of that word) the economic advantage of the lower wage partners in the trade agreement. Theoretically, all countries share in the benefits, though not necessarily equally.
Perhaps the low wage economy, as years pass, experiences pressure from workers to adopt collective bargaining, like the more advanced economies in the trade partnership and, perhaps, advanced labour laws too.
One supposes, that the lower wage economy would fear losing the economic advantage that lower wages have created and choose to oppress labour that might agitate to have the same wages and benefits offered in the other trade partners or, in anticipation of this development, the advanced, higher paying trade partners may pressure their wages and benefits lower, which will also alter the economic advantage that low wages gave the less developed trade partner.
As I pointed out earlier, I don’t have the answer but I will not be surprised if a ‘middle class’ fails to grow much in any of the nations participating in the trade agreement.
30th June, 2016
Having posted my comment in ipolitics magazine ( ipolitics.com), I was rewarded with a reply, beautifully written, that deserves attention. It was posted by Duglas, likely an alias, who offered this thoughtful analysis. Aside from the content, which is noteworthy, it is an excellent example of fine writing.
Professional. Retired. Canadian.