Why trade matters
|Worker centers help these young women fight the working conditions of unfair trade|
To put it simply, the fate of the planet depends upon whether we put the well-being of the vast majority of the world's people, including American workers, ahead of immense profits for the wealthy few. Workers in the U.S. need to have ties with workers abroad, both for our mutual defense and to assert our own vision of globalization.
The trade agreements being signed today give tremendous protection to huge corporations, while ignoring the rights of workers and citizens. Neo-liberal economic policies have given free reign to private markets at the expense of public standards. Powerful international financial institution like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization have imposed requirements that countries must structure their economies to serve the interests of transnational corporations rather than their own people, making decisions in private, with no democratic input.
|May Day demonstration in the Philippines|
Repression without representation
In order to create low-wage and non-union havens for industry, they have imposed privatization, smaller public budgets, lower labor and environmental standards, and corporate-driven development schemes on the world's citizens, without their consent. Free trade schemes such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and others encourage companies to move jobs across borders in search of the most lenient employment and environmental standards. These schemes force workers into a race to the bottom, competing for jobs on the basis of low wages, miserable conditions, and few benefits.
There can be no doubt that these policies have led to the crisis which is spreading unemployment, environmental devastation, and misery around the world.
It is possible to create a just economic system that will benefit all. A system that favors the few through the exploitation of many is not inevitable. We must continue to imagine and promote alternatives to corporate-global capitalism.