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  • Eyes on Trade is a blog by the staff of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch (GTW) division. GTW aims to promote democracy by challenging corporate globalization, arguing that the current globalization model is neither a random inevitability nor "free trade." Eyes on Trade is a space for interested parties to share information about globalization and trade issues, and in particular for us to share our watchdogging insights with you! GTW director Lori Wallach's initial post explains it all.

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March 21, 2007

We're keeping our eyes on trade and globalization policy

Were you in on the biggest slap-down of corporate globalization to hit the United States since Seattle? No tear gas involved — if you voted in 2006, you probably helped deliver the biggest fair trade mandate in Congress of all time. Seriously, 30 Representatives and seven Senators who campaigned on changing our failed trade and globalization policies just replaced a parcel of NAFTA-loving, WTO-worshipping, Fast Track-fancying ex-incumbents.

And now, public citizens from New Hampshire to Hawaii, it’s time to help these newly elected members make good on change! This is the moment — we now have the power to ash bin the NAFTA-WTO model that has undermined democracy, livelihoods and the environment in the United States and around the world. And replace that failed model with rules for the global economy that work for the majority.

The stakes are very high. At home, inequality is at levels not seen since the Robber Baron era, as the average American’s inflation-adjusted hourly wages are only a nickel higher than in 1973, and no serious economist disputes that trade plays a major role in those trends. The public understands these dire trends: less than a third of Americans say they expect their kids to be better off economically than they themselves are. And, in poor countries, hunger and $1-per-day grinding poverty is increasing. Meanwhile, “trade” agreements invade our democratic space like some quiet slow motion coup de état — messing with everything (PDF) from food safety and medicine prices to basic environmental protections to immigration policy.

Growing anger about the painful lived experience of the failed status quo — and years of hard organizing work — have created a precious window of opportunity for change.

In that spirit, some friends at Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division and I have inaugurated EyesOnTrade.org — the online community in which you are currently participating. Through this medium, I hope we can help each other stay on top of the top globalization and trade news of the day and strategize together about how we can unite and empower ourselves — the majority on the losing end of the trade-globalization status quo — to turn this mess around.

So, welcome to a new gathering place for people interested in understanding the globalization and trade debate beyond just the day’s headlines, and who want to fight for fair trade and global justice. Across America and the world, millions of working people, farmers, youth, activists of all stripes, artists and critical minds have useful knowledge and inspiring lessons to share.

Please make EyesOnTrade.org a regular part of your online diet, and check back regularly for new opportunities to collaborate with like-minded people on the journey to make a better world.

Lori Wallach
Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch division

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Comments

Dan Brown

Thank God someone is finally speaking up about the globalization/free trade scam. I find it astounding that the American People are so clueless about where we are heading. Globalization is now hitting every segment of the US economy, even Wall St (and they're howling). It's time to end this.

Paul L. Johnson

Has anyone ever studied the inverse realtionship between what society does re.value of currency, who do we value our currency, who values it, what benchmarks go into giving a lifestyle/currency it uses, the values we now associate with it.

If we are really interested in 'good work' and 'good conditions/pay' for workers; this factor will need to be reviewed.

Do traders splashing arbitrage options around a room declare the social value of currency? Hell, they are often more concerned abt what /who will be in pub next door when the floor closes.

Do artisans, mechanics, electricians workers on daily wage really need be held hostage to this game?

Ray Tapajna

Tapsearch Com features Tapart News and Art that Talks globalism issues. It is a chronical of Free Trade failures going back to 1956. This was the year, The U.S. Federal Government itself sponsored the moving of factories outside the country. It was supposed to be a temporary program but it never ended. It first evolved into the Maquiladora factory program in Mexico which used impoverished workers to make products for the American consumers. By 1992, there were more than 2,000 former U.S. factories in Mexico. This was prior to the passing of the NAFTA and GATT trade agreements. President Clinton and Democrat controlled Congress consumated the passing of these so called trade agreements in 1994, After NAFTA passed, the number of factories moved to Mexico doubled to more than 4,000.
Soon after, President Clinton had to rush billions of dollars to Mexico to save the peso.
President Bush tells us that Mexican flocked to the USA to take jobs Americans will not do. He neglects to tell us that there are many jobs in Mexico that Mexican workers will not take. He never gets into the problem of people can not work for wage slave wages and survive in either country.
Now some of the factories in Mexico are moving to China where people will work for even less than the wage slave rates in Mexico. Even child labor is used.

The race to the bottom continues and the working poor in the USA are finding it difficult to afford even the cheaper imports at Walmart. Walmart reported that their client base is running out of money before the end of the month. Outside the U.S., the wage slave workers who make the products can not even afford to buy the things they make let alone have anything left over to buy whatever the U.S. has left to sale. It is a no win situation and it is all coming down like a house of cards.
For more information, see http://tapsearch.com/tapartnews or mobile pad user friendly summary of main site at http://tapsearchnewsmobile.filetap.com
or Explore the lost worlds in the Globalist Free Traders Flat World of Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and the Clinton Bush family combo at http://tapsearch.com/flatworld or mobile summary at http://tapsmobileworld.filetap.com
Pass them to all who are interested in restoring the American Dream for all in the world. Free Trade and Globalization have made a mockery out of the Free Enterprise system and the democratic process. It is obvious workers have no voice in the process.
See http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Ray_Tapajna

Matt S

Could y'all clarify:
is the position of this blog
*pro-free trade, anti-NAFTA/WTO, or
*pro-protectionism, anti-NAFTA/WTO

"arguing that the current globalization model is neither a random inevitability nor 'free trade.'" seems to suggest the former, but content like "wage-depressing, job-killing" seems to suggest the latter.

Also, I take offense to the portrayal of "fair-trade" as politically-motivated or "popular." On the contrary, protectionism is always more popular and politically smart--in fact, protectionism is often refered to as "populism."

Dean Gonzalez

Let’s be honest. Opposing free trade is about protecting American jobs at artificially high wages. That's called "protectionism" and it defends the rich American worker, not the poor Latin American worker.
Open up trade and we might find some business owners in those countries who set up sweat shops. This is true. Close down trade and those poor workers might not have a job AT ALL!! You can't help a country by refusing to buy their goods or putting tariffs on them. Let's face it, this sit is about keeping middle America fat by isolating us from the global free trade market (which eventually kills American businesses entirely). You are also saying to poor countries “we are going to help you by refusing to buy from you or blocking your products with tariffs.” Unemployed workers are the ones who try to get across the border because they are desperate.
American businesses will die and our workers will be unemployed if we don’t start to realize that there is only one economy, the global economy, and if we don’t get in and find a way to make money by allowing free trade we will eventually wither and die on our own isolationist island.

Ray Tapajna

First of all free trade is not really trade and the free traders use the term protectionism but the U.S. hardly ever practiced it. The Great Depression was about money problems just like the economic crisis is today. It is nonsensical to deflate the value of workers in the USA and expect any good to come from it.

President Roosevelt used the Lend Lease act to ramp up industry and this coupled with World War 2 created the most awesome industrial power in the world. Lend Lease was real Free Trade with the U.S. shipping goods and food to the allies without worrying about payment. We sent goods and not jobs outside the country. After World War 2, the U.S. helped restore the Europe and Japanese economies through the Marshall Plan. The U.S. duplicated success and did not chop up our economy and send the pieces around the world as we do now. The U.S. did not have to compete in a global economic arena like this. There were many ways to duplicate the success with the Marshall Plan being a decent example of how it can be accomplished.

Free Trade and Globalization is a race to the bottom. There will always be people willing to work for less and when factories are moved from place to place, it leaves behind burn out communities everytime it happens.
The U.S. sent more than 4,000 factories to Mexico and this did not save the Mexican economy or stop the flood of Mexican workers coming to the U.S. seeking economic survival. Soon after passing NAFTA, President Clinton had to rush billions of dollars to save the peso and the Mexican economy. This was the first stimulus package and it went to a foreign nation. It just stalled the inevitable of our coming economic crisis in the USA. Free Trade and Globalization are the causes of the globa economic crisis where all in the world took a hit. Now President Obama bails out the financial community who caused the problems while ignoring the suffering of the new working poor class in the USA and the impoverished workers outside the USA.

Our economy based on making money on money instead of making things has burn out and the only way back is to restore local value added economies in balanced geopolitical settings here in the USA and around the world.
See http://tapsearch.com/realworldnews and http://tapsearch.com/communications-by-rank

Ray Tapajna

Globalist Magazines and Newspapers continue to spin the news about the failures of free trade. They use terms that do not reflect the real world. For example, an increase in manufacturing was once based on local value added economies in balance geopolitical settings. Today the term Built in America which should be really Only Assembled in the USA - has replaced the term Made in the USA.
Free trade has commoditized workers. The main thing being traded is the value of workers and not products.

See response to Newsweek 's Robert J Samuelson columnist article about the Global economy needs 'rebalancing' at
http://www.theworldsnews.net/newsweek-free-traders-spin-news
and more at http://tapsearch.com/spinning-the-news-not-new

atomic watches

The article is well written. The subject matter is of interest to all. Probably no one knows the best answers to all the problems. Change itself is not a solution

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