Donald Trump has said a lot of things which we might hope may not come true after his swearing-in as president of the USA.
One of those things is, he will scrap NAFTA and derail the TPP and other potential trade agreements.
Here you will find a fine column by David Olive. In it he argues that Trump will find out that things don’t always work out the way you thought you could cause them to. One thrust in the article is that, in the Senate, are Republicans who are benefiting from, or are committed to, free trade.
Olive makes the case that some ‘for show’ tinkering of NAFTA might occur, but it’s not likely to be overturned as a whole.
Olive is of course correct. What troubles this blogger is, it’s exactly that set of pre-existing insider interests that Trump seemed to want to dismantle. It’s the ‘entitled’ set that is the scapegoat for the masses in the USA who (similar to Canadians) have not made real wage progress in thirty years, and have little or precarious employment today.
I am reminded of the Unabomber’s ‘manifesto.’ In it he claimed that evolutionary change in America was impossible because the system is, in a sense, self-healing. The rich/powerful will find a way to get back any temporary restriction on their wealth/power.
Unchecked, they will continue to increase that wealth and power.
The implication, that the only outcome with real change must be a revolutionary change, is scary. We would be better off, imho, if the stranglehold of the zero point one percent on the wealth of nations were untied.
(I should note here that the Unabomber pointed out that a revolutionary change is, in itself, unpredictable, with unforseen results guaranteed. Trump, anyone?)
(I should also point out that I do not agree with the Unabomber’s method. I did find his argument logical. Revolution is the business of logical lunatics. (Wallace Stevens.) )
Le me also point out that trade deals are not trade agreements. They are trade management agreements. Free trade allows large corporations to divide up markets and create local monopolistic agreements, simply by using patent licensing among themselves. This is detailed in the book Information Feudalism, which you can find in the ‘References’ section of this website.
Free trade allows a large corporation (Apple, RIM, Samsung, whatever) to have a product manufactured abroad, under patent licenses, and take two-thirds of the revenue merely for owning the patents. The jobs are not in the USA. The profits accrue to the upper levels of the corporation, who may indeed reside in the USA. They are the zero point one percent.
So I’m using a computer probably made this way, wearing a shirt probably made this way, using an Internet connection possibly powered by other electronic components made this way. I’m part of the problem: I don’t buy local.
I don’t need a job. However, my children do, and the job market in Canada sucks.
I have a fellow writer in the USA with whom I occasionally exchange views. There is some pessimism amongst our neighbours to the south.
After all that rambling, it’s time for the dumb questions. Ready?
- Why did three major stock markets in the USA make, after dips, large gains?
- Is it because environmental restrictions that reduce profit and opportunity, may be dismantled?
- Can Trump really go against the existing financial powers that be?
- Does all this conveniently distract from the fact that Trump will hold the codes for the world’s largest nuclear arsenal?
and finally, Is that cynicism enough for today?