Trade" as Interventionism
one who knows Washington will be surprised to discover that free
trade has little to do with the Mexican free-trade agreement. As
usual when D.C. is calling (and aiming) the shots, arcane regulations
will redistribute billions of dollars to well-connected corporations,
and even more power to the managerial state. This is not the free
benefits of free trade are obvious. "In every country it always
is and must be the interest of the great body of the people to buy
whatever they want of those who sell it cheapest," wrote Adam Smith.
"The proposition is so very manifest, that it seems ridiculous to
take any pains to prove it." Exactly. Free trade increases the common
good and reduces the role of government. It enlarges the division
of labor, and thus the general prosperity. It benefits all nations
who engage in it, no matter how backward or advanced, and fosters
amity among them. But this is not what Washington has in mind.
In a chilling reprise of the trade blocs that helped bring on World
War 11, President Bush is creating a North American zone of Mexico,
Canada, and the U.S.
with U.S. control of oil in North America, the Caribbean, and Venezuela,
and now the Middle East thanks to the Iraqi War, Bush believes he
can reverse the U.S. economic decline caused by big government,
wage trade war on the European Community and Japan, and generally
make sure as he likes to put it that "what we say goes."
related "Enterprise for the Americas Initiative" seeks to bribe
all of Latin America into the zone, with below-market loans from
the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Export-Import
Bank, the Commodity Credit Corporation, and a new U.S. investment
fund all at our taxpayers' expense. Fifteen Latin countries have
signed up, and 13 Caribbean countries have agreed to a related scheme.
Mexicans fear U.S. political control of their country. U.S. trade
representative Carla Hills is, for example, demanding a host of
changes in Mexican law. "U.S. agencies, including the Environmental
Protection Agency and the Departments of Justice, State, and Labor"
are pressuring Mexico on the "environment, human rights, worker
standards," and other issues, says Hills. She is even insisting
that Mexico harden its patent laws to the benefit of big U.S. firms.
Such laws, even in our own country, are a special privilege rather
than a legitimate protection of property rights; they should be
weakened, not toughened.
should our regulations, written at the behest of Keynesians, labor
unions, and environmentalists, be foisted on that poor country?
It trespasses on Mexican national sovereignty, and violates our
own Constitution, which contains no warrant for such intervention.
listen to the Bush administration, all this is necessary because
we're poor, free-trading bumpkins victimized by foreign city-slickers;
in fact, the U.S. is as protectionist as any industrialized country,
in some ways more than even Mexico.
than telling Mexico, and almost every other country on earth, how
to run its affairs, why not put our own house in order?
should get off the "fast track" and stop the Mexican negotiations,
abrogate all other managed-trade treaties which are unconstitutional and allow our companies to make their own free-trade agreements,
at their own expense. Would it work? I believe they would be welcomed
with abrazos, since their only motive is to make a profit. When
has D.C. ever been that clean?
should also scrap investment barriers, export subsidies, and duties,
tariffs, and quotas. Some companies might suffer, but justice would
be served, entrepreneurs would be freed, the American people would
be enriched, and so would every country that did business with our
trade and managed-trade restrictions benefit special interests;
that's why they're enacted. Not only do they harm consumers, they
damage American businesses the would-be competitors of the privileged
non-managed trade policy would set an example for the world, benefit
us and all who did business with us, and shrink our government.
Who could ask for anything more?