Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nader nails it

In this concise essay, Ralph Nader assails a fundamental error in "free trade" as it is practiced globally. It happens that the economist, Paul Samuelson, whose works Nader discusses, wrote the Econ 101 text that I carried to class at Stanford five decades ago, long before Samuelson saw the light, and so I was taught the mutual benefits of free trade. Fortunately, I flunked Econ 101 and so the lessons of Samuelson's text never sank in.

I don't know what it will take for Nader's long-standing critique of free-trade agreements to grab hold. He and, notably, 1992 third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot (he of the "giant sucking sound" bite) have been right about the effects of such treaties for at least thirty years, with no apparent effect on our leaders--including Obama, who recently executed a deal with South Korea.

Look around: Besides retail service-industry jobs such as salesperson and wait-person, the arms industry and the military, where are American jobs going to come from?