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The Jury’s Out on Free Trade, But Not on Trump Meddling With It

Posted on March 2nd, 2018 at 23:23 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


1) I don’t trust the current presiding incompetent to screw around with it, without making the problems vastly worse. See also: two-car funeral.

2) “Free trade” means radically different things to radically different people up and down the social and economic spectrum. Nobody can agree on a definition for it beyond, “Good stuff cheap” and “retraining,” neither of which is compatible with the other.

3) Whatever it means, somewhere along the line, the whole system depends on poverty, authoritarianism, and human misery, most of which occurs far out of earshot of the media on which the free trade debate is generally conducted.

Take, for example, the country of Vietnam, where they make a lot of the steel that is currently in the news. In Ha Tinh province, a Taiwanese corporation built a massive steel manufacturing complex costing over $10 billion. The complex includes a power plant and a deep-sea port. During a test run for the plant two years ago this April, the company dumped a horrible mix of toxins, including cyanide, into the sea. This resulted in a massive fish kill, wiping out the livelihood of Vietnamese fishermen along a 125-mile stretch of the country’s coastline.

The company paid $500 million in compensation, but that wasn’t enough for the fishermen whose lives were ruined. They actually protested, in public, which is a dangerous business in Vietnam. Many of them have been arrested and jailed. An activist was convicted and sentenced recently simply for livestreaming one of the protests. That’s Free Trade as much as are the cheap TVs at Walmart.

  1. Does “Trump’s meddling” include putting tariff’s on products from countries which already have tariff’s on our goods? Free trade is anything but free.

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