Tuesday, March 04, 2008

# Posted 8:32 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

NAFTA-BLOGGING: If we had a Mexican author here, this would be the perfect NAFTA blog. We actually had several volunteers willing to blog for less than minimum wage, until they realized that the Canadian and the American authors here get paid nothing all. (The Irishman works for whiskey.)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm reading a left-wing economics text at the moment. On page 70, the author, Robert Kuttner writes that:
NAFTA, which has no civic component, is pure triumph of commerce over democratic citizenship.
Kuttner may get away with insulting Bill Clinton that way, but such contempt for the prime minister of Canada is unthinkable! Anyhow, Fareed Zakaria writes, with regard to the civic component of NAFTA, that:
NAFTA has been pivotal in transforming Mexico into a stable democracy with a growing economy. And, in Lawrence Summers's words, "[it] didn't cost the United States a penny. It contributed to the strength of our economy because of more exports and because imports helped to reduce inflation." Trade between the NAFTA countries has boomed since 1993, growing by about $700 billion. There are no serious economists or experts who believe that low wages in Mexico or China or India is the fundamental reason that American factories close down. And labor and environmental standards would do very little to change the reality of huge wage differentials between poor and rich countries' workers.
Zakaria is usually not one to dismiss lightly those whose opinions differ from his own. Yet Kuttner seems to be headed in precisely the direction Zakaria anticipates. Personally, I don't know enough to make a compelling case for or against the effectiveness of NAFTA, but my instinct is that Kuttner will find himself on the short end of this straw.


(1) opinions -- Add your opinion

Oh, one more input on good contra-Kuttner stuff, Uncommon Knowledge has an interview with Thomas Sowell, here:


(5-part series)

That touches on a lot of the Kuttner-like criticisms of our economic state. Well worth viewing

Check it out.
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