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 Post subject: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:33 am 
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The Off Topic has generally been left-wing leaning. Here's a topic (I hope) most of us can all agree on: Reject Free Trade Agreements! At the least, I won't be such a minority in this as I would other political topics.

South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground

Quote:
GEMMA: Times are tough; isn’t this a pro-business agreement that’ll give the economy a boost?

FLETCHER: Depends what kind of businesses you’re talking about. If you’re talking about multi-national corporations that have no loyalty to the U.S. and call themselves “American” just to get in the door on Capitol Hill, then sure. These people don’t give a fig about American decline. Neither do the big retailers like Wal-Mart, who now mainly sell imported goods. But if you’re talking about Main Street business or the kind of small and medium-sized manufacturing companies that still produce in the U.S., no it’s not pro-business at all.

GEMMA: Won’t it benefit the U.S. to eliminate the Korean tariffs on U.S. goods?

FLETCHER: On paper, yes, sure. But in reality, we’ve been through these games with over a dozen other nations before, and it always seems to turn out that the U.S. actually respects its market-opening agreements, while foreign nations game the system. How many times do we have to get burned before we learn? A big part of the problem is that many foreign trade barriers are not tariffs, or indeed any formal legal barrier at all—they’re covert policies and understandings that foreign governments have with their own corporations which enable them to keep out American goods without violating the letter of any treaty they sign with us.

GEMMA: Would this treaty somehow threaten U.S. sovereignty as some claim?

FLETCHER: The issue is the WTO [World Trade Organization], because our Constitution says treaties are the supreme law of the land—overriding our right to make our own laws on environmental standards, worker safety, and anything else.
Quote:

GEMMA: Who opposes this agreement?

FLETCHER: A majority of the public is now against more free trade agreements. The Korea FTA is opposed by much of the President’s own party, many trade unions, and some Republicans, like Ron Paul (TX) and Walter Jones (NC) who don’t consider this trade agreement genuine free trade. A recent poll even showed most Tea Party sympathizers against free trade agreements. Also Main Street businesses and the domestic manufacturing community. Even the official U.S. International Trade Commission says it will increase America’s trade deficit.

GEMMA: Who supports this agreement?

FLETCHER: President Obama and the Republican Congressional leadership. Multinational corporations and their clubs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. And the big retail chains like Wal-Mart.

GEMMA: ... We lost the NAFTA fight in similar circumstances. Unless there is early and strong grass roots opposition, the treaty will sneak though under “fast track” maneuvers in the House. The encouraging news however, is that a coalition is being formed to oppose it: the AFL-CIO, Republican Congressmen Ron Paul, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, and Donald Trump have all found common ground in opposing the Korea Free Trade deal.
I've only quoted part of the interview. The entire thing is worth reading, at least it was for me.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:03 am 
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I'm left-leaning. I support free trade but I'm not religious about it. That's the traditional liberal position. Labour used to side with the Liberals in supporting free-trade in the UK when the Conservatives advocated protectionism. Yeah, that was a while back...


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:51 am 
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The trade agreements need to be negotiated to protect the jobs of US workers. Instead they are negotiated to protect the trading interests of international corporations which are allegedly located in the US.

Now that all our jobs have been exported, I don't know that it makes that much difference either way. I would start with a tax penalty for moving jobs out of the US.

We get the government we deserve. These trade agreements have been most vigorously supported by paid off Republican corporate toadies... but couldn't have been passed without the bilateral assistance of Democrats.

They will be stopped only if middle class voters stop voting for Republicans, who are the primary troublemakers on this issue and the primary beneficiary of campaign contributions from the turncoat CEOs and corporations.

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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:52 am 
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HFat,

A party called "Labour" tends to support free trade? Interesting.

In the US it's the reverse: the GOP tends to be more for free trade, Dem for tariffs. Obama actually campaigned against free trade, though he switched once in office. (Did you know Bush campaigned as a peace candidate in 2000? Republicans generally opposed Clinton in Serbia and Somalia.)


Last edited by Trip on Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:10 am 
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ces wrote:
The trade agreements need to be negotiated to protect the jobs of US workers. Instead they are negotiated to protect the trading interests of international corporations which are allegedly located in the US.

Let's look at the big picture -- it's not just for US-based multinationals, but also the ruling elites and big corporations on both sides of deal. "The People" never have any role in such deals except by reference in patriotism-stirring speeches, etc designed to gain popular support.

Fletcher also greatly minimizes US corporate gains from these free trade tariffs. It's always an unfair deal when one party has the clout of the biggest single market in the world. For example, between the US & Canada, over the last 25 years of the US-Can FTD & then the NAFTA deal since 1994, Americans repeatedly violated the agreements to impose protectionist policies on Canadian softwood lumber imports. There has never been any way for Canada to stop or penalize these violations.

Koreans should be in the streets demonstrating against this.

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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:33 am 
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Quote:
it always seems to turn out that the U.S. actually respects its market-opening agreements, while foreign nations game the system


Blah blah. This is propaganda. The US has historically been the bully in global economics, with it's unparalleled economic power. It's been only a recent development that China might be wielding an even bigger stick.

Yes, Americans will lose more jobs to "oursourcing". Far more jobs have been lost to automatization and roboterization. Nobody cries about that.

Free Trade is good. Globalization is good. They are the only working mechanism of peace.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:54 am 
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ces wrote:
We get the government we deserve. These trade agreements have been most vigorously supported by paid off Republican corporate toadies... but couldn't have been passed without the bilateral assistance of Democrats.

They will be stopped only if middle class voters stop voting for Republicans, who are the primary troublemakers on this issue and the primary beneficiary of campaign contributions from the turncoat CEOs and corporations.

During the first two years of the Obama administration, the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, and the Presidency, and could pass and sign into law any legislation they wanted to.


Last edited by m0002a on Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:56 am 
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I agree with Mike and Tim. There's no such thing as bilateral free trade agreements with the USA. The invasion of Iraq should have made clear to everyone how much the word of the US government is worth.
With the WTO weaker parties at least have a chance. I'm not a fan of the WTO because it has a lot of baggage unrelated to free trade but it's a good idea (like Western civilization).

Trip wrote:
A party called "Labour" tends to support free trade? Interesting.

In the US it's the reverse: the GOP tends to be more for free trade, Dem for tariffs.

The US political spectrum is tilted so far to the right that you see centrists as left-wingers. This business about saving jobs through protectionism has always been a centrist affair. The traditional left wing position about that is that the wealthy laugh all the way to the bank while people are distracted by rhetoric about foreign threats. The traditional left wing answer to unemployment is better distribution.
Since the 70s, US wages have lagged behind productivity. It's not that all the productive jobs have went away or something. It's that people aren't paid as fairly as they used to. Someone's pocketing the difference. And it's not foreigners.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:00 am 
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Quote:
FLETCHER: Depends what kind of businesses you’re talking about. If you’re talking about multi-national corporations that have no loyalty to the U.S. and call themselves “American” just to get in the door on Capitol Hill, then sure. These people don’t give a fig about American decline. Neither do the big retailers like Wal-Mart, who now mainly sell imported goods. But if you’re talking about Main Street business or the kind of small and medium-sized manufacturing companies that still produce in the U.S., no it’s not pro-business at all.

Really? Main Street retailers sell more US made goods than retailers like Walmart? I doubt that seriously.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:18 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Fletcher also greatly minimizes US corporate gains from these free trade tariffs. It's always an unfair deal when one party has the clout of the biggest single market in the world. For example, between the US & Canada, over the last 25 years of the US-Can FTD & then the NAFTA deal since 1994, Americans repeatedly violated the agreements to impose protectionist policies on Canadian softwood lumber imports. There has never been any way for Canada to stop or penalize these violations.

The US position on Canadian softwood lumber imports is as follows:

"The heart of the dispute is the claim that the Canadian lumber industry is unfairly subsidized by the federal and provincial governments. Specifically, most timber in Canada is owned by provincial governments. The price charged to harvest the timber (the "stumpage fee") is set administratively rather than through a competitive auction, as is often the practice in the United States. The United States claims that the provision of government timber at below market prices constitutes an unfair subsidy. Under U.S. trade remedy laws, foreign goods benefiting from subsidies can be subject to a countervailing duty tariff to offset the subsidy and bring the price of the product back up to market rates."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Sta ... er_dispute


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:30 am 
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m0002a wrote:
The US position on Canadian softwood lumber imports is as follows.....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Sta ... er_dispute

That's a pretty selective quote.... from the same source:
"The Canadian government and lumber industry [claim that] the timber is provided to so many industries that it cannot be considered sufficiently specific to be a subsidy under U.S. law. Under U.S. trade remedy law, a subsidy to be countervailable must be specific to a particular industry. This requirement precludes imposition of countervailing duties on government programs, such as roads, that are meant to benefit a broad array of interests."

Anyway, the broader point is more important -- there's not much Canada can do if the US just says no.

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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:28 am 
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MikeC wrote:
That's a pretty selective quote.... from the same source:
"The Canadian government and lumber industry [claim that] the timber is provided to so many industries that it cannot be considered sufficiently specific to be a subsidy under U.S. law. Under U.S. trade remedy law, a subsidy to be countervailable must be specific to a particular industry. This requirement precludes imposition of countervailing duties on government programs, such as roads, that are meant to benefit a broad array of interests."

Anyway, the broader point is more important -- there's not much Canada can do if the US just says no.

In my post, I specifically stated: "The US position on Canadian softwood lumber imports is as follows..." so it was clear that the Canadian position was not included in my quote (although I did provide a link to the broader article).

But to answer the Canadian position that you quoted from the same article, granted that some programs such as roads may benefit a broad array of interests (unless such roads were built by the government specifically for timber harvesting), but the issue of the price charged to harvest the timber (the "stumpage fee") being set administratively rather than competitively, specifically does benefit the Canadian lumber industry, and that is the main point of contention. There are usually two sides to every dispute, and this is no exception.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:48 am 
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Ah free trade…

Anyone who knows any economic theory understands that free trade has a lot of pros AND cons.

In theory, the main advantage of free trade is that it promotes the creation of wealth. This is certainly true; in fact, free trade has been spectacularly successful in creating wealth.

If both countries have the same industry, free trade tends to promote the “more efficient” industry in one country and destroy the “less efficient” industry in the other country. If I remember correctly, this was recognised when NAFTA was being negotiated, and the politicians promised to compensate people in the industries that NAFTA destroyed. This promise was not kept, and the fact that the free trade usually destroys industries is never mentioned these days.

One of the problems with free trade is that countries will take extreme measures to protect the industries that free trade would normally destroy. People in this thread have been talking about the softwood lumber dispute between the US and Canada, so this may be a good example. If (and this is disputed) Canadian lumber companies have a natural advantage because Canada has a plentiful supply of lumber compared to the US, one would expect that free trade would promote Canadian lumber companies at the expense of US companies. In this case, the dispute was never settled. The US decided to tariff Canadian lumber and to close all discussion.

An example of the difficulty of settling trade disputes is hog farms. The US claimed that Canadian hog farmers were subsidised. It was true that the Canadian hog farmers were getting direct subsidies, but the US hog farmers were getting subsidised food for their hogs. The US took this to the NAFTA dispute process. They went through ALL levels of this process and finally ignored the result.

(Note: As a Canadian I know more about the Canadian point of view; thus the selection of my examples. I do not mean to imply that it is totally one-sided between the US and Canada.)


In my opinion, while free trade has mostly been a success, only a small part of the population is getting the benefits of free trade, while a much larger part of the population is affected by the down side of free trade.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:44 pm 
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SMM wrote:
only a small part of the population is getting the benefits of free trade, while a much larger part of the population is affected by the down side of free trade.


Yeah, those cheap sneakers and DVD-players must be killing the working class.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:46 pm 
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Trip wrote:
The Off Topic has generally been left-wing leaning.


And here's some right leaning to even things out for Trip

Ripley wrote:
You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.


So the sell anybody and anything to anyone viewpoint is covered.
Feel better now?

Pubs don't believe in free trade, they believe in free-for-all trade, big difference.
And apparently from their perspective that's standing up straight.

Quote:
That's a pretty selective quote....

It was designed to out Faux you and everyone else.

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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:41 pm 
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aristide1 wrote:
So the sell anybody and anything to anyone viewpoint is covered.
Feel better now?


Bleh, I'm for free markets but not capitalism.

EDIT: I don't like how capitalism destroys the middle class.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:55 pm 
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Didn't capitalism exist in 18th and 19 centuries? Did it ruin anything, or did corrupting how it works ruin its capabilities? Honest people want fairness and balance, opportunists want a stacked deck. That's what government does (both parties) they stack the deck and don't leave things work the way they should. Stacking the deck is done in various ways:

1. Lobbyist recommendations become laws.
2. Regulations are stopped or ignored as the lobbyists who control that party call for it.
3. Corporations pretty much stop all new regulations, screaming it will cost jobs, whether they do or not (the effective and well played fear card.)
4. Enforcement of laws decreed by political leaning (last I looked the scales of justice were suppose to be balanced. Am I naive or what? )

Quote:
Yeah, those cheap sneakers and DVD-players must be killing the working class.

Only for those that have a conscience. Every here of such a thing?

Quote:
In my opinion, while free trade has mostly been a success, only a small part of the population is getting the benefits of free trade, while a much larger part of the population is affected by the down side of free trade.

That assessment shows objectivity, and if you have any political leanings you can't do stuff like that. In their viewpoint it makes you the enemy.

Quote:
I do not mean to imply that it is totally one-sided between the US and Canada

For those with the YEEHAW mentality it's actually the US versus the entire world. Got a problem with that? (As you're looking down the barrel of a gun.)

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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:57 pm 
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Trip wrote:
I don't like how capitalism destroys the middle class.

It wasn't captilism that destroyed the middle class, it was technology that has made manual labor less valuable than it used to be (and only economic if performed offshore). Or call it "Revenge of the Nerds."


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:26 am 
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aristide1 wrote:
Didn't capitalism exist in 18th and 19 centuries? Did it ruin anything


Yeah, it kinda did. Child labour, environmental destruction, colonialism.

Quote:
Only for those that have a conscience. Every here of such a thing?


Conscience is a costly thing to afford.

m0002a wrote:
Or call it "Revenge of the Nerds."


In the long run, they'll be losing their jobs to the machines as well. It will be the great challenge for future generations to overcome capitalism in a world, where only a tiny fraction of the current demand for human labour remains. A system based on people working for food won't cut it then.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:59 am 
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Most of the people who have a job are already doing a job that's not really necessary. It's been so for a long time.

Wages aren't based on the "value" of the labor. Do you figure the "value" of manual labor changes when you cross a border? Or that the "value" of manual labor in the US increased for 25 years following WWII only to decrease afterwards?


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:10 am 
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HFat wrote:
Most of the people who have a job are already doing a job that's not really necessary.


If you define "necessary" as: gather food, make clothing, make shelter, make tools for these three and being a shaman, than yes, people are doing predominantly jobs that aren't essential to human survival.

But it would be news to me that a lot of people are getting paid by somebody for a job no-one needs them to do...


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:09 am 
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There'll always be demand for non-essential services as long as people have something to exchange for them. Mechanisation and automation doesn't change that. Doing chores with the help of household appliances is still a chore for instance. So where you have inequality, you've still got domestic servants.

Lots of people are getting paid doing whatever they want. Social security, pensions and so on do exactly that. The independently wealthy have been on this gravy train for a long time. Then there's people collecting decent unemployment or disability benefits or who are on paid leave (maybe this doesn't happen in your country). Lots of people working for the state are useless and only keep their job because their colleagues defend their status, expecting their own income to be defended in return. It also happens in the private sector when a business has little effective competition. Then you've got the people who owe their generously paid pointless position to connections in business or in politics. Need I go on?
And there's also all the people with antisocial occupations in organized crime, advertising and so on. While someone wants them to do their job, we'd all be better off if they were retired early with a state pension. If you account for the negative externalities of occupations which would otherwise be socially useful, a lot more people than you might think are harming society by making a living.

The bottom line is that the sum total of socially useful goods and services (including not only food and shelter but transportation, communication, health care, and so on) produced today could be produced with a fraction of today's working population if prevailing policy and values were oriented towards maximising individual freedom instead of the size, the discipline and the skills of the servile population.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:17 am 
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HFat wrote:
There'll always be demand for non-essential services as long as people have something to exchange for them. Mechanisation and automation doesn't change that. Doing chores with the help of household appliances is still a chore for instance.

I wasn't speaking of tomorrow. I was talking of 100 years from now, when you will without a doubt see household androids.

Quote:
Lots of people are getting paid doing whatever they want. Social security, pensions and so on

Well, these people don't work.
And that's exactly my point.
In the future, more and more people will be getting money without work, because there's not enough work to go around and you can't just let everyone starve.

Quote:
Lots of people working for the state are useless and only keep their job because their colleagues defend their status, expecting their own income to be defended in return.

Name one!

Quote:
It also happens in the private sector when a business has little effective competition.

Name one!

Quote:
Then you've got the people who owe their generously paid pointless position to connections in business or in politics.

Name one!

Quote:
And there's also all the people with antisocial occupations in organized crime

That's not labor.

Quote:
advertising and so on. While someone wants them to do their job, we'd all be better off if they were retired early with a state pension. If you account for the negative externalities of occupations which would otherwise be socially useful, a lot more people than you might think are harming society by making a living.

How is any of that relevant to my argument?

Quote:
The bottom line is that the sum total of socially useful goods and services (including not only food and shelter but transportation, communication, health care, and so on) produced today could be produced with a fraction of today's working population

Yes. That was the case at any point in history. And more and more of these jobs are being replaced by automatization. Look how many people worked on a farm 200 years ago and how many now.

Automatization in the last 100 years was nothing. Big dumb robots, expensive, unadaptable. Advancements in Robotics and the rise of the personal computer are changing that. Jobs that no current machine could do sufficiently will be serviced by one sooner or later.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:49 am 
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tim851 wrote:
In the long run, they'll be losing their jobs to the machines as well. It will be the great challenge for future generations to overcome capitalism in a world, where only a tiny fraction of the current demand for human labour remains. A system based on people working for food won't cut it then.

Even if that day does come, it doesn't have anything to do with capitalism. A social welfare state and capitalism already exist in virtually ever advanced country in the world. Even in the US, if you earn below a certain annual amount of money, not only do you not pay any taxes, you get money back just from filling a return (earned income tax credit).

Societies and economic models are adaptable. The US system is nothing like that in in the 19th century (even though both can be classified as capitalism), and will evolve as necessary in future centuries (so long as they exist and there are still elections).


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:52 am 
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tim851 wrote:
aristide1 wrote:
Didn't capitalism exist in 18th and 19 centuries? Did it ruin anything


Yeah, it kinda did. Child labour, environmental destruction, colonialism.

The history of the last 100 years (when socialism was instituted in certain countries around the world) shows that such activities are not limited to capitalism.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:33 am 
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SMM wrote:
Ah free trade…

Anyone who knows any economic theory understands that free trade has a lot of pros AND cons.

In theory, the main advantage of free trade is that it promotes the creation of wealth. This is certainly true; in fact, free trade has been spectacularly successful in creating wealth.

I know economics theory and understand that free trade has a lot of pros. What about the cons?
Quote:
If both countries have the same industry, free trade tends to promote the “more efficient” industry in one country and destroy the “less efficient” industry in the other country. If I remember correctly, this was recognised when NAFTA was being negotiated, and the politicians promised to compensate people in the industries that NAFTA destroyed. This promise was not kept, and the fact that the free trade usually destroys industries is never mentioned these days.

Free trade means that countries have the industries that reflect their comparative advantage. That means that in a country, it's industries may move to other types. This is not "destruction of industries" in a way that needs to be compensated.
Since it also makes the global economy more competitive, it also helps to weed out inefficient companies.
Quote:
One of the problems with free trade is that countries will take extreme measures to protect the industries that free trade would normally destroy.
Will they? Do they take more extreme measures than they do anyway? Why do you blame free trade for making government decision making worse? Blame government stupidity for government stupidity, not free trade.
Quote:
People in this thread have been talking about the softwood lumber dispute between the US and Canada, so this may be a good example. If (and this is disputed) Canadian lumber companies have a natural advantage because Canada has a plentiful supply of lumber compared to the US, one would expect that free trade would promote Canadian lumber companies at the expense of US companies. In this case, the dispute was never settled. The US decided to tariff Canadian lumber and to close all discussion.

This is a problem of lack of free trade.
Quote:
An example of the difficulty of settling trade disputes is hog farms. The US claimed that Canadian hog farmers were subsidised. It was true that the Canadian hog farmers were getting direct subsidies, but the US hog farmers were getting subsidised food for their hogs. The US took this to the NAFTA dispute process. They went through ALL levels of this process and finally ignored the result.

It's difficult to settle free trade disputes; that doesn't mean free trade isn't good.
Quote:
In my opinion, while free trade has mostly been a success, only a small part of the population is getting the benefits of free trade, while a much larger part of the population is affected by the down side of free trade.

What is the down side of free trade?


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:44 am 
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m0002a wrote:
A social welfare state and capitalism already exist in virtually ever advanced country in the world.


And they're all struggling. The social welfare state is under pressure everywhere, because the ratio between those making money and those getting money is not the same as it used to be. Today, the most pressing issues is still pensions, because there is still enough human labor around.

We're still at the beginning of the computer age. The modern computer is maybe 60 years old, depending on your definition of it. Sixty years after the invention of the steam engine (once again, depending on your definition, sometime pre-1800), nobody thought where it would lead.

But the steam engine and their successors, the machines, only made human physical labor redundant (to a degree). The modern computer will make human cognitive labor redundant (to a degree).

This will not spell the end of capitalism as a form of trade and ressource management system, but the end of capitalism as a way to determine the value of human life(-time).

m0002a wrote:
The history of the last 100 years (when socialism was instituted in certain countries around the world) shows that such activities are not limited to capitalism.


Sadly, that is true.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:59 am 
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croddie wrote:
Do they take more extreme measures than they do anyway? Why do you blame free trade for making government decision making worse? Blame government stupidity for government stupidity, not free trade.

I agree free trade as such is not to blame but you seem to be missing something: non-tariff barriers can be much more destructive than tariff barriers. The current ideological dispensation insists on lowering tariffs. This creates an incentive to make a mess of things instead of putting up whatever tariffs governments see fit. That all barriers are inefficient does not make them equally destructive. So it's a particular implementation of free trade that's at issue.


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:25 pm 
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Look Tim, I'm not sure what your argument is. But the kind of ideas you're putting forward are older than you might think. The lump of labor fallacy (look it up) was already discussed by economists more than 100 years ago.
To me, your ideas sound similar to Marxism. You've apparently reasoning from the same facts, failing to see the same complications and coming up with the same kind of notions. There's no invitable historical outcome for the current economic arrangement. You have no crystal ball. But maybe I don't undersand your arguments. You haven't been very explicit.

tim851 wrote:
In the future, more and more people will be getting money without work

I wish. Sure, that's been the trend on a century timescale but most of the advances in that area date back to the 30s and 40s and the clock has been in the process of being turned back for many years now. I'm afraid rational solutions are not inevitable.

tim851 wrote:
Name one!

I find your attitude puzzling.
I've been kind enough to disclose my location since it affects parts availability and pricing. As you can imagine, there's a lot more people here that is the norm around the world who have junkets of a job on the dime of the state and state-backed monopolies (big finance and big pharma here). But still, I know so many folks in that situation (from people paid a pittance to do highly unprofitable make-work so that the country looks more productive to people who have a political position in an international organisation) that I can only conclude you must have the same kind of stuff going on wherever you live, if on a smaller scale. Perhaps you are too young to understand these things. Or maybe you live in a rural area or a factory town where productive jobs are much more common. That or you're being pointlessly argumentative...

tim851 wrote:
Yes. That was the case at any point in history.

Come on... sure there's always been unproductive individuals but it used to be that most people were chronically living on the brink of starvation becuase they were not productive enough. Several famines are recorded as being largely caused by attempts to create a larger urban labor force by getting people off the land or by forcibly replacing food crops with cotton and other industrial inputs. Industrializing Europe resorted to importing food and fertilizer from overseas to address that problem. Thanks in part to the use of fossil fuels in agriculture, this is is simply not a problem anymore. Still, many countries have recently been plagued by devastating shortage of goods and services due to mismanagement (like the USSR) or lack of resources (like any number of African countries).

tim851 wrote:
Look how many people worked on a farm 200 years ago and how many now.

More people on this planet work the land than are employed in any line of business. North American farm productivity is not the norm.

tim851 wrote:
The social welfare state is under pressure everywhere, because the ratio between those making money and those getting money is not the same as it used to be.

Gold is dug from mines. Shortage of gold is not an issue or else a lot more people would be mining and recycling precious metals. Shortage of paper to print dollar bills is not an issue either. And neither is shortage of IT equipment to add zeroes to electronic accounts. Money is not a problem. And shortage of stuff to buy with money is rarely an issue in functional modern economies.
The problem is that there is no political consensus for the maintenance and furthering of the welfare states (to put it mildly).


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 Post subject: Re: South Korea: The Next ‘Free Trade’ Battleground
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:04 pm 
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Quote:
Yeah, it kinda did. Child labour, environmental destruction, colonialism.


Child labor back then - a societal norm? A society necessity?

Environmental destruction - more ignorance than intentional.

Colonialism - back to just plain greed.

Quote:
Conscience is a costly thing to afford.


Actually the lack of it is far more costly, but if that needs explaining then it most likely won't sink in. Don't believe it? You try undoing an oil spill and the death that follows it.

Quote:
it was technology that has made manual labor less valuable than it used to be

But all jobs are being outsourced, it's not just about automation it's also exploiting pay differences. Given that, why risk training for most jobs out there? And a lot of the remaining jobs, hamburger flippers and pizza makers, won't pay your bills. Ergo, the land of opportunity is slowly being limited to ways to screw over each other, ie dog eat dog.

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