The Truth on Free Trade
as told by some Free Traders and some Economists

Nipawin - February 26, 2001 - by: Mario deSantis


Nobody can argue against international trade, since trade is as natural as our behaviour to
relate to each other. Today, the problem is not trade per se, the problem is the sanction of
international contracts which have materialized for example with the World Trade Organization
(WTO) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)(1). These international
contracts are known as Free Trade, but we have to distinguish "Free Trade" from free trade
as our natural propensity to trade within and out of our own geographical confines.




Free Trade, as the present international contractual framework to do business between
countries, is alienated from the interest of common people, while at the same time there
is evidence that our own governments are alienated from the interest of common people
as well. Therefore, Free Trade is an artificial agreement which is the result of the corporate
agenda of the multinational conglomerates.




Mike Moore, Director-General of WTO, wants more international agreement on services
and responding to WTO's critics supporting more national autonomy he has stated that
these critics have always taken liberties with the truth(2). It appears that only the proponents
of Free Trade can speak the ultimate truth and the search for this exclusive truth was explicitly
synthesized by Labourist Tony Blair's recent statement that WTO's critics cannot be allowed
to stand in the way of rational argument. I don't agree that the search for the truth is the
monopoly of our rational elitist Free Traders and as a consequence I certainly don't take
literally their preaching. However, we have the interest to become a bit more intelligent in
understanding the social issues affecting Free Trade and as a consequence I would like you,
readers, to ponder on the intelligence of the language used by our elitist Free Traders as
opposed to the language used by some social economists.




In reviewing the study "Trade, Income Disparity and Poverty(3)", by Dan Ben-David of
Tel Aviv University and L. Alan Winters of Sussex University, WTO's Director-General
Mike Moore has stated:


This report confirms that although trade alone may not be enough
to eradicate poverty, it is essential if poor people are to have any
hope of a brighter future. For example, 30 years ago, South Korea
was as poor as Ghana. Today, thanks to trade led growth, it is as
rich as Portugal.




In their paper "Sharing the Wealth from Growth: Comparing the Canadian and U.S.
Experiences(4)" by Jack Mintz and Shay Aba, the authors write:


With falling barriers to trade, businesses can more easily shift
low-cost production to low-wage economies. The forces of
globalization result in greater economic inequality in industrialized
economies as the demand for low-skilled workers declines relative
to that for skilled labour, whose wages then adjust upward.




There is certainly no absolute truth, but we have at least the intelligence to understand which
language of the above two is more tuned to our intrinsic values; and at least we, as individuals,
can make our choice.
  List of relevant political and economics articles


The problem with Free Trade: the structure of WTO and NAFTA, by Mario deSantis and James deSantis, February 23, 2001




Liberate trade, not paranoia, by MIKE MOORE, February 21, 2001, The Globe and Mail




Trade, Income Disparity and Poverty, by Dan Ben-David of Tel Aviv University and L. Alan Winters of Sussex University




Sharing the Wealth from Growth: Comparing the Canadian and U.S. Experiences, by Jack Mintz (C.D. Howe Institute and University of Toronto) and Shay Aba (C.D. Howe Institute)