Most rational economists agree that the loss of industry in the United States is largely due to two decades of heavy free trading. Because it favors multinational corporations, free trade creates a system where the motivation for profits supersedes all other considerations. The ends justify the means, and that mentality is tearing the U.S. economy to pieces. American workers just cannot compete with unlivable wages as low as $4 an hour.
The globalization of the employment market and the mobility of companies and capital has increased instances of corporations outsourcing to take advantage of lower wages and weaker regulations. Threats to relocate also allow companies to force reductions in environmental and social standards around the world. Mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring are decreasing employment security. By design, this system is deindustrializing the United States: shipping jobs overseas and substantially lowering the standard of living.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) was designed to enforce this ideal of global “free trade.” And while world trade has increased fifteen-fold since 1960, it has hardly been beneficial to the United States. Since entering the WTO in 2001, trade with China alone has resulted in the loss of millions of American jobs. Under the current system, China overtly ignores its signed WTO agreement, defying the will of international law and blocking most American exports from its market. This practice is emblematic of how free trade overall is tilted in favor of moving industry overseas.
Those fortunate enough to retain their jobs are watching their wages decrease, as annual earnings continue to fall on a national level. American workers are put in direct competition with one another as more and more employers look to offshore production to nations with lower wage rates. As these displaced workers change jobs, they continue to lose out on income.
Many experts and analysts refer to our situation as a jobless recovery. Yet that term itself is essentially an oxymoron: without jobs, there can be no true recovery. And as long as the United States is actively pursuing free trade and losing industry, it will be very difficult to create those jobs.