“Free Trade” Is Not Free, It’s a Handout to Multinational Corporations


Shakespeare once wrote that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. This is very true, and a skunk by any other appellation would smell as foul. We have been, as a nation, saddled with so-called “free trade” agreements which have crippled our nation’s industry. But they are not “free trade”, they are corporatist trade.

The most famous “free trade” deal is NAFTA, the North American “Free Trade” Agreement between Mexico, Canada and the United States. It was signed into law by President William Jefferson Clinton and it has been a grave, damaging blow to our economy. But the label of “free trade” is just a name. It has no actual meaning in this context, because “free trade” isn’t free.

What “free trade” actually means, when our leaders use it, is corporatism. They sign into law trade deals that favor huge, multi-national corporations at the expense of the little guy. It allows corporations to sue governments who don’t cater to their needs as they see it. It allows a race to the bottom in regulatory standards, which allows corporations to manufacture more cheaply. And all it costs is our safety and health!

It also creates a race to the bottom for wages. Corporations, under “free trade”, can pick and choose as they like, and if wages are a little high in a certain area, they move operations to another. Again, this allows them to manufacture more cheaply, but it is an onerous burden on the backs of poor workers and a death blow to the workers from wealthier nations who must now file for unemployment.

Every other “free trade” deal we have signed since NAFTA has been along the same corporatist lines, and they do the same kind of damage to our economy, varying only in magnitude. There are even three “free trade” deals on the horizon – an Unholy Trinity – that will dwarf NAFTA in size and scope. They could be the final nails in the our economic coffin.

If you’ve ever wondered why the rich keep getting richer in our country, while the poor barely make it by, “free trade” is the reason. It is corporatist, which is why corporations and their CEOs make out so well. Their extra wealth has to come from someone, and that someone is you and me.

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