NAFTA Helps Multinationals While Hurting America
NAFTA cannot be called anything but an economic disaster for the United States, but that is not to say that profits have not been made. Multinational corporations have seen their profits grow as a result of NAFTA, but those profits have not created jobs in the United States. When the public is sold on free trade agreements, they are told that free trade agreements create economic activity through increased trade. Unfortunately for American workers, that economic activity usually means a few rich individuals are profiting at their expense.
Some misguided individuals try to say that NAFTA has been a success. Usually they point to the fact that trade between the two countries has increased. Increased trade does not mean that either country is flourishing. The increased trade numbers seen from NAFTA do not mean that Mexican companies are selling more to Americans, or that American companies are selling more to Mexicans. The reality is that multinational corporations are exploiting the system to produce cheaply in Mexico and sell to Americans. This has not been good for either Mexican or American workers. While profits have been made, they have not translated into good jobs for workers.
In order to profit from NAFTA, multinational corporations have moved manufacturing jobs from the United States to Mexico. This increases trade because they must then ship their products back to the United States, but that does not mean its economic impact is positive. Some NAFTA backers also try to claim that the manufacturing jobs created in Mexico make the trade agreement a positive thing, but this is not the case. Many of the Mexicans working for low wages in factories once enjoyed a better existence as family farmers. Subsidized agricultural products from the United States made their farms unsustainable, and they were forced to take any job that was available. These workers have experienced decreased living standards, yet NAFTA backers attempt to frame their jobs as a success. Unfortunately, this only represents a success for the shareholders of the companies who profit off of these workers.
Government policies should seek to benefit the most people possible. Profits for large corporations do not equal new or better jobs for individuals. Trickle down economics has repeatedly proven to be a failure, yet we continue to try it. If we want to measure NAFTA’s success or failure, we should look at how many people are worse off now as a result of its passage. Nearly 700,000 people have lost their jobs, many more are working for lower wages, and only a very privileged few have profited. This is not a sustainable outcome, and action should be taken to reverse it.