Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Trade Agreements Need Fixing: A Modest Proposal.

Back on Valentine's day, I wrote a post regarding a story coming from Columbia about workers who were payed less than $50 a week, for a full grueling six day work week, working for a subsidiary of Dole (Not the Viagra popping one).

It really got me to thinking. What "free trade" often means is American companies setting up shop in countries like Columbia who are signatories of NAFTA and CAFTA, so they can exploit the workers through wages, working conditions, benefits, and safety. They pollute under laxer environmental regulations. Then they ship the goods to the US as a product of Columbia, with reduced or eliminated tarriffs.

How about a simple little rule change. The ownership of the company sending the items over under trade agreements has to be citizens of that nation. At least 50.1% of the company must be owned by Columbian citizens in this case. This will not eliminate the exploitation of workers, but at least more of the money will stay in the country, to trickle down on the serfs.

Of course business groups and Republicans will vehemently protest this action. Bush would definately veto such legislation, but it is the perfect politics of contrast and compare. Most Americans aren't xenophobes, but the working class are getting the shaft in this new global economy. What better way to show what "free trade" really represents, than to put in a benchmark to prove it's not about expanding the economies of other countries, and allowing them to compete in our market place. Dole is not a Columbian concern the last I checked. We need to do more checking. At least make the free traders pay a political price for what they are managing to do.