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How Free Trade Causes Development - Research Paper Example

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Summary
Free trade is a buzzing concept in modern times, with all governments across the world proclaiming to promote it. Definitely, there are many advantages to be availed as a result of free trade arrangements. The essay will look into how free trade causes development and also scrutinize the nature, merits and demerits of such development…
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How Free Trade Causes Development
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How Free Trade Causes Development

Download file to see previous pages... drug barons, arms merchants, rackets bosses, Mafiosi, and other profiteers are emerging as the economic and political leaders of the social transformations underway in their respective societies.” (Buchanan, 2000, p.1) One of the criticisms leveled against free trade as it exists today is its affect on workers and consumers. Some believe that under this system, workers become helpless pawns of their capitalist masters, compelled to sell their labor power at sub-optimal costs. The only theoretical alternative they have to evading this exploitation is to become destitute, which is a far greater misery. Multi-national corporations (MNCs), which are the facade of free trade, are perceived as coercing citizens to unwillingly participate in the capitalist market system, while also leaving consumers with no choice but to buy their products. In the book titled Telling the Truth about History, author Joyce Appleby traces how MNCs came to be the dominant institutions of our age. Here, the author makes some scathing observations about the nature of capitalist enterprise that is the back bone of prevailing free trade systems: “One of the distinguishing features of a free-enterprise economy is that its coercion is veiled. . . . The fact that people must earn before they can eat is a commonly recognized connection between need and work, but it presents itself as a natural link embedded in the necessity of eating rather than as arising from a particular arrangement for distributing food through market exchanges....” (Joyce as quoted in Levite, 2002, p.32) The free-trade system is also criticized for promoting 'wage-slavery', whereby human beings are reduced to mechanical automatons as they go through the drudgery of work each day. Here too, the slavery is not so much express...
This paper stresses that while free trade has led to development in some countries, they have led to economic instability in others. What is most worrisome about free trade in the modern world is the vacuous nature of the term, as it is stripped of its substantive meaning. In other words, where there is conflict between the execution of this system in its ideal form and the consequences for major business corporations, it is always the interests of the latter that is looked after. This is nowhere more clearly visible than in the history of NAFTA. The terminology can be a little deceptive here, for despite claims of being a 'free-trade' agreement, it has many protectionist provisions in it. A brief survey of the effects of NAFTA on the general population reveals that American, Mexican and Canadian elites have seen most of its benefits.
This report makes a conclusion that global free trade arrangements have failed to lead to uniform development. While there are obvious success stories like India, China and South East Asian bloc, much of the rest of the world has not benefitted. It is in response to these failures that the global solidarity movement has arisen. Centered on universal human challenges like poverty-reduction, access to basic healthcare, free education for all children, social welfare for the disadvantaged, etc, the global solidarity movement presents an alternative operative framework to the United States led global capitalist project. In a few decades time, it is plausible that this more pragmatic form of social organization might have quelled American hegemony in economic, cultural and political domains and might have eliminated the need for economic globalization. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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