Home Rule Globally
Abstract of -
HRG opposes Trade Treaties of the '90s.
Trade treaties are supposedly a peaceful manifestation of what Ewbank calls the "treaty system". The 1990's saw the introduction of two treaties with significant consequences. First, the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade, which had been evolving since shortly after WWII, metamorphosized into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Arguably, this is now the most powerful international organization on Earth, even eclipsing the UN because its members must abide by WTO rules that affect the gamut of social concerns from environmental protection to health policy, to intellectual property rights, market access rights. and a multitude of others. The WTO's rules have no democratic basis; on the contrary they typically have been written by or at the behest of lawyers and lobbyists for global corporations. And yet they impose an undemocratic tyranny on member nations, even causing the US Congress to back down on several occasions.
The second major globalization treaty of the '90s was NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) between the US, Canada and Mexico. Because labor costs in Mexico are a fraction of what they are in the US, NAFTA accelerated the transfer of manufacturing activities from the US to Mexico and was a major contributor to the loss of 1/3 of US manufacturing jobs during the 8 years of the W. Bush presidency. These jobs are not coming back, and so we have the jobless "recovery" that persists to this day. Like the WTO, NAFTA has wrought a wholly undemocratic transformation on social concerns: the permanently high rate of unemployment (in the 15 - 20% range factoring in the discouraged and the semi- employed) has squeezed government revenues at all levels, resulting in draconian cuts to education funding, welfare programs, parks, support for scientific research, etc.
The above details are background for this article in which Ewbank deplores corporate controlled globalization and speculates on how it may be possible to educate the public about the consequences of these treaties. A supra-national federation not only could restore democratic control over international commercial relationships, but would actually benefit global commerce over the long haul. Serving the public interest, it would have democratically constituted authority to equalize international trade imbalances, restore currency stability, eliminate income tax and regulatory arbitrage, and generally forestall the crises that come as a result of the inability of national governments to control financial speculation, fraud and other excesses in international markets.