Free Trade, Globalization, And The World

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When we turn the television on we hear that free trade is tied to democracy. We are told by the media and politicians that free trade helps us by creating cheap goods, better jobs, and constructive relationships with other countries. This is the American view of free trade. We are told that it is a naturally beneficial thing, that it furthers democracy, and that it helps those "poor unfortunates" in the "third world" get jobs. We are told that it will make us rich, that it will return us to a prosperity that we had at some time in the past, before barriers to trade made our economy go wrong. But how can this be? What is it that is inherent in "free trade" that will make our country great? There is a very simple answer: nothing. A look at free trade, globalization, and the world around us reveals some bitter truths. To see them we can look at three of the myriad ways that free trade, both in America and abroad, can cause damage: environmental degradation, the destruction of cultural practices, and the exploitation of workers. America gets its Barbie dolls, Star Wars action figures, skinny jeans, sneakers, and even our food, from exploitative companies like Mattel, Walmart, the Gap, Forever 21, Chiquita, and Chicken of the Sea. These companies thrive on free trade. Politicians may tout free trade as a helpful, futuristic plan, that will make America the greatest country in the world but there are many people in America that do not understand what free trade really entails.
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