An American Highschool Student's observations about Free Trade
by JWolf_802 on December 11, 2015 - 10:40am
Throughout my time at VCS, specifically in Mark’s classes, the idea of globalization has been a major theme. It has always been referred to as something that continuously is growing and we should support in order to be global citizens. However, this has been one of the first drawbacks to globalization that has been brought up. For the first time, global connections are questioned and often viewed negatively. While the personal question of, should the lives of developed nations be valued at treated better than others? is tough to answer for myself, there are many arguments for both sides.
Our debate really ingrained the idea of that Americans do not want to part with their jobs, high wages, or luxuries. When voting for a trade agreement, the first thought to enter their mind is simply, how will this benefit me and/or my family? This self-centered mindset is what the United States was brought up on and is a crucial part of democracy as we know it today, however a truly knowledgeable citizen must recognise the inequality in the world.
Regardless of a person’s personal views on a selfish vs altruistic form of government, one must ask about the effectiveness of the TPP on the world. As something of this magnitude has never been instituted before, there is very little that can be referenced to attempt to predict the results. The closest that we all think of, is NAFTA. NAFTA caused many jobs to be outsourced to Mexico from the US in particular, however many mexican farmers’ careers were ruined by the very same trade agreement. Neither party was completely satisfied by the agreement, both sides had drawbacks. On top of this, there was very little done to ensure better working conditions and environmental regulations for Mexico. Looking back at this situation to improve the current plan, certain measures have been taken to attempt a better result, however there is no way to tell who will truly benefit and/or be hindered by the TPP.
With all of this in account, one must question, is this really worth it. While free trade, in theory, should benefit both parties, there are often unforeseen problems with agreements. Similar, in a way, to communism, true free trade is more of an ideology than a reality that is obtainable. while free trade should benefit everyone involved, there is an inherent advantage to developed nations as they can supply products for less and of better quality; with the lack of tariffs, there is almost nothing stopping a huge divide between the first world, and the rest of people on the planet. However, the leaders of the developed nations are the ones that truly benefit from the agreement. Many citizens may be forced to outsource to keep their jobs. Are US citizens in favor of a system like that?
Knowing all this information, it’s really up to the individual to make the choice. Are protecting US jobs worth limiting free trade? Do you, value your own country's citiznes and its values over other countries, or are you truly globally minded? Once all facts are laid out on the table, can make their decision on what is the right course of action. The true problem is the lack of knowledge to the general public. The TPP should be an openly discussed topic to hear many viewpoints, so everyone can make the best informed decision that then can. The true evil is the unintentional ignorance that plague the world's common people.