2016-06-12

Trade Agreements -- The Physics Just Does Not Work....

Proponents of Trade Agreements like NAFTA have touted these complex negotiated agreements as good for the American workers, suggesting jobs available to the US would increase.  Additionally, the new avenues of trade would bring increased revenues to the US, allowing US companies to increase exports, thus opening new doors for increased wealth for one and all.  Additionally, trade deficits were prophesied to decrease and manufacturing would start to grow again as a result of reduced tariffs on US import to participating companies.

All these benefits to the US citizens were supposed to stem from the new freedoms supplied to companies, both large and small, to do business across participating borders.  I am particularly interested in the 'end result' of benefit to the average US citizen - to me, that is the end result that counts.  I don't care about corporations, and frankly, I don't give a damn about the US Government either any more.  To be honest, they are basically the same thing in my view: Wall St. has now become the Uncle in Uncle Sam.

There is much ado about the TPP, and how trade agreements are such a good thing.  I keep looking for statistics that show how good a thing NAFTA has been for the average American.  Can't seem to find any.  There are stories of how one company (usually large) or another did well.  Their stakeholders (..er... shareholders) certainly did, the CEO and top brass certainly did, but the people who have a real vested interest in the companies, in other words, the employees, did not do well at all.  And that is reflected in our overall economy in my view.  NAFTA is not the cause of our woes, it is just one of the many substantial contributors.

Being just a simple schmuck, I am inclined to ask the following question:  If we engage in business with countries where the labor pool is unskilled and valued at a tiny fraction of our labor pool, will the value of their labor pool go up, or will the value of our labor pool go down?

Silly me:  I think that the basic principle of of water applies here:  Water will always seek the lowest, or closest to gravitational center, that it can to come to rest.  Another apt analogy is that a high energy state seeks a low energy state, pretty much the same thing.  Guess what - Economics works the same way, and it follows that wages and therefore standard of living will act accordingly.

If we want to maintain our standard of living, we don't want NAFTA, and we don't want TPP.  They are not targeted to US citizens living in an increasingly better world.  Quite the opposite in fact.

Fear of Choice - Mostly the Choice of Others

One of the most compelling and important things that America offers it's citizens is choice.  From our political views to religious belief to philosophical bent.  Employment, education, locale in which to live, all these things we may choose for ourselves.  This was what our country was built on.  Not only individual choice, but collective choice as well.  Our constitution is a framework on which we build and grow as a society, ever flexible and changing; dynamic.

It is that dynamic nature which makes our constitution one of the best ever written.  It allows us choice.

There are dangers inherent in having choices.  We might make a bad choice.  And then what?  There is no going back, as we all learn too soon in life.  There is only going forward.  But a bad choice is generally not permanent.  We can choose again, applying what we have learned before to hopefully make a better choice.  There is also the danger of having to live with other peoples choices, or conversely, recognizing that others have to live with ours through no fault of their own.  These are the choices that we have come to fear the most it seems.  And our response is to deny, or attempt to deny, choices other than our own.... and we diminish ourselves, our society, our culture and our country through fear of choice.

How did we, a people that calls itself free, end up fearing the very choices that make us free?  What is it exactly that we are afraid of?  What risk do we mitigate by diminishing choice?  Perhaps most importantly: What choices have we become most afraid of?

2016-06-06

Dex

Synapses fire in parallel
but in no particular order

Ideas merge, concepts mesh
clashing in undisciplined dischordance

Muscles clinch and cramp
reflecting dendridic chaos

Anararchy of body
Revolt of intellect

And yet the soul envelops
the rise, the plateau, the decline

Through it, because of it, in spite of it
I remain.... me