Review of The Great Betrayal by Patrick Buchanan
Synopsis of book: Patrick Buchanan explains his theory of how free trade is destroying the manual labor working force of America.
Patrick Buchanan was a supporter of free trade from early on in his career until 1987. At that time, while he was seeking the Republican nomination for President, he was on a campaign trip. He visited a small town which was based around a plant. 500 people were about to loose their jobs. He spoke with workers and they blamed competition from international trade. That event changed his mind about free trade. He believes that the social benefits are not great enough to override the economic disadvantages that free trade causes. It benefits, the upper class, large corporations, and those who have received advanced educations, but not the "blue collar" workers. Those who have not received extensive schooling and are best served to do manual labor suffer greatly from foreign competition. Businesses can have plants in other countries where workers are paid as little as fifty cents, while plants in America are required to pay workers several dollars minimum. Many industries are building plants in foreign countries, manufacturing their goods there, and shipping them back. As we have increased globalization and extended trading with the reduction of tariffs, the implementation of NAFTA, and the organization of the WTO, it has become easier for business to hire workers in countries with lower wages. This has caused many manufacturing workers across America to loose their jobs. Over the past several decades, as free trade increased, the gap between the affluent and the middle class has risen dramatically. Buchanan believes that free trade is brining the decline of America, and our government is doing it to our own nation. They are increasing foreign relations and trading in an effort to bring about world peace. However, Buchanan does not believe that free trade will aid in world peace. He believes that the ideal for free trade, where each country specifies in the industry it is best in, can never be obtained.
The view that Buchanan has is very pessimistic. We are obviously headed towards the path of globalization and that will not go away, as we are increasing technology and allowing people all over the world to communicate with great ease.