Essay about Has the North American Free Trade Agreement Hurt the American Economy?

Essay about Has the North American Free Trade Agreement Hurt the American Economy?

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In summarizing theses two opposing views on this issue, it will be difficult if not impossible to keep my blue-collar sensibilities from coloring my views on this contentious debate. That being said, I feel that whatever damages that may have occurred to the U.S. economy primarily in the manufacturing segment due to NAFTA have been largely overshadowed by more recent and more serious threats from other quarters, namely from China’s export fueled economic ‘miracle’ as well as other causes.
Robert E. Scott, arguing for the prosecution of NAFTA contends that “the most visible negative impact of NAFTA to be increased trade deficits and job losses” (Bethel University, 2006, p.290). Capitalism produces winners and losers and I believe that some segments of American manufacturing came out as the losers as a result from NAFTA. Case in point, before NAFTA, there was several thriving textile and clothing manufacturers in operation in this region of Northwest Tennessee which have subsequently vanished. And as manufacturing disappeared here and other areas around the country the only available employment opportunities left for many displaced workers was in the service sector (Bethel University, 2006). As more and more workers were chasing fewer and fewer service sector jobs the result was to depress wages across the board (Bethel University, 2006). NAFTA has also given employers a readymade and powerful weapon to add to their already formidable arsenal in their war to crush organized labor in the form of holding threats of relocating plants and outsourcing jobs over the heads of workers either in their attempts to organize or in negotiations over union contracts (Bethel University, 2006). Another threat to the U.S. manufacturin...


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...ding the dramatic increase in exports to the U.S. from China and also technological advances that increase productivity (Bethel University, 2006). In fact, economist John Kenneth Krantz asserts that “If productivity continues to increase through technological advances, it is conceivable that only 2 percent of total employment will be needed to manufacture everything society needs in the future” (2010). Should this happen, the whole NAFTA debate would have become purely academic.



References
Bethel University. (2006). Business, government & the international economy. Boston: McGraw
Hill.
Krantz, J. (2010). A race to the bottom. Monthly Labor Review, 133(12), 42-43. Retrieved from
EBSCOhost.
Picht, J. (2010, August 14). Casualties of Mexico’s drug war. Washington Times. Retrieved from
http://communities.washingtontimes.com

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