Paul Knox, Globe and Mail, on the Quebec City summit.
April 22, 2001 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Paul Knox, Globe and Mail, on the Quebec City summit. "The gestures — the promise to release the draft FTAA negotiating documents and televise part of the summit — were too little and too late to head off protest. One would hardly expect Mr. Chrétien to move the summit elsewhere. But as things stand today, these images of inchoate frustration and visceral repression are the legacy of Quebec City."
posted by tranquileye (4 comments total)
If you’re anti-corporate managed trade regimes read the G&M. If you’re pro-free trade read the NYT.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 4:38 PM on April 22, 2001

Krugman, in the NY Times, writes:
"In 1993, child workers in Bangladesh were found to be producing clothing for Wal-Mart, and Senator Tom Harkin proposed legislation banning imports from countries employing underage workers. The direct result was that Bangladeshi textile factories stopped employing children. But did the children go back to school? Did they return to happy homes? Not according to Oxfam, which found that the displaced child workers ended up in even worse jobs, or on the streets — and that a significant number were forced into prostitution."

The ironic thing is, capt.crackpipe (oh god, that feels odd), that Krugman wouldn't hear of this coming out of the mouth of a conservative. Yes, some of its fairly true. Some places such as the Miss. Delta would've been better off had not agricultural minimum wages been passed that were harder on the South than the North. That said, the region (America's poorest, so it's relevant) would've been better off with work regulations. An outstanding book, if you can find it, which discusses the ideas further is economic historian Charles Cobb's The Most Southern Place on Earth.

Meantime, why should Americans want to encourage or even put up with child labor? Didn't the U.S. come to an agreement as regards the morality of this many decades ago? I realize that one can hold two opposing viewpoints and maybe still be considered intelligent, but acknowledging a complex morality would be better than making people feel guilty about this . . . well, this sort of crap.

This seems a clear case to me of a national elite leadership talking itself into things it wouldn't ordinarily accept in a million years. The best example the medias barely complaining about the secret meeting. Ask even the lowliest county supervisor in the U.S. You have a secret meeting, you get a subpoena, courtesy of your local fish wrapper.
posted by raysmj at 5:09 PM on April 22, 2001

Krugman suffers from a particularly revolting double standard. I can't think right now which school of ethics he’s violating (all of them?), since I suppose he wouldn’t send his kids to a factory, but doesn’t have a problem with somebody else’s doing just that. The US should use its leadership role to help the third world, instead of rewarding bad practices — which is exactly what free trade treaties do.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 5:46 PM on April 22, 2001

Krugman's uneasy relationship with the facts is legendary. See, for example, Krugman Proven wrong, Protesters Right

Regarding Krugman's "better-than-nuthin" argument:

In the long run, the effects of raising standards globally will be the same as raising them domestically: an increase in the share of income awarded to labor relative to capital (hence, a reversal of current trends). This process is called "redistribution of wealth" -- and although some rich people obviously don't like it, it is unquestionably good for the poor. (The same reasoning supports the idea of a domestic minimum wage.)
posted by johnb at 5:51 PM on April 22, 2001

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