"Free Trade not Free in Free World"
Published 01 December 2005
(word count: 750)
In early November, President Bush failed to win agreement from leaders of five South American countries on his pitch for a hemisphere-wide misnomered "free trade" accord. The idea of people trading things they don't want for things they do want was apparently so unpopular that demonstrators "had a cow," smashing windows, torching a US flag and stoning cops in Argentina, where the trade summit took place.
Since trade is an excruciatingly complicated topic for most people, this tract, which can be folded into a pamphlet and handed out at Libertarian Party outreach booths, will attempt to clarify the concept.
Five areas will be briefly discussed.
The first recorded instance of a "trade" in the newly formed country called These United States occurred three seconds after final ratification of the nation's Constitution. Twelve-year-old Jonathan Hancock III of Beacon Hill, Boston, Mass, suckered his cousin, Benjamin Lake Champlain, by swapping three Delaware Blue Hen Regimental Regulars, a Roger's Rangers French & Indian War veteran, and a Connecticut Provincial second-string Militiaman for Marquis de Lafayette's rookie card. Since this trade was consensual, voluntary, and completely unsupervised, it is an excellent textbook example of a "trade."
A free trade is really the same as a trade, except that the adjective "free" is required in today's These United States to distinguish it from other, politicized forms of trade. A free trade occurs when, for example, a farmer decides to "have a cow" and gives two sheep in exchange for one. This type of trade, as we shall see, is no longer legal anywhere in the so-called free world.
Fair trade is a difficult concept because it involves something called "Social Justice." Since "social," which refers to "society," and "justice," which refers to "fairness," are both ideologically subjective and amorphous concepts, "Social Justice" is a concept of a concept. "Fair Trade" is better understood as "Politically Correct Trade," and works as follows:
A cup of coffee with sugar and cream is a "fair trade" commodity only if:
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The coffee beans are shade-grown, organically fertilized, and handpicked by cheerful unionized peasants chanting "Workers of the world unite" while liberal guilt-addled American Peace Corps rich kids lecture them about sustainable development, social responsibility, and the proper way to use a condom.
Sugar, beets or cane, must be one hundred percent frankenfood-free, co-op grown without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and hand harvested by highly paid union "associates" during a thirty-two hour workweek who meet all minority and gender diversity requirements.
Cream (requires "having a cow") used in coffee must be all-natural, unprocessed, non-pasteurized, non-homogenized, and produced only on people's cooperative dairy communes. All bovine members of the udder sisterhood must be free-range grazers properly diapered against methane gas environment-endangering discharges. And of course the bovines may be milked only by virgins with soft, tender fingers while crooning soothing lullabies into the ears of the noble beasts.
Cows produce milk. Sheep produce wool. Hybrid sheep-cows produce wooly bully. These creature-goods may become ingredients used in products that might conceivably be shipped across state lines, meaning that they are subject to the regulations of the Constitution's Commerce Clause. Don't bother to read it. What counts is today's warped, politically self-serving interpretation of the Commerce Clause.
Additionally, all livestock must be branded and ear-clipped and RFID-embedded and AKC-style registered so they can be tracked for mad cow or mad pig or mad sheep or bonkers goat diseases, and tested for chicken flu and duck flu and goose flu and cuckoo flew and chimney flue.
Trade under contemporary Interstate Commerce Clause laws is designed to keep lawyers' cowhide billfolds from running empty.
International Trade Agreements
International trade is an oxymoron – nations don't trade, people trade. But don't tell politicians that. All trade in today's world must be managed trade to guarantee that the managers (thousands of international politicians, bureaucrats, agencycrats, regulators, civil servants, get their cut of the skimmed cream from trade activities. Otherwise they might be forced to get productive jobs, which would not be a "fair trade" for the protection racket that currently supports them and their families.
Now that you've learned about the basics of trade in the modern world, you might wish to investigate something called "the illegal black market," which libertarians refer to as "the free market." For reference, see "Trade" above.
Just don't let window-smashing, flag-burning, rock-throwing Argentineans cow you down.
- by Garry Reed