The issue is Wal-Mart. David Sirota (the big anti-trade boogieman in these debates, and oh boy is he being treated like it by trade's defenders) points out that documentaries like "Wal-Mart: the high cost of low prices" show that low prices for consumers aren't always a good thing. The response, from Jason Furman?
Some people on the left verge on paranoia in blaming trade for absolutely everything that ills us. Now trade is being blamed for the low wages at Wal-Mart.It's not that post that grabbed me, though, but one of the responses:
Huh? Trade has certainly hurt many steel and textile workers, but how are service sector employees at Wal-Mart hurt by trade?
What's particularly depressing about this obsession with trade is not that it's misguided, but that it diverts well-intentioned progressive energy away from issues that could make a much bigger difference for workers at places like Wal-Mart.
Jason, the real point that is illustrated by your last post is that you are not really doing a very good job of stepping back from your point of view long enough to see the other side of the argument.You say Now trade is being blamed for the low wages at Wal-Mart. Huh? Trade has certainly hurt many steel and textile workers, but how are service sector employees at Wal-Mart hurt by trade? and I can't help but wonder if you even thought about it before you typed it.Wal-Mart benefits from being the Lowest Common Denominator for employment, but there is (or should be) a tension between having this role and being so absolutely ubiquitous. The pool of unskilled labour with no other options should have dwindled enough that Wal-Mart's workers would have leverage, and Wal-Mart would have to choose between its rampant expansion and paying higher prices.
The point is that there's an awful lot of workers who now have no other choice than taking a low wage job at Walmart. Walmart has used the power of corporate-centric trade policy and decimated portions of the economy ranging from small mom and pop owned businesses to all manner of US based manufacturering operations which have had no choice but to offshore in order to "compete" (in the rush to the bottom.)
That isn't happening, because that pool is huge and growing. The question is why, and if the "why" is trade, that should be engaged fairly.