Sir James Goldsmith: Prescience on the impact of Globalization

 

A short entry here.  I ran across this 1994 interview between the late Sir James Goldsmith, an Anglo French financier, and Charlie Rose.  During the early 1990’s, NAFTA and free trade was hotly debated and Goldsmith was against the free trade agreement for many of the reasons that we’ve now encountered as a result today.  Essentially, Goldsmith argued that massive unemployment would be the result and that’s precisely what we’ve got on our hands now.  The interview lasts about an hour and I’ve only included the first two of a total of six segments below.  This man was a wealthy corporate raider mind you, but he tells it like it is and it’s very interesting to listen to his passionate argument against free trade and what he predicts it will do to labor in the US and other nations.   I highly recommend listening to entire series, but these two below will give you a flavor of the entire interview.    The second video includes a debate between Goldsmith and a Clinton administration official defending free trade.  Looking back from the vantage point of today’s wreckage in employment due to free trade, one can see the holes in that official’s arguments promoting it.

 

 

 

  • Black Diaspora

    I fully intend to listen to the whole discussion. It is, as you say, prescient. The Clinton spokesperson insists that the value of GATT, and NAFTA, is that it opens foreign markets to American manufacturers–which at the time were barred, probably with the use of high tariffs, from entering into those markets in a big way.

    According to her argument, to enter foreign markets, American manufacturers were required to produce in those  markets (perhaps losing intellectual property rights, and probably control over R&D), if they hoped to overcome foreign resistance to buying American-made goods.

    How someone could support this kind of free trade, which supposedly falls within some political,  ideological parameter, eludes me.

    According to Goldsmith, “value added” is divided between labor and management, with the percentage of that division being negotiable. With the opening of these new markets, and a 4 billion strong labor pool where workers are willing to work for pennies on the dollar, the pact, and relative strength between labor and management will grow even more tenuous and become even more unbalanced, with labor taking the biggest hit financially. 

    As we’ve seen, as the pay of CEO’s have rocketed, the pay for workers across this nation has taken a nosedive. In addition, as employment has risen in China and other emerging countries, it has shrunk here.

    I walked around my house to confirm what I already knew–many of the items that I had purchased, without checking the labels or the stamps indicating where they were made, were made offshore, and were brought here to be sold.

    An overwhelming number of the items were made in China. I found one made in Brazil, and some canisters made in New Zealand. 

    Jokingly, I have said, my house speaks only two languages, Mandarin and Cantonese. Perhaps yours do, too? I’m sure that my house is not the exception.

    Our workers can’t competed with virtual slave labor. As foreign markets grow, corporations won’t have to depend so heavily on the American consumer’s financial health to keep themselves in the pink–another reason these corporations can take their production elsewhere.

    • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

      >>How someone could support this kind of free trade, which supposedly
      falls within some political,  ideological parameter, eludes me.<<<

      It's revealing sometimes to look  back on something like this within today's context.   Where we're at today is the result of a long march towards  privatization, outsourcing and the fleecing of the public treasury.   In addition to GATT, the other policies that got us here were supply side economic theory, monetarism and deregulation; the latter two being espoused by Milton Friedman.  All of these represent an assault on the people's tax money, state assets and their jobs.  That's undoubtedly how
      history will ultimately judge these.

      I think the US economy just never recovered from the seventies and as global competitive pressures
      took hold, certain economic interests pushed and pursued these policies
      mainly for their own survival.

      • Black Diaspora

        “I think the US economy just never recovered from the seventies and as global competitive pressures 
        took hold, certain economic interests pushed and pursued these policies mainly for their own survival

        What was the Clinton representative name, Laura Tyson? I’m convince that she knew that Goldsmith had the superior argument, and that her advocating for trade liberation was fraught with danger for our U.S. economy.

        We recently struck a trade deal with South Korea. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/09/afl-cio-south-korea-trade_n_794529.html. AFL-CIO is against it and not without justification. Given how other such trade agreements have gone, this one will prove to be more of the same–a transfer of American jobs offshore.

        Yet, the Obama administration believes as did Tyson, the deal they struck will somehow be good for America and for the American worker. If history is any indication, South Korea will gain and we will lose.

        This my design. It’s hard to read it any other way. If we could trace the money, the design would be as visible as contrails against a blue sky. 

        Come to think of it, the American worker has always struggled to remain viable in a corporate milieu, and to garner the respect of management, who saw him as a necessary evil, rather than the asset that he represented.  Even now some state governments have targeted public workers and the unions that represent them, as the enemy that must be destroyed–that is, have their hard-won power shorn, power obtained as a result of shrewd collective bargaining.

        This country is in decline. Government policies, coporatists, and politicians are hastening this decline with a verve that’s frightening in its scope, and egregiousness. 

        What do they know that we don’t?

        Even more upsetting, is the willingness of some in the public to give their assent to this decline, by subscribing to a political doctrine of free trade, small government, and the deification of corporations. 

        • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

          >>>This my design. It’s hard to read it any other way. If we could trace
          the money, the design would be as visible as contrails against a blue
          sky. <<<

          It most certainly is by design and it's funny how much of this sort of thing comes about very quietly while the things that matter little are debated loudly.  Without question, there's a design that involves getting the public caught up in emotional issues while the real significant stuff goes on in the background largely unknown and undiscussed. This is why I say most of the real news  is buried in plain sight on the back pages and in places where folks normally don't look.

          Thanks for this link on the South Korea trade pact.  As I'm reading though it, I see where the administration is presenting a variation of the same argument that the Clinton administration did claiming this will "create 70,000 US jobs".  As you point out, if history is our guide, nothing could be further from the truth.

          I'm convinced that behind closed doors, the democrats and republicans have reached a consensus on certain things, but you'd never know if because publicly they always seem to be at loggerheads.  The main areas where this consensus has been achieved is on defense spending and overall economic theory. Sure, there might be some variations here and there, but they're not so large as to really make a difference.   In this instance, the republicans are threatening to vote against it because  it includes a provision for retraining workers displaced by trade.  Other than throwing that bit of brine in the wound of workers, they have absolutely no problems with this. 

          This sort of consensus is confirmation that there's a government behind the government and that's illustrated also by your recent post on ALEC.

        • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

          >>This country is in decline. Government policies, coporatists,
          and politicians are hastening this decline with a verve that’s
          frightening in its scope, and egregiousness. 

          What do they know that we don’t?<>Even more upsetting, is the willingness of some in the public to give
          their assent to this decline, by subscribing to a political doctrine of
          free trade, small government, and the deification of corporations. <<

          And to not be so obvious with scrambling for the exits, they had to come up with a technique to sell what they've done and are continuing to do.  Most are totally oblivious to how we arrived here and are blaming everyone besides those who got us here.  To make matters worst, they push for even more of the same policies that created the problems.

        • Anonymous

          “This country is in decline”.
          The free trade arguments are pretty old and the effects known. I supported free trade but knew the needed adjustments to make it work weren’t going to happen. We got Ross Perot’s great sucking sound.
          .
          I do think it was unstated policy by Clinton many millions of Americans were going to be throw aways, too old to retrain (yet to young to die). They also had to compete with millions of illegals for poorer grade jobs.
          .
          One of the few things I did agree with Barack Obama on is his statement not everyone had it great during the Clinton years. Many older industries reduced size under Clinton.
          .
          I think Obama is following the same course.
          .
          If a democratic country goes into decline, it is because it’s people are in a moral decline.
          .
          Morality and economics work hand in hand and like gravity, they are forces unto themselves.

  • Black Diaspora

    “In this instance, the republicans are threatening to vote against it because  it includes a provision for retraining workers displaced by trade.”
    Why waste dollars on “retraining workers,” if trade agreements will create jobs? Republicans and Democrats know full well that these trade agreements will destroy American jobs, not create them–hence the “workers retraining provision.”

    It’s a farce. All of it. And both sides are willing to genuflect to those multinational corporations that have a bottom-line interest in the ratification of these trade agreements.  

    I’m going to provide links that delve into this with greater insight and details than I can provide. If you have seen, or heard, the information, pass it up. Scroll down for this one: Trading
    Our Future: Tax Cheating and the Panama Free Trade Agreement (and just in case the link doesn’t come through, here’s one to the page: http://www.dylanratigan.com/)

    Here’s a video clip from MSNBC. Occasionally, we get the real deal–a courageous few who are willing to speak truth to power.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3096434/#43814818

    As you say, there’s a bi-partisan effort to pick the bones of this nation clean. The effort will continue until we’re no longer a first-world powerhouse, but groveling in mud paddies the way the third world has for ages.

    Mind you, I don’t want to stifle the growth of emerging nations. I just don’t want that growth to be at the expense of American workers. It can be a win-win for all. And the only reason it can’t be, will be because of the hubris and greed of multinational corporations. These corporate heads have shown–to those of us whose mind hasn’t been clouded by an ideological fog–that they’re more interested in profits, and earning huge bonuses, than in the welfare of those whose labor made it all possible.  

    • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

      BD,

      Your first link above was dead, but it looks like it was to Ratigan’s site.  Was that a writeup on the Panama Trade Agreement?

      • Black Diaspora

        “BD,

        “Your first link above was dead, but it looks like it was to Ratigan’s site.  Was that a writeup on the Panama Trade Agreement?”
        Yes. The featured story, “Trading Our Future,” is a multi-part story.  Here’s the next segment, Special “Trading Our Future?” Presentation In Collaboration With The Huffington
        Post.  http://www.dylanratigan.com/2011/07/20/trading-our-future/

        Along with a couple of related video clips from his MSNBC, Dylan Ratigan Show, there’s a podcast. The podcast is the entrée , with the accompanying videos providing complementary side dishes. 

        “I’ll do a bit of digging also and will certainly share anything I run across.  A point of research would revolve around who actually benefits from this and how….”

        Please do. Beneficiaries  have been suggested, but, like you, I need to know who specifically stands to benefit from this government largess.

  • http://theafricanamericanclarioncall.com Greg L

    >>>Why waste dollars on “retraining workers,” if trade agreements will
    create jobs? Republicans and Democrats know full well that these trade
    agreements will destroy American jobs, not create them–hence the
    “workers retraining provision.”<<>Mind you, I don’t want to stifle the growth of emerging nations. I just
    don’t want that growth to be at the expense of American workers.<>>As you say, there’s a bi-partisan effort to pick the bones of this
    nation clean. The effort will continue until we’re no longer a
    first-world powerhouse, but groveling in mud paddies the way the third
    world has for ages.<<<

    When it comes to this sort of thing, there's not the slightest difference between the two parties, but  a quiet consensus.  As I've said before, it's not just trade policies that this consensus is held on, but the entire structure of the nation's economic policies including monetary, regulatory and tax policies.  All of these are also integrated into some of our foreign policies as well

    The real significant stuff is always in the nooks and crannies of the press and never in the headlines as far as I can see.  Because it's not, these sort of decisions can be made quietly and before the public knows it, they're out of a job and are told to blame the immigrants for displacing them. 

    Thanks for the link to Dylan Ratigan.  He's one of the few that tells the truth and brings real information.  That trade agreement with Panama is particularly outrageous and the implication is that exists to help the banks access profits from money laundering, which is totally outrageous when you consider that a few of them were just caught doing this last year and got a slap on the hand.  That this sort of thing could receive indirect official sanction is an outrage and is basically criminal if what I suspect is true.

    Trade policies and the economic policies could be very strong issues for people to rally around however as once the impact is understood, people would be highly ticked off, but education is the key because unless you're searching, the information is not in the headlines and is excluded from the public debate, but the impact from this sort of unacknowledged "news" is huge.  The political parties get away with it because almost no one is making this an issue and it's one of the biggest ones out there. 

    I'll do a bit of digging also and will certainly share anything I run across.  A point of research would revolve around who actually benefits from this and how.  There's little question  that the deals have been set up with foreign counterparts already and were ready to go pending final approval of the agreements.  Another avenue of research might be looking at where campaign contributions flowed from those who did benefit.  There's little altruism in government IMO, but a lot of quid pro quo.

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