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Judy G. Russell
February 2nd, 2006, 08:36 PM
Okay... educate me... what are the pros and cons as to free trade agreements? I heard today we're about to enter negotiations with South Korea for another free trade agreement, and it occurs to me that I really don't understand how they work and what the benefits are.

ndebord
February 3rd, 2006, 11:26 AM
Okay... educate me... what are the pros and cons as to free trade agreements? I heard today we're about to enter negotiations with South Korea for another free trade agreement, and it occurs to me that I really don't understand how they work and what the benefits are.

Judy,

In short, they don't work well anymore. The crux of their argument is that the market will balance out supply and demand so long as you don't allow tariffs of any kind. Nobody, not even the Free Trade True Believers (most of whom reside in the U.S. of A.) adhere strictly to this dictum.

Free Traders are almost an anachronism at this point in time. Mercantilism, by whatever fancy name they call it these days, is once again on the rise. As GWB has squandered our wealth and our lives, he has also squandered our preeminence in monetary policy. All the creditor nations are hedging their bets against the U.S. dollar with investment in other curriences, especially the Euro and it is only a matter of time before the 3 big players, Japan, China and Saudia Arabia pull back from supporting our currency.

As we increasingly pursue unilateral foreign policy initiatives, on the trade front we are also repulsed as more and more nations say if we are not interested in multi-lateral agreements in foreign policy, why should they do it differently on the trade side? China and India have supplanted us in SE Asia (S. Korea aside). The EU has rebuffed us on many issues. Russia, despite economic weakness is going its own way under a new Czar, Putin.

Because of the fiasco with the World Bank in the mini-collapses a decade ago, many other countries have vowed never again to let the U.S. dominate their banking and investment policies.

In our own hemisphere, the Argentine fiasco put paid to our idea of an extended NAFTA with only Chile coming down on our side there.

Regional trading blocs are the future with only the Free Trade dinosaurs in our own Republican party paying heed to this old time religion. But then, they don't need to worry about the future, I guess, as a lot of them probably think the Rapture is coming "any day now."

Now, let someone with macro and micro economic expertise explain this better and point out the errors in my thinking. I'm historically inclined, not really a numbers guy in my training.

Judy G. Russell
February 3rd, 2006, 03:23 PM
I hear you, but I'd like something a little more basic: what's the theory?

Lindsey
February 3rd, 2006, 05:49 PM
I hear you, but I'd like something a little more basic: what's the theory?
You may want to check out the Wikipedia article on "the Free Trade Controversy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_trade_controversy)," which lays out both pro and con arguments. But you might want to skip over most of that article's "Economic argument for free trade" section, as I found it completely incomprehensible once they started into the graphs -- and I know how much you like math. ;) Besides, you can get the jist of what they are arguing in that section's overview paragraphs.

There's also a Wikipedia article on the general topic of free trade (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_trade), but it's tagged with a note saying "This article may be confusing for some readers, and should be edited to be clearer."

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! You are entering Alan Greenspan territory...

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
February 3rd, 2006, 07:46 PM
Excellent. Just what I was looking for, thanks.

Lindsey
February 3rd, 2006, 11:43 PM
Excellent. Just what I was looking for, thanks.
Wikipedia does have its uses, even if it sometimes ends up a partisan battleground.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
February 4th, 2006, 09:15 AM
Yeah, I was reading in the Washington Post today about the way Wikipedia had to shut down access by the House servers because of "edits" by House staffers.

Lindsey
February 4th, 2006, 10:14 PM
Yeah, I was reading in the Washington Post today about the way Wikipedia had to shut down access by the House servers because of "edits" by House staffers.
No kidding? Wow, I hadn't heard that. But I can't say that it surprises me. Propaganda is Job One for those guys.

--Lindsey

ndebord
February 4th, 2006, 11:54 PM
Excellent. Just what I was looking for, thanks.

Judy,

So? What do you think of Wikipedia? And Free Trade? (When you're ready to talk after your research that is.)

<g>

Judy G. Russell
February 5th, 2006, 10:39 PM
I think Wikipedia generally tries to give a relatively balanced view of things. As for free trade, I need more time to think about this.

Judy G. Russell
February 5th, 2006, 10:40 PM
Yeah, according to the Washington Post, too many staffers were editing out anything negative about their bosses and editing in too many "best thing since sliced bread" type comments. And some were editing in negative things about other people's bosses!

ktinkel
February 6th, 2006, 08:34 AM
too many staffers were editing out anything negative about their bosses and editing in too many "best thing since sliced bread" type comments.There is a lot of editing going on, it seems. Ex-Mass. gov William Weld is running for governor of New York now.

He quoted news articles on his campaign web site that were altered to delete any unfavorable comments, and got caught. It would be amusing if it did not reflect such an incredible lack of ethics.

Here is a report on the debacle (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/04/AR2006020400621.html) from the Washington Post.

Judy G. Russell
February 6th, 2006, 11:12 AM
Oh for heaven's sake... that's just plain stupid. It's one thing to think you might be able to get away with altering an entry in Wikipedia, where the whole notion is open editing. It's another thing to think you can amend a published article when you put it on your own website!

ktinkel
February 6th, 2006, 11:36 AM
... that's just plain stupid.At least!

And very offensive to the reporters whose bylines were retained on those articles, appearing to express a view they did not express. (Not to mention the newspapers.)

Judy G. Russell
February 6th, 2006, 01:25 PM
It's not nice to fool with Mother Media...

Lindsey
February 6th, 2006, 06:56 PM
It's not nice to fool with Mother Media...
Especially when so many people seem to have access to the LexisNexis database these days...

--Lindsey

ktinkel
February 6th, 2006, 07:32 PM
It's not nice to fool with Mother Media...Well, that is one issue. As a writer (often compelled to give up all rights to Mother Media), it is doubly insulting to have your words turned against you.

A writer may sell all rights (reluctantly) but not be willing to look like a total toady, if you know what I mean!

Judy G. Russell
February 6th, 2006, 10:44 PM
Yep. I mean, geez. If you're going to pull something like that, you should at least give a little bit of thought to not getting caught!

Judy G. Russell
February 6th, 2006, 10:45 PM
What I meant, generally, was that going up against people who make their living with the written word is really dumb. (a) They won't like it. (b) They have the power to make sure everybody knows they don't like it...

Lindsey
February 6th, 2006, 11:04 PM
What I meant, generally, was that going up against people who make their living with the written word is really dumb. (a) They won't like it. (b) They have the power to make sure everybody knows they don't like it...
This is a very good point...

--Lindsey

rlohmann
February 10th, 2006, 06:25 PM
IIRC, the "editing" that generated the commotion was an effort by Senator Biden's staff to make him look better by minimizing his "truthiness." :-> I note in this context that the Wikipedia article on him does not mention his having cheated his way through law school.

Propaganda is indeed Job One for those guys. A note at the Head of the Wikipedia entry for Teddy Kennedy indicates that it has been closed to anonymous editors because of "recent vandalism." (Since the article does not gloss over Chappaquiddick, I infer that the "vandalism" was in the interest of the Demorats' continuing efforts to slide over it and/or insist that it never happened.)

Lindsey
February 10th, 2006, 07:18 PM
IIRC, the "editing" that generated the commotion was an effort by Senator Biden's staff
I'm not sure where you got that impression; there was a very wide range of articles that have been affected by POV pushing and vandalism in the form of libelous statements. See the discussion here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Requests_for_comment/United_States_Congress) if you want the details. There have been bad faith edits coming from staffers on both sides, but whichever side it comes from, it's propaganda and it's toxic to a democratic republic. As far as I'm concerned, the people who engaged in it should all be fired. (Some of them, apparently, were pages, which may explain the juvenile nature of some of the activity. But is nobody supervising these kids?)

I didn't see Sen. Kennedy's name mentioned in any of the lists of bad-faith edits by Congressional staffers, but the discussion page did say the list was only partial. Looking at the discussion page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Ted_Kennedy) of the Wiki article on Ted Kennedy, though, my impression is that the vandalism was not from Congressional staffers of either party, but from the outside, and that your inference was wrong: it was vandalism by rabid anti-Kennedy fanatics, not people trying to whitewash the record.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
February 11th, 2006, 09:59 AM
I have no idea where you're getting your information, but the Wikipedia shutdown was caused by House staffers, not by anyone on the Senate side (although it certainly has been reported by Senate staffers) and by folks from BOTH side of the aisle.

rlohmann
February 16th, 2006, 11:02 AM
I'm not sure where you got that impression; http://http://tinyurl.com/ayqcm

Lindsey
February 16th, 2006, 11:49 PM
And where in that article does it say that edits to the article on Joe Biden were the moving force behind blocking access from Capitol Hill servers? It mentions edits that were made to articles about lots of senators, and they come from both sides of the aisle.

--Lindsey