Monday, June 20, 2005


Lie of the Day

... [B]y generating economic growth, CAFTA [Central American Free Trade Agreement] will do more for workers in Central America and the Dominican Republic than any law or regulation could achieve. That is because worker rights are more likely to be strengthened when demand for labor is strong, thereby giving workers bargaining power.
—"proponents of CAFTA" according to Krissah Williams and Paul Blustein on the front page of today's Washington Post

I won't debate whether CAFTA might generate economic growth for capitalists eager to come into the region. Let's assume that it would. And that it would likely increase the demand for labor. But would it produce a "strong" demand for labor? Most certainly not.

It is only under the condition of "strong" demand for labor—i.e., where the economy is approaching full employment—that the workers' position is strengthened. Long before that would be allowed to happen, the capitalists would move out of the region.

If you're unsure of this, think for a moment about the plight of the workers in the United States, whose capitalists have continued to be the sole beneficiaries of strong economic growth throughout the term of the Bush administration as the power of labor has steadily ebbed.

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