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NAFTA failing in Mexico, hurting poor: lecturer (BARF Alert)
The Gateway (Univ Alberta Campus Paper) ^ | Nov 8, 2005 | Andrew Grahn

Posted on 11/14/2005 7:56:26 PM PST by proud_yank

Despite the high expectations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to improve the lives of Mexico’s poor, inadequate government preparation for free trade has not resulted in the promised rewards of an open market, it was argued in a lecture on campus last week.

As part of the Department of Political Science’s ongoing “Our North America Speakers Series,” John Scott from Mexico City’s Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, and Jay Johnson, a political science PhD student, gave a well-received talk Thursday afternoon on NAFTA and its effects in Mexico.

Essentially, argued Scott, the benefits of free trade have not reached the poorest members of the Mexican economy due to a lack of investment in education and other social services, which would have allowed a more equitable access to the job market.

“The obstacles to equitable development have not been the opening of markets under NAFTA, but rather failures of policies to equip the population, to allow the population to compete effectively in the international market,” he said.

To demonstrate this lack of investment, Scott pointed to university access, explaining that higher education remains far out of reach for many Mexicans.

“If you are born in Mexico in the lowest 20 per cent ... the probability that you will make it to university is practically zero,” he said.

According to Johnson, the result of this failure in preparing the population for NAFTA is seen in a massive urbanization movement, and in the subsequent growth of a huge underground economy. The informal nature of this underground economy has meant that employers and employees remain outside of state regulations and protections such as minimum wage and working standards.

“By operating outside of global regulation and protection, these informal workers ... remain vulnerable to exploitation, harassment and manipulation,” he explained.

Yet, according to Johnson, with three out of four new jobs being created by the underground economy, and an estimated 62 per cent of the economically active population based there, the Mexican government has been hesitant to address the issue, seeing the underground economy as a necessary function of the state.

“Pervasive underemployment is preferable to the political instability created by omnipresent unemployment,” explained Johnson.

However, the present imbalances between the formal and underground economies is unsustainable, said Johnson, and is leading to a social and fiscal crisis.

There is still time to address these issues, he said, noting that the government must take a more active role in preparing its citizens to more effectively participate in the economy.

“The state needs to refocus on strengthening the educational and social services that allow people to advance themselves, rather than forcing them at an early age to have to go into informality to address poverty,” said Johnson.

While Scott agreed with this in principle, he warned that the necessary reforms will take time, cautioning that investing in education and social services today will not yield results for 20 to 30 years. Still, he remained positive that the Mexican government had the ability to address these issues and prosper in the post-NAFTA economy.

“These are all things which can be resolved by policy,” he concluded.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Mexico
KEYWORDS: freetrade; globalsocialism; mexico; nafta; poor; socialism; worldgovt
“The state needs to refocus on strengthening the educational and social services that allow people to advance themselves, rather than forcing them at an early age to have to go into informality to address poverty,” said Johnson.

“These are all things which can be resolved by policy,” he concluded.

These are things that can be solved by GETTING RID of STUPID policies, i.e. SOCIALIST policies! Yet he still yammers on about how more govt is needed to fix stupidity. Typical Liberal.

Anyone have the #'s on how much Mexico's economy grew under NAFTA? I would imagine that NAFTA gave Mexico enough growth that if they abandoned their local anti-growth policies, black markets would cease to exist, and their problems would be drastically decreased.

1 posted on 11/14/2005 7:56:29 PM PST by proud_yank
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To: proud_yank

2 points
1- liberalism is a very dangerous virus.
2- countries that trade are rich.
countries that don't trade are poor.


2 posted on 11/14/2005 8:17:59 PM PST by genghis
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To: proud_yank

NAFTA was a bad idea. The GATT was even worse.


3 posted on 11/14/2005 8:18:38 PM PST by Nachum
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To: genghis

Liberal and socialist policies are like any addiction or a VD's contractable from any attractive whore. Easy to catch, next to impossible to get rid of. They should be avoided like the plague. If only people would think with their brain once in a while...


4 posted on 11/14/2005 8:24:04 PM PST by proud_yank (Socialism is economic oppression)
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To: Nachum

Why do you feel NAFTA was bad? (I'm not asking rhetorically or to spur a debate, just curious)


5 posted on 11/14/2005 8:25:13 PM PST by proud_yank (Socialism is economic oppression)
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To: proud_yank
Not trying to be argumentative but I felt that NAFTA was poorly crafted. There were various parts of the bill concerning non-reciprical lowering of tariffs, non-monitoring of foreign truck safety and border inspection of loads that I found dangerous. I also feel that NAFTA is a sleazy attack on US sovereignty as well. Many of the proponants are open advocates of open borders; hence the reticence on the Bush administration to do anything about illegal immigration.

The way we ran pell mell into lowering our tariffs caused great havoc in certain industries like agribusiness and the garment industry. Finally, we allowed large protions of our manufacturing base to close US operations and open accross the border in huge numbers. Personally, I feel it negatively affected middleclass wages (despite some of the rosy forcasts). My wife is a designer of womens clothing and there are no more garment factories in Los Angeles. They have all been driven out of the country and have not returned. This story includes the GATT as well, but you only asked about NAFTA.

6 posted on 11/14/2005 8:41:28 PM PST by Nachum
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To: proud_yank

Free trade has been very damaging to the American working and middle class. Our trade policies under Bush and Clinton have basically amounted to economic treason. Americans are being sold the river by their leaders.


7 posted on 11/14/2005 8:44:49 PM PST by RightDemocrat
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To: Nachum

Thanks for the info! I live in Canada now, hear a lot about the softwood lumber debate (tariffs and subsidies disputes) as well as 'mad cow' beef trade . Might be one you'd enjoy reading about.


8 posted on 11/14/2005 8:46:56 PM PST by proud_yank (Socialism is economic oppression)
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To: proud_yank
There is still time to address these issues, he said, noting that the government must take a more active role in preparing its citizens to more effectively participate in the economy.

“The state needs to refocus on strengthening the educational and social services that allow people to advance themselves, rather than forcing them at an early age to have to go into informality to address poverty,” said Johnson.

proud_yank wrote: "These are things that can be solved by GETTING RID of STUPID policies, i.e. SOCIALIST policies! Yet he still yammers on about how more govt is needed to fix stupidity. Typical Liberal."

Willie Green's comment: Bush Unveils Initiative to Double Job Training.

I agree, let's get rid of stupid, liberal policies... let's get rid of NAFTA.

9 posted on 11/14/2005 9:08:48 PM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: proud_yank

One could simply just look at the rise in illegal immigration to the US from Mexico. If there was a large increase in jobs for Mexicans they would tend to stay there.

On a side note. Does anyone know if the people we catch entering the country illegally is factored into our crime rates?



10 posted on 11/14/2005 10:16:10 PM PST by Libertas3188
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