Submitted by: Donald Hank
A few comments are in order for those who may think that "free" trade agreements are at least good for the Third World:
I am following "free" trade agreement stories on Japanese TV and in the newspapers in Panama.
Over a year ago, Panama signed a free trade agreement with the EU and within a few days, fish and seafood prices doubled.
At the same time, new legislation was introduced to ban trotline fishing. Now trotline fishing is lower-yield than trawling. Yet the laws are designed to support ONLY the rich big business fishermen. Another aspect of this agreement was that Panamanian fishermen were told they could only fish in certain areas. That edict came directly from the EU. It was part of the FTA.
Last month, around the time of the FTA with the US, food prices rose by over 7%.
The only people benefitting from the FTA here are, again, the biggest agri-businesses who can afford to cut through the red tape enough to trade with Big Brother from the north.
Now, as for Japan, I have been seeing large demonstrations of ag coops:
They will clearly be hurt once the subsidies stop and cheap rice comes in under the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).
How the U.S. Will Become a 3rd World Country (Part 1)
by Ron Hera
Unemployment and Lack of Economic Opportunity
Unemployment, which is a deep, structural problem in the U.S., is a fundamental challenge to economic opportunity. The U.S. labor market is in a long-term downward trend linked to globalization, i.e., offshoring of manufacturing, outsourcing of jobs and deindustrialization.
The U.S. workforce has declined by approximately 6.5% since its year 2000 peak to roughly 58.2% of working age adults and the U.S. now suffers chronic unemployment of 9.1%. Although the workforce grew in the 1980s and 1990s, as dual income families became the norm, the size of the workforce is shrinking due to a lack of economic opportunity.
Officially, long-term unemployment is 16.5% and the ranks of the long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) include 5.9 million, 42.4% of those unemployed. However, prior to the Clinton administration, unemployment measures included workers who are now no longer counted as part of the workforce. Using the more accurate pre-Clinton criteria, unemployment exceeds 22%, only 3% below the worst point (24.9%) of the Great Depression. For countries with populations greater than 2 million, Macedonia leads the world with 33.8% unemployment, followed by Armenia at 28.6%, Algeria at 27.3% and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip both at 25.7%.
Compounding the unemployment problem is the fact that an entire generation of young Americans is being left behind in terms of economic opportunity. Student loans exceed $1 trillion while the labor force participation rate for those aged 16 to 29 who are working or looking for work fell to 48.8% in 2011, the lowest level ever recorded. Lack of economic opportunity among the youth, including millions of unemployed college graduates, is a political wildcard reminiscent of countries like Tunisia.
The structural decline of the U.S. labor market will continue as American workers are merged into a global labor pool in which they cannot yet directly compete for jobs with workers in countries like China and India. In China, for example, gross pay, in terms of purchasing power parity, is equivalent to approximately $514 per month, 57% below the U.S. poverty line. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. trade deficit with China alone caused a loss of 2.8 million U.S. jobs since 2001.
Government Is Living In A State Of Denial - They Speak, See & Hear Nothing Of A Debt Crisis
by Martin Armstrong