Sunday, March 12, 2017

NAFTA's Legacy: Who Won, Who Lost?!

"The North American Free Trade Agreement was a 1994 accord between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that lifted tariffs on most products moving between the three nations. It was the first trade agreement to include protections for intellectual property. NAFTA had bipartisan backing, having been negotiated by a Republican president — George H.W. Bush — and signed by his Democratic successor, Bill Clinton, after passing the Senate 61-38...."

..."Supporters say the agreement has helped employ 14 million Americans in fields such as retail, finance, and agriculture, and provided cheaper goods to U.S. consumers. About 5 million American jobs are directly tied to trade with Mexico, and 9 million are tied to trade with Canada .... (while) nearly 700,000 U.S. workers lost good jobs as a result, mostly in manufacturing; those who kept their jobs saw wages flatline, at least partly because of Mexican competition....
But economists say that NAFTA alone didn't cause their pain, citing the rise of China as an economic powerhouse, the 2008 financial collapse, and — above all, perhaps — automation and new technology that rendered many 20th-century jobs obsolete."

"Most economists agree NAFTA could use updating; one popular proposal is to require Mexico to increase wages, labor standards, and environmental rules, which would lessen the advantages of outsourcing. But most economists do not believe that changing NAFTA — or scrapping it — will usher in a Rust Belt renaissance. Far more jobs have been automated than outsourced. Most of the jobs that disappeared over the past decades can never exist again. Period."

How It's Made episodes:

My Comment: The progress of technology is further advancing the "industrial revolution". Worldwide, people as hands-on assemblage manufacturing workers, will continue to play a diminished role as they are replaced by machines. Note, however, there is a shortage of skilled laborers  overall.