What they are saying about free trade and globalization

By The Social Contract
Volume 22, Number 4 (Summer 2012)
Issue theme: "Free Trade - exporting jobs, importing workers and refugees"

“The great, unreported story in globalization is about power, not ideology. It’s about how finance and business regularly, continuously insert their own self-interested deals and exceptions into rules and agreements that are then announced to the public as ‘free trade.’”

—William Greider, author, Secrets of the Temple

“Some people foolishly call our relationship with China ‘free trade.’ But there is nothing free or fair about it—we are in a trade war between a militantly protectionist communist government and a U.S. shackled by obsolete illusions about trade.”

—Phyllis Schlafly, columnist and conservative political activist


“To hear the Japanese plead for free trade is like hearing the word love on the lips of a harlot.”

—Lane Kirkland (1922-1999), President, AFL-CIO


“Transferring our sovereignty and decision-making power to the WTO [World Trade Organization], to the United Nations, or any other international body is not in the long-term interests of our people.”

—Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)


“Millions of manufacturing jobs in this country have been shipped overseas. This transfer was supposed to be part of the ‘win-win’ process of free trade. But 27 straight years of growing trade deficits makes one wonder: who’s winning?”

—Ralph Nader, political activist; author, Cutting Corporate Welfare

“America’s 20th century economic success was based on two things. Free trade was not one of them.”

—Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration; author, How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds

“The call for free trade is as unavailing as the cry of a spoiled child for the moon. It has never existed; it will never exist.”

—Henry Clay (1777-1852), Secretary of State, 1825-1829


“Old-fashioned comparative advantage in international trade has been swamped by foreign industrial policy. The only way to save our economy is for the U.S. to counter trade with industrial policies designed to correct the defects of free trade.”

—former U.S. Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D-SC), 1966-2005


“In early 2010 it was reported that Detroit, forge and furnace of the Arsenal of Democracy in World War II, was considering razing a fourth of the city and turning it into pastureland. Did that $1.2 trillion trade deficit we ran in autos and auto parts in the Bush decade help to kill Detroit? This is our reward for turning our backs on the economic nationalism of the men who made America, and embracing the free-trade ideology of economics and academics who never made anything.”

—Patrick J. Buchanan, commentator; author, The Great Betrayal