Recently, a poster on my favorite antidote to writer's block, the Second City Cop blog, wrote a gushing endorsement of Vietnam's recent acceptance of a "free trade" agreement with the US. The fact that these neo-liberal "globalization" schemes have left utter devastation in their wake wherever they have been imposed is clearly beyond the awareness of this anonymous poster, which no doubt generalizes to a large portion of the American public.
What a wonderful opportunity this is to introduce to you a very important contributor to this debate! Noam Chomsky has been writing, virtually non-stop, on American foreign and domestic policy for 40 years--all while (simultaneously) forging groundbreaking discoveries in the field of linguistics. As perhaps America's foremost dissident, Chomsky has suffered the slings and arrows that befalls anyone who walks against the flow of the stampeding herd. A virtual icon in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, much of Chomsky's work is studiously ignored (or vilified) in the country of his birth. As the author of over 80 books and thousands of articles and essays which have appeared in many of the leading academic journals and publications of popular opinion, Chomsky is listed in the Arts & Humanities Index as number 7 behind a short list that includes Freud, Marx, and Jesus, as the most cited intellectuals alive (or dead).
It would behoove you to read carefully Chomsky's analysis of the "free trade" phenomenon, then in its infancy when he wrote this essay back in 1993. The subject of his attention was the North American Free Trade Agreement which at the time had been ravishing the Mexican economy for nearly a year. By the following year, the Mexican economy had completely collapsed and led directly to the spectacle of millions of Mexicans flowing north of the Rio Grande in order to survive. The strictures of NAFTA virtually de-populated the countryside as the local oligarchy transformed their land holdings to agro-export crops better suited to the American market and not for local consumption. Millions faced starvation. Naturally, worker protections evaporated overnight as the NAFTA treaties virtually outlawed unions.
Most Americans are only dimly aware of what Chomsky details in his essay, Notes of NAFTA: The Masters of Man. It's time for that to change, most critically because if Team Bush and its principal supporters amongst the owners of our society have their way, we will all get a taste of what has befallen Mexico, Argentina, Haiti, (soon Vietnam) and a host of other nations that have accepted (with little public input) neo-liberalism's chilly embrace.
In a related speech from 1997, Chomsky sketches a broader outline of the neo-liberal agenda, what it ultimately holds in store for this country, and how it relates to the so-called free-trade agreements. The speech was titled, Market Democracy in a Neo-Liberal Order: Doctrines and Reality, and is perhaps the best summation of the so-called globalization phenomenon that I have yet to encounter. Think of it the next time a frothing neo-con extols the virtues of "globalization".
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