…so nafta, 20 years (and a tad) after…

…Ross Perot, cleverly ridiculed, had it right. Well, almost right. And that ‘almost’ is very significant – that ‘giant sucking sound’ was of jobs leaving not just the US but also Mexico, since the passage of Nafta on 1 Jan 1994. But no bother, business is good for those who planned it that way – snakes and ladders, all snakes for the unwashed and all ladders for the exceptionals…

We highlight two articles. One is from Mark Weisbrot of CEPR with NAFTA: 20 Years of Regret for Mexico Mexico’s economic growth stalled since the ‘free trade’ deal was signed with the US, and its poverty rate is about the same.

Again, if we remember Ross Perot’s statement about jobs and other nice things flowing, cue the mariachi band, South of the Border Down Mexico Way, we discover from Weisbrot this little nugget of truth,

But what about Mexico? Didn’t Mexico at least benefit from the agreement? Well if we look at the past 20 years, it’s not a pretty picture. The most basic measure of economic progress, especially for a developing country like Mexico, is the growth of income (or GDP) per person. Out of 20 Latin American countries (South and Central America plus Mexico), Mexico ranks 18, with growth of less than 1% annually since 1994. It is, of course, possible to argue that Mexico would have done even worse without NAFTA, but then the question would be, why?

In late November 2013 Dean Baker, also of CEPR, had taken a look at the wages aspect of Nafta. So, then, what wondrous benefits from this agreement among Canada, the US and Mexico!

Over at Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! another expert looks at similar numbers in the episode,  NAFTA at 20: Lori Wallach on U.S. Job Losses, Record Income Inequality, Mass Displacement in Mexico, which is summarised in Goodman’s lead paragraph that introduces the interview,

The North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada went into effect 20 years ago this week on January 1, 1994. The massive trade pact was signed into law by President Bill Clinton amidst great promise that it would raise wages, create jobs and even improve health and environmental safety standards. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs have vanished as companies sought lower-wage workers in Mexico. Meanwhile, NAFTA has generated more poverty in Mexico, forcing millions of citizens to migrate to the United States in search of work. We speak to Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and author of the new report, “NAFTA at 20.”

Clearly, the ‘mistakes have been made’ mantra does little to undo the severe damage done to lives and livelihoods. And any question of how politicians and corporations have fared would seem redundant. Then, again, those benefits to workers on both sides of the border will soon start to flow with the signing of the critical and secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which was, really, really, the missing link for sustained employment and happiness? The prerequisite for gaining such goodies? Confident gullibility, just this one more time – till next time.

…ignorance is bliss — only for those who profit from it…