Free Trade does not lead to Democratization

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posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 12:48 AM
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Over the last several decades, opening up free trade between various countries has been pushed through over the objections of reluctant public opinion in the idea that economic liberalization leads to greater political liberalization. The idea that people having choice with their economic purchases will create a mindset where they demand the same open market for political ideas was popularly expressed throughout the west, but the evidence of its success is mixed at best.

Specifically, China has shown (as has Russia to a lesser extent), that the sort of free trade policies adopted throughout the western world voluntarily and through much of the poorer world at the coercion of international finance, do not have the affect of creating political openness.

In fact, a compelling case could be made that the wealth generated by free trade actually increased wealth in that particular country in such a way that it created an opening for political stabilization. Rising autocracies throughout the world have shown competent economic management can be sufficient to stabilize political unrest, and so they adopt free trade policies while embracing political systems antithetical to their democratic trading partners.

While history will tell the final story, I personally believe that should the dominance of democracies fall to the rising autocratic powers in the next century, historians will point to the free trade policies that devastated local manufacturing in the U.S., Europe, and other areas, transferring not just wealth but key infrastructure abroad to regimes with markedly different ideologies, as the critical source of funding for their growth and the key source for autocratic stability. Having cheap goods of questionable quality in many cases at the price of having national self-sufficiency is a dangerous bargain to make, especially should conflict arise in the future.

But not knowing the future, I'd ask two questions to push this thread forward:

1) Do you believe free trade leads to democratization?

2) Do you think the political benefits of free trade from democracies to autocracies outweighs the liabilities?




posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 01:12 AM
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1) Do you believe free trade leads to democratization? I believe it is one factor pushing towards political liberalization. Cell phones, blue jeans, rock music, and Hollywood movies flowing freely around the world will have some effect. It's not enough on its own, however, and a determined government can stay repressive in spite of it.

2) Do you think the political benefits of free trade from democracies to autocracies outweighs the liabilities? Geez, I don't know. Isn't that a country-by-country analysis?



posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 01:40 AM
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reply to post by cassandranova
 


Your questions seem to assume that the "Western World" actually practices free trade. Free trade, at least in the USA, has been dying thanks to multiple layers of government regulations, interference, tax legislation which uses a carrot on a stick methodology to entice investments towards some particular category and away from others, and (the death knell of capitalism) tax payer funded bailouts. Furthermore, as free trade has died in the USA, so has democracy. Moreso than at any other time in this nation's history democracy is DEAD. We cannot even pretend to be a representative republic anymore, because the representatives don't represent the majority of the people.

Free trade won't work across borders. Ross Perot's heavy criticism of NAFTA was true and just. National protectionism is absolutely the ONLY way to embrace free trade, otherwise all we're embracing is global conglomeration and further meddling of foreign interests.



posted on Jul, 15 2012 @ 02:23 AM
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Originally posted by cassandranova
...
While history will tell the final story, I personally believe that should the dominance of democracies fall to the rising autocratic powers in the next century, historians will point to the free trade policies that devastated local manufacturing in the U.S., Europe, and other areas, transferring not just wealth but key infrastructure abroad to regimes with markedly different ideologies, as the critical source of funding for their growth and the key source for autocratic stability. Having cheap goods of questionable quality in many cases at the price of having national self-sufficiency is a dangerous bargain to make, especially should conflict arise in the future.

But not knowing the future, I'd ask two questions to push this thread forward:

1) Do you believe free trade leads to democratization?

2) Do you think the political benefits of free trade from democracies to autocracies outweighs the liabilities?


What does a democracy have to do with U.S. trade? What do you mean by democracies that fail, what democracies and what do you mean by democratization? Democratization of what?
edit on 15-7-2012 by Opportunia because: vocabulary
edit on 15-7-2012 by Opportunia because: clarification
edit on 15-7-2012 by Opportunia because: clarification






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