The Intersection of Economics and Politics, Something Has To Give

While it is fresh in my mind I want to address the issue above.

It is obvious to me that insufficient attention is being paid to this as a significant phenonom in the western world. The continued , almost relentless, intrusion of Governments in the economics of the nation state has meant that individuals are affected more and more by Government decisions and simultaneaously have less and less influence over those decisions. This is acutely and and pervasively true as it relates to trade agreements. Early on in the North American Free Trade Agreement Provincial Governments were briefed on the Federal Governments talks with the Americans , and we had some limited input. But, of course, the individual had to rely on the competence of his Provincial and Federal Government representatives to forge a fair deal , being as we are, in representative democracies. In our own case in the Province of Newfoundland the matters were simple , then, in that we would be getting tariffs reduced on fish entering the United States . A big thing for us . But one could see things become more complicated and involved . For example , the automobile industry and Mexico, where repercussions negative to that industry in southern Ontario and mid western US came into play. We are seeing some of the lingering effects of that playing  out today in the US election.

It is alright for the trade experts and bureaucrats in Ottawa or Washington to say ‘ in the long term’ it will work out . Some I am sure wonder what is meant by long term. People still have to eat and put a roof over their head and send their kids to school, health care , transportation etc. I mean the guy in Michigan or Indiana who looses his job to an auto worker in rural Mexico has questions. Does this country have the same work safety rules , environment rules, wages rules as the ones my plant has here in the US? It is not only that my job is  gone but some of the taxes that I must pay go to help that very country to whom I just lost my job? So what new education must I now enroll in to try and get another job?  Exacerbating this is that technology comes along at the same time , changing annually, that complicates my job prospects . And all industries now seem to be affected. And the farm needs less and less people.

What has happened , one can call it  intended or unintended consequences or what you will, is that the increased Government involvement in the economy and the succession of trade agreements and technology improvement , has left a swath of people, taxpayers, citizens , out in the cold. Why? Because at the same time there was not the same commitment to informing and involving those who were to be most affected. And in a democracy when something like this happens , there will be a big reaction .  And it is happening now in many pkaces. 

And it looks like it will even get worse.

The trade agreements are getting more involved as negociations occur in services and intellectual property areas and a multitude of special committees and tribunals are being set up that will be the ultimate arbiters of many issues that will affect you and me regardless of how distant we are from urban centres. It will not be your local provincial or state representative that can help. It is this faceless unelected bureaucrat , likely bureaucrats , that will decide . And up until now they might be at your national capital . But, but , what happens when these tribunals are hundreds if not thousands of miles away in some foreign city. Your State and Provincial legislature is powerless and believe or not your National Parliament will become powerless.

You see this is what was happening in Britian and caused Brexit. The nation state as we have known it was gradually seeing its power and influence and actual Sovereignty being diluted to faceless unelected  bureaucrats in Brussels. Citizens felt powerless to outside forces.

So, free trade and technology come face to face with political governance . Especially free trade,  as globalization and multi national organizations play a larger and larger role in what was hithertofore National , Provincial and State Responsibilities and Jusisdiction.

So what leaders should be doing is spending time on informing and causing debate to occur on issues which addresses head on these fundamental shifts that are endangering the traditional understanding of the role and responsibilities of the Nation State. To enter into large  complex international trade agreements without vigorous and extensive public debate over a number of years , will see more and more movements by citizens who demand  a real say , what was according to Mill and Montesquieu , the foundation of democracy in the first place.

Now that I got that off my chest I might just have a good day.



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