International Trade Labor and Environmental Regulations
Seattle, Thusday, December 2, 1999- All was confusion, Police in riot gear shouted to one another as tear gas was shot into the mass of violent protesters. What triggered this violent protest was the World Trade Organiztion or WTO. The WTO aims to establish global free trade. Free trade means repealing all trade barriers and restrictions all over the world. This would allow large corporations to exploit the abcence of labor and/or enviornmental laws in deveoping countries. Globalisation, however much good it will do, cannot proceed without international agreements on labor and enviornmental standards.
The World Trade organization came into being in 1995. Neither George Bush or Ronald Reagan would allow its creation, but it was finally formed under the Clinton administration. The WTO claims globalisation would encourage trade between countries, increasing social and cultural diversity between nations and improve national realtions all over the world. Also, Free trade would bring jobs to developing nations, allowing them to establish a base workforce, and develop into economicaly and politicaly stable nations.(www.WTO.org all pages)
On the other side of the coin, allowing Free Trade would mean allowing buisinesses to relocate to developing nations where laxer labor and/or enviornmental laws allow them to produce their product more cheaply and more efficiently. Child labor is one of many great hinderence in the path of golbalization, in many countries, young children work in factories for low wages, making products for export to America. Child labor is cheap, efficient, and abundant in developing countries where birth control is a comodity. This makes it a draw for foreign companies who want to use child labor to make products for export to the US. Child labor deprives the children of childhood and education, and will in the future deprive the nation of what it really needs, and educated work force. In developing countries like Bolivia, children work for little wages in mines and factories, often in unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Nike shoes and Kathie Lee Gifford’s Wal-Mart clothing company both were caught using child labor to produce their product cheaply, expoliting the need for jobs and the willingness to work
any hours for any pay in poorer countries. If global free trade became a reality, these children would be at the mercy of the profit driven buisinesses.
Low wages are another problem, if people will work for close to nothing in developing countries, not only will they not be able to work their way out of poverty, but Americans will lose jobs to cheap foreign labor, helping no one but the large corporations. Another big problem is forced labor, in some countries, people are made to produce products for export, and treated like slaves. WTO free trade without restrictions would give those countries the ability to produce products for companies at incredibly cheap rates,...