Transcript of Option 3: Put Values First
photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli By Jolene Strand Option 3: Put Values First Belief #1: Government policy on trade should reflect a commitment to protecting the environment. Belief #2 While economic interests are important, the United States cannot separate those interests from its concerns for justice, human rights, and democratic processes. Policy #1: The United States should not have normal trading relations with countries that do not share the same concerns for human rights and labor standards. The United States should lead the way in imposing trade embargoes and economic sanctions on countries that violate human rights. Policy #3: The United States should press its trading partners in the developing world to raise wages and worker safety standards as their economies grow. U.S. companies operating in the developing world should be prodded to lead the way. Argument #1: Free trade will give rise to an international system in which all countries have an interest in maintaining peace, stability, and worldwide economic growth. Argument #2: Fair trade will most benefit poor people in the developing world, which may greatly reduce the amount of money the United States devotes to foreign aid Policy #2 The United States should insist that all trade agreements provide safeguards for the environment. Thoughts The environment needs to come first because if the environment is destroyed then there will be no countries left to trade with. Protecting the environment needs to be the number 1 priority because Earth is our one and only home. We don’t have another one. Thoughts While I don’t think we should push American ideals and values on other countries because that could potentially piss some people off, we shouldn’t encourage countries that violate human rights either. And trading with them does just that. Even if it might be beneficial on a economic standpoint we shouldn’t ignore the fact that some countries violate human rights (which goes against our values) because that would make us hypocrites. More into This: Without safeguards for the environment, companies will more production to countries with the least restrictive environmental restrictions due to lower production costs. The removal of trade barriers also makes it difficult for countries to enact environmental protection laws as they will reduce their competitiveness in the international market. (2) Because of this all trade agreements should provide safeguards because that way no country has an advantage over another and the environment won’t be seriously harmed. More into This: When developing countries open their stock market to foreign capital, typically manufacturing workers see their wages go up along with productivity and overall everything improves. (3) This means that the companies will be able to improve worker safety standards among other things. This shows that it can be done and similar steps like this should be taken in the future as it will help bring those and other countries up. HOWEVER: While this may be true, you also can’t ignore the fact that this would make all countries involved in the trade system extremely vulnerable. If the economy gets messed up in one country it will easily transfer over to the other countries within the system. Also, not all countries (or organizations for that matter) might be necessarily interested in maintaining peace and a system like this would give them a big target. HOWEVER: The problem with this is that yes, it will probably benefit poor people in the developing world them most, but what about Americans? I have no problem with helping developing nations, but at the same time I don’t want it to be at the cost of Americans loosing theirs jobs. While free trade has benefits, one of it’s downsides is that it encourages outsourcing. We have to be cautious about free trade because we don’t want to hurt Americans in the process by giving their jobs away. Sources: (1)http://news.yahoo.com/obama-signs-russia-trade-human-rights-bill-183336662.htmlFull transcript
(3)http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/research/hery_dev_stockmarket.html More Into This: While it is putting tension in the relationship between the US and Russia the Magnitsky measure is addressing human rights violations even if it might affect trade.(1) This measure is making it clear to Russia that we take human rights seriously and while Russia is reacting to it with it’s own measures, we need to be firm if we want to get anywhere.