Sunday, October 28, 2007

Free Trade Uplifts Whom?

An AP news report provided more data breaking the myth that trade and investment uplifts people in other countries:

As China's appetite for coal is booming, American investors and businesses are cashing in. American pension and mutual fund money is being invested in the Chinese coal industry, which is lucrative but in general has a poor record for pollution and worker safety.

We already know how the uplifting of 760 Myanmar employees of Total SA & Chevron outweigh lopping off the huge gas sums propping up the junta in a country of 47 million people. Even the CIA Factbook shows a net export of 7.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2004. While the gas money flows stay open for the oppressive junta, a different scenario plays out in Burma's neighbor to the north. "Ethical" American pension and mutual funds seek only lucrative returns at the expense of the Chinese people living in pollution zones and workers at greater risk for their lives mining coal. The invisible hand delivers yet another cold smack down to the common worker and generous returns to the moneyed.