Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 47


The Heavy Cost of “Free Trade”

EPPWhat is “free trade” exactly? This episode examines the theoretical definition of “free trade” and “free market” versus the functional – or technical – definition: how it should function in theory versus how it functions in reality. When a government has regulations, protections, subsidies or support for workers, the environment, resources, or the population in general, this is referred to as “protectionist” and that it undermines the “free market,” and must therefore be dismantled through “free trade” agreements. When a state has protections, regulations, subsidies or support for transnational corporations and banks, this is referred to as a “free market” or “free trade.” The “market system” is designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many. The trading system is a central feature in this process: breaking up the production cycle, increasing transportation and product costs, exploiting labor and resources, with states subsidizing the process largely through trade deficits, putting labor in competition with each other in a race to the bottom, while the corporations make record profits. This episode looks at the mythology and reality of “free trade,” existing with a heavy cost.

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