{Empty title} | The Nation

This article gives a lot of factual information. and my comments will attempt to look at some basic concepts. Since, at least, the beginning of the twentieth century, the American market has been consumer-driven. In an attempt to create a market for his cars, Henry Ford paid his workers a high enough wage that they could afford to buy the cars they produced. He consciously created "consumers" for his very new product. When Ford and General Motors moved into Europe, they built their cars in Europe, and created more consumers in the markets they served.

What would have happened if they had made their cars in America and exported them? A few years back, American companies tried that in Japan, but couldn't sell them because the steering wheel was on the left side of the car, instead of the right. Before the Americans came along, Japan looked to the British example in building their nation.

What America and Western Europe had was consumer markets supported by the high wages of ordinary people. This is the basic fact.

However the purpose of "free trade" and no tariffs is to drive down wages and have workers compete in a race to the bottom. Low wages means the consumer driven economy loses the means to sustain it, and it disappears. "Free trade" is an economic theory that does not rely on facts, and we have a worldwide depression/recession. It is a one-trick pony, because low labor costs are its only purpose.