The following is a response to Dealing with Killers and Kidnappers: The High Cost of Free Trade, by
See, I’m not an expert, so perhaps you can enlighten me.
It seems to me as though “free trade” and “free traders” are often blamed for problems that they did not cause. Here, Mr. Mychalejko disparages “free trade” and “free traders” for no reason other than that Chiquita, Inc. supports terrorists and that the Governments of Colombia and Guatemala abuse and neglect their citizens.
Mr. Mychalejko takes for granted that if a business corporation does a thing, it necessarily does it in furtherance of “free trade”. This is a fallacy. If Chiquita, Inc., and other businesses in Latin America are getting their way through intimidation and coercion, then they are deviating from the free market, not participating in it. For that, they should be fully prosecuted so that free trade may be restored.
(This is not to say that Chiquita’s malevolence is isolated. It may be the norm where businesses and governments prevail in their criminality. This is only to say that such malevolence is not of the free market. It is a deviation therefrom.)
How “free trade” receives the blame for the Colombian and Guatemalan governments’ abuse and neglect of their citizens is beyond me completely. If Mr. Mychalejko believes that the United States Government should not structure trade agreements that benefit such coercive, anti-free-trade regimes, then he should argue that. No self-respecting “free trader” would ever trade with the purpose of supporting such regimes, anyway. They may, however, choose to trade with the people living under those regimes, in spite of those regimes.
Because I have not read the details of the trade agreement in question, I do not know what it purports to do. So what I’d like to see before I can offer a reasoned opinion on this particular matter is a listing of the provisions of the trade agreement to which Mr. Mychalejko objects, and the reasons for each objection. I suspect that Mr. Mychalejko and I will probably object to the same provisions for the same reasons, but that he will label his objections as “promoting free trade”, whereas I will label my objections as “promoting crime and coercion”. I would appreciate it if he adopted my phraseology, and placed the blame where it properly belongs.
Read the full text of the proposed agreement here. I haven’t, yet.