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Why a Race to the Bottom?
For the past decade, American wage earners have been thrust into a 'race to the bottom' by trade policies that export jobs and factories to wherever in the world labor costs, worker rights and environmental standards are lowest. It is estimated that since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, Washington state has lost over 40,000 jobs. As good jobs are eliminated, wages drop for those jobs that remain, benefits are cut, funding for schools and social services are slashed. In this race to the bottom, environmental regulations and food safety standards are also threatened in order to facilitate 'free' trade at any social cost.
Overwhelmingly, most people in other countries are not benefiting either. For instance, since NAFTA was implemented in 1994, real wages have declined in Mexico 30%, and an additional 11 million people have fallen into poverty. Such changes are forcing thousands to immigrate for the chance to make a living.
So who wins in this 'race to the bottom?' Apparently only giant corporations who use the rules of trade to increase their profits while societies and the environment across the globe suffer.
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