Saturday, June 13, 2009

Free trading our jobs

Note this important paper (Thanks Nada)

Trading away our jobs: how free trade threatens employment around the world
Authors: Hobbs,G.; Tucker,D.Produced by: War on Want (2009)

This report examines the employment impacts of trade liberalisation, as well as impact assessments for the current round of world trade talks and the new wave of bilateral EU trade deals. The paper shows how past trade liberalisations caused huge job losses in both Africa and Latin America, the two continents that bore the impact of early experiments in structural adjustment. Moreover, the paper finds that those experiments reveal a pattern of deindustrialisation, job losses and falling wages whose impact continues to be felt to this day, stifling hopes for sustainable development.

Nevertheless, the paper notes that some politicians are still calling for the swift conclusion of the Doha round of negotiations at the WTO, although millions of jobs are at risk as a result of the required trade liberalisation. Indeed, a conclusion to the Doha round along the lines currently proposed will cause significant job losses across the agricultural, industrial and service sectors of the developing world.

Correspondingly, the paper considers that free trade is no answer to the current economic crisis. In addition, it thinks the free market approach undermines the possibility of decent work and of achieving sustainable development. Therefore, it deems that states must retain the policy space and tools of control in order to govern markets, manage international trade and provide decent work for all. Furthermore, the paper finds it vital to grasp the current opportunity and replace the neoliberal model with a new way of thinking. The new model should be made in a way that prioritise the economic, social, political and environmental rights of people over the profits of transnational capital.
Available online at:

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