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So How'd NAFTA Work Out?

Back in the early 1990s the North American Free Trade Agreement was the focus of a huge national debate. Proponents promised NAFTA would float the United States, Canada, and Mexico on a trilaterally awesome rising tide of free trade. Critics had a host of anti-globalization-type objections, including..


Back in the early 1990s the North American Free Trade Agreement was the focus of a huge national debate. Proponents promised NAFTA would float the United States, Canada, and Mexico on a trilaterally awesome rising tide of free trade. Critics had a host of anti-globalization-type objections, including fears of job loss in America and negative environmental effects in Mexico.NAFTA went into effect in 1994; it's 15 years old now. So how'd it work out? Not that well for Mexico. The anti-globalization folks had this much right: many Mexican businesses and farmers were screwed. From the New York Times:"In some cases, Nafta produced results that were exactly the opposite of what was promised.For instance, domestic industries were dismantled as multinationals imported parts from their own suppliers.Local farmers were priced out of the market by food imported tariff-free. Many Mexican farmers simply abandoned their land and headed north."Mexican farmers have never been fans of NAFTA, but their case has been harder to hear because you can't hire lobbyists and public relations people when you farm seven acres of sorghum for a living. At any rate, their fears about NAFTA destroying their livelihoods have come true.And, because it's caused such job loss in Mexico, NAFTA has probably accelerated the flow of immigrants into America. Do free market economists who supported NAFTA also support the freedom of the labor market to move across borders unimpeded? Somehow I doubt it.Photo of Mexican farmers protesting NAFTA via.
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