Question about sweat shops, cheap labor and the WTO - Page 3 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-28-2006, 02:30 PM
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On your first point, I completely agree. My point was simply that our country would likely not be at the level that it's at, had the companies hauled ass. It was a struggle that, over the long-term, ended up building this nation, right?

I really do need to learn more about the WTO. It seems to me (and I'm likely wrong) that we've moved into global trade, but kept the separatist attitude towards the impact of the individual economy. In other words, why wouldn't the UN oversee the WTO, which should be comprised of an international team of economists, representing each nation. Cases of corruption within international companies would be handled by an international judiciary division of the WTO, thereby eliminating the ability of a company to hide from prosecution in another country. Any companies that don't want to sign a basic human rights and practices agreement simply wouldn't be permitted to operate within the countries that have representation within the WTO. As incentive, companies that do operate within the participating countries would have increased support from the WTO for fair trade.

Does this make sense? It's just an idea off the cuff. The main thing is ensure that there are as many checks and balances to try and minimize corruption and under the table deals between companies and certain countries. Minimal oversight from the WTO, but still somewhat of an impartial referee.
I hate the WTO. It seeks to manage markets with an international consumerist cartel. What we need is less regulation, not some unelected cartel deciding what is fair trade and what isn't.

Getting folks to sign agreements only works for folks who give a $hit about living-up to them. Take a European country say, ... France, for example. Made a big stinky about how the USA didn't sign Kyoto into treaty with Senate approval. France says they will lead the way and make a big hoopla about French leadership. Great, let them lead.

Only ... they didn't. They didn't make their goal, they didn't even stop the rate of increase of carbon emissions. And who is to blame? Wait for it .... The USA is. See, since we didn't sign-on we were unconstrained by treaty from unfair advantage on our carbon emissions.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is in the world's long term best interest for humanity to reduce anthropogenic atmospheric carbon emission. I just don't think an international treaty is enforceable. And why enter an agreement that is unenforceable?

B
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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-28-2006, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Doesn't lack of regulation allow the few with the most power to crush out small companies before they can really get started? I personally don't see a major issue with regulation as much as the people in charge of the regulation having their hands in the profit. That's why I emphasized independent reps from each nation. It would be an open book situation for consistent checks to ensure no one company is granted special treatment. In our own government, there's so many officials in bed with special interest groups, what's best for the American people is secondary to their own bank accounts. (For the record, both sides are just as guilty - I hold no loyalty to any party).

So, wouldn't lack of regulation allow any country to open a production facility wherever they want, exploit the people and crush out any smaller companies? I know I seem to contradict my original view, but again, I'm just trying to understand where the balance should be.

Some time ago, I remember the concept that was brought up in "A Beautiful Mind". I don't claim to be slightly intelligent about economics, but I remember the idea of what was referred to as Governing Dynamics (which may have been misstated. It was, after all, a movie). Either way, it was the idea that everyone can win when we look out for the best interests of the individual along with the group. If there's any validity to that, could it just be that we've never quite moved away from thinking only of the individual?

I don't mean to come across as overly idealistic. I just think it coincides with the problem that, as a society, we've become so focused on immediate gains, that we'll end up suffering in the long term as a whole. Our momentary greed will cost us our long-term global stability. As it was once said:

The ego is not the self. The ego is a nexus of strategies for short-term
gain at the expense of group values and even long-term personal gain.
-Terrence McKenna

Again, I really appreciate your views and insights on this. As much as I may not agree with every point you’re making, examination and careful consideration of all sides is how I usually come to my conclusions on any given subject.

Last edited by Prana25; 11-28-2006 at 03:27 PM.
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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-28-2006, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Prana25
Doesn't lack of regulation allow the few with the most power to crush out small companies before they can really get started? I personally don't see a major issue with regulation as much as the people in charge of the regulation having their hands in the profit. That's why I emphasized independent reps from each nation. It would be an open book situation for consistent checks to ensure no one company is granted special treatment. In our own government, there's so many officials in bed with special interest groups, what's best for the American people is secondary to their own bank accounts. (For the record, both sides are just as guilty - I hold no loyalty to any party).

So, wouldn't lack of regulation allow any country to open a production facility wherever they want, exploit the people and crush out any smaller companies? I know I seem to contradict my original view, but again, I'm just trying to understand where the balance should be.

Some time ago, I remember the concept that was brought up in "A Beautiful Mind". I don't claim to be slightly intelligent about economics, but I remember the idea of what was referred to as Governing Dynamics (which may have been misstated. It was, after all, a movie). Either way, it was the idea that everyone can win when we look out for the best interests of the individual along with the group. If there's any validity to that, could it just be that we've never quite moved away from thinking only of the individual?

I don't mean to come across as overly idealistic. I just think it coincides with the problem that, as a society, we've become so focused on immediate gains, that we'll end up suffering in the long term as a whole. Our momentary greed will cost us our long-term global stability. As it was once said:

The ego is not the self. The ego is a nexus of strategies for short-term
gain at the expense of group values and even long-term personal gain.
-Terrence McKenna

Again, I really appreciate your views and insights on this. As much as I may not agree with every point you’re making, examination and careful consideration of all sides is how I usually come to my conclusions on any given subject.
If your first question above is in relation to nations, then the choice of being regulated falls entirely on the decision of the larger power. For example, let's say that some trade cartel decides that Dell is unfairly selling computers of immense capability at a price that undercuts competitors because Dell is willing to sell at a loss to gain worldwide market dominance. So everybody meets in say, Strasbourg and has a show of hands and tells the USA that if the USA doesn't reign-in Dell that the cartel will enact sanctions against the USA.

Now the USA has a choice. It can go along with the decision in the interest of international comity or it can tell the cartel to get stuffed and buy their wheat somewhere else other than the USA while their people starve or they can leave Dell alone. Or something like that.

Or say that the cartel goes after Saudi Arabia for fixing the world price of oil above it's market price by intentionally not pumping at capacity. The Saudi princes are going to a) apologize and accede to the cartel or b) tell the cartel to buy the oil somewhere else if they don't like it.

the point is that for trade sanctions to work the country with the power to deny the cartel must be willing to abide by the cartel because there is NOTHING that the cartel can do to force another country to comply.

Unless the cartel has some sort of military force to back-up it's rulings.

-----------------

Concerning "independent reps." Independent reps are beholden to no democratic process. Do you really want some unelected satrap, who owes NOTHING to any electorate, to have control of any portion of your life? I don't. I'd rather have 535 semi-crooked elected reps than one honest leader beholden to no electorate for his job. At least the 545 would be fighting and squabbling with each other. If they are all filled with avarice and mistrust, teh chances are that they'll sell-out one of their own that gets too powerful. An unelected person in power has nobody to answer to.

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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-28-2006, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Very interesting points. So, with regulation, there's no real way to enforce it and without, greed spirals out of control. Between the two, which one would we (anyone) have a better chance at influencing, keeping in mind that my end purpose was to keep a level of normalcy for the average citizen in any country, whether it's keeping Wal-Mart open for Buba Jo or rice in the village for Ming Lee?

I always try to look approach global issues like I view crime levels, divorce rates or other aspects of social issues: Everyone says they have they're on the correct path, but things seem to be getting progressively worse. Maybe it's time to quit holding onto our particular position, and realize that it's time to reexamine our approach. Even with to apposing influences, it should create a stalemate and show little to no progress. I see things as globally declining. I’ve read that economists are predicting the extinction of America’s middle class. There’s a multitude of reasons (that would require another thread), but if it’s happening in this country, what’s the future for the more financially unstable countries?
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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-28-2006, 07:29 PM
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...
I always try to look approach global issues like I view crime levels, divorce rates or other aspects of social issues: Everyone says they have they're on the correct path, but things seem to be getting progressively worse. ...
I think that assumption is just about crazy. More people have a higher standard of living and live in peace now than ever before in human history. Even if we ignore absolute values and just looked at proportions, a greater proportion of humanity is living in peace and security and without starvation than ever before in human history.

Does that mean everything is wonderful? Of course not. But I do think it means that an historical perspective is useful when we say things are changing in some way. It begs the question: Changing from what?

There is no final solution. I think if we looked at it as a multidimensional mathematical surface it might be more understandable. Let each axis in this universe be some factor of human existence. There could be an axis of population, an axis of food quantity, an axis of water availability, etc. Through all of these dimensions passes a surface in on humans can exist. If humans stray too far from the surface then bad things happen, perhaps species extinction, which is the necessary endpoint of most feature of human existence.

Now this surface is pock-marked with local stabilities. The various dimensions dip such that once humanity enters one of those local stabilities then society is in some sort of local equilibrium. we might call these isolated valleys of stability, "attractors" because once the population gets near them the population sort of slides into it like a marble on a dimpled rubber sheet.

Which local equilibrium is "best?" Is there a "best?" are there conditions in which humanity might oscillate between local stabilities? We might call these alternating states rather strange attractors.

Etc.

The point being that there are probably nearly an infinity of conditions that will lead humanity to different states of stability. It is also likely that there is no particular combination that will lead to permanent and stabile happiness. We might call that particular universally stable state, "heaven."

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post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-28-2006, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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My point with that was simply, we should always learn from history, but never restrict our approach simply because it's the way it's always been done. I've always been the type to look at things from a completely different prospective.

With your mathematical explanation B, you just illustrated your point in a way that made it crystal clear to me (I'm going on a mental digression with the Lorenz Attractor and giving up control to the delicate balance of chaos theory). Interesting, and clear. Again, thanks for the insight. It's given me quite a bit to think about.

I can't help but wonder why most people stayed away from this topic.

I sent you a PM.
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