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Free Trade
TPP Exposes Contradictions in the American Left
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  • jeburke

    To be candid, I, for one, could not care less about helping workers in Vietnam.

    • JR


    • Pete

      American presidents should worry about America, not the world.

      Maybe this is part of Donald Trump’s appeal.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Yes, it absolutely IS part of Donald Trump’s appeal—–to conservative white working-class American voters. There is a problem with TAI’s implication in this article that only left-wingers express concerns about protecting American jobs. That “problem” is that a large part of the people losing jobs in America to help workers abroad are not and were not “liberals”.

        You have business-community Republicans wanting trade deals and Donald-Trump Republicans thinking their elected Republicans are going to stop trade deals. The “up-or-down” vote on this is going to be very interesting.

        • Pete

          “Yes, it absolutely IS part of Donald Trump’s appeal—–to conservative white working-class American voters.”

          Earth to FriendlyGoat, come in please.

          Although you yourself may not know many black and/or Hispanics, I do. And the fact is that most of them too want to put America’s interests (which are theirs) before the interests of the ‘world.’

          And by the way, the polls are showing that Trump is doing pretty good among the minorities.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, Politico reported August 24th that Donald Trump was viewed favorably by 14% of Hispanics and only viewed unfavorably by 65%. In earlier August, Gallup reported Mr. Trump viewed favorably by 20% of African Americans with only 68% viewing him unfavorably.

            But. I didn’t really mean to make my comment sound racial. You could remove the word “white” from my first sentence and the gist of the comment is the same.

  • Guest

    The biggest regional trade and investment agreement in history is not what it seems: the reality is that this is an agreement to “manage” its members’ trade and investment relations – TTP is not about free trade.

  • FriendlyGoat

    It’s really hard to imagine TAI suggesting in print that Obama has EVER “contributed to American prosperity and world peace”. I say that because of TAI, not because of Obama.

    • Tom

      You must be new here. Mead voted for Obama at least once.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Not twice, huh?

        • Tom

          Don’t remember if he did back in ’12.

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s true that TAI has been more balanced about Obama than most of the readers, here, but that isn’t saying a lot. Generally, I’m used to hearing how Obama is “the worst president ever’, etc. or how he “does not understand either foreign affairs or the economy”, etc.

          • Tom

            To put it bluntly, the commenters have oversensitized you.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You’re suggesting I’m just imagining that most of the folks appearing here don’t like Obama—-and it’s all in MY head?

          • Tom

            No, I’m talking about the articles.

  • Peripatetic

    “Finally, trade deals like TPP expose the contradictions at the heart of the modern American left.”

    I don’t think that’s quite right. If the left believed in helping the global poor AND they believed that free-trade capitalism helped the poor, then it would indeed be contradictory for them to be against TPP. But most on the left don’t think that way: they think that capitalism transforms the idyllic foreign poor (who at least commune with nature) into desperate wage-slaves alienated from their native culture.

    What I really wonder about is what Obama *privately* thinks about TPP. I bet he feels guilty about it, and that in his own mind thinks of this deal as a political concession that he must make to keep business-minded elites in the democratic party happy. Indeed, I predict that 15 years from now, there will be a chapter in the eighth or ninth retrospective book Obama will be writing called, “TPP: my one great mistake”.

  • Joe Eagar

    I’m going to be fair to Professor Mead, and assume he didn’t write this article. Mead has consistently written pieces against this type of thinking going back to AI’s founding in, what was it, 2009? Or perhaps he is simply ignorant of how this very line of argument–that the Western poor is undeserving–is often used to morally legitimate the manner in which Western elites treat their working classes. Who knows, maybe an intern wrote this (I certainly hope so).

    Look, we all know that high-paying manufacturing jobs are never coming back, that if foreign workers don’t steal them, robots will. People on the left too stupid to understand that aren’t going to be convinced by the classist argument that their constituencies don’t deserve their current standard of living. The same can not be said of moderates. A moderate upper-crust type could easily read this article and think to himself “I already supported TPP, but Mr. Mead is sure right about how undeserving the Western poor are!”.

    For a site that has consistently and unambiguously taken the proletariat’s side in the Western world’s current class conflict, this article is rather jarring.

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