Trade is GOOD

We have always known that trade agreements have very positive aims and Norway have proved that. This land’s trade surplus of February was NOK 325 billion (around USD 55 billion) ranking 6th in the world, just behind Saudi Arabia, China, Germany, Russia and Ireland.

This surplus is basically focused on the oil and gas exports, which are the pillars or the Norwegian economy. One key element is that Norway makes very few buys and sells a lot, just few countries in the world does that. Thus, nearly 60 percent of Norway’s export revenues derived from oil and gas sales, the rest mostly from seafood, electricity, aluminum and weapons.
Is interesting to see that only the 15 percent of the export revenues are generated by manufactured goods, that is due to the fact that in Norway the labor costs are very high.
Is worth mentioning the Irish case as well, where the trade surplus is fueled largely by multinational firms that set up production sites in Ireland because of tax advantages; in the years when the crisis was eating up the society, the policies implemented together with the trade-agreements where the keys for boosting the exports income at a time when Ireland’s own domestic economy suffered a downturn that led to reduced imports. It is said that Ireland’s trade surplus doesn’t necessarily boost its own revenues or economy, benefiting immigrant workers. That will be something to prove in these days post financial crisis.

So the reflective questions that arise are like, can trade be good to all the countries making agreements? are countries entering trade agreements allowed or encourage to sell more and buy less? In other words, to really benefit from the trade-agreements, to develop policies, strategies, markets to the betterment of the nations, to focus on what you do better, despite the global pressures/tendencies.
That´s the idea on which the focus should be placed: fairness on the agreements, promote trade-agreements always considering the idea that should benefit all parties involved.

By Felipe Díaz (news notes taken from Views and News from Norway, The Economist and Aftenposten)

One comment on “Trade is GOOD
  1. This opinion paper goes a long way in saying that “trade is good – and we have always known it to be so”. It further promotes a notion that Norway is somehow proof of a “universal truth” that trade is good and that “trade agreements have very positive aims”. Is trade in weapons good?

    What is good for some will naturally be bad for others, and this is very much the case with trade agreements. Norwegian trade agreements have devastating effects on many people, cultures and civilizations – and the current and future development of these. Take the Adivasi of India as an example. A free trade agreement between Indian and Norwegian capitalists will not be good for them – as they live by other norms and have different value sets. No one is even asking them what they think about this. Unless your notion of “good” is to kill their physical and cultural existence, then your comment that “trade is GOOD” is invalid.

    Trade, I argue, is the very origin of what has evolved into the current capitalist civilization. It is worth to note that this capitalist civilization keeps almost the entire human population as slaves and treat them as enemies in its perpetual warfare on human moral and existence.

    Today’s global trade regime is the main architecture of this capitalist civilization – its stated purpose is to eradicate all barriers to trade. It is very much a civilization that claims that trade is good – regardless- and trade reveals a great deal about what this civilizations values (e.g. what it is trading) and priorities’ (e.g. how it organizes this trade).

    If one wants to label trade as something good – or bad – then one automatically opens a wider debate on the values of this capitalist civilization, as trade as a concept cannot be analyzed outside the context of its origin and evolution. The statement that “trade is GOOD” is thus nothing but a justification and a praise of the capitalist civilization – it is this statement that provoked this response as I could not disagree more.

    This capitalistic civilization is not promoting human development but rather the destruction of the very planet on which it exists – and the erosion of all moral – the very fundament of our spiritual existence. (Its invention, trade and use of nuclear weapons as perhaps the most grotesque example)

    The undemocratic negotiations of these trade agreements reveals more than anything the hierarchical nature of this capitalist civilization where individuals high in the system are free to impose and enforce laws (trade agreements) on its “subjects” – its worst enemies being those people and civilizations that don’t agree to this destructive way of organizing its existence on the planet. The capitalist civilization dictates that the interaction between humans must evolve around the exchange of goods and services with capital as the indicator of value. Life does not need to be organized in this way.

Leave a Reply