Argument: Free trade undermines democratic processes

Issue Report: Free trade


Ralph Nader on Free Trade. On the Issues. – “Q: There must be firms or forces in society that you have decided now are more malignant than you thought 25 years ago, and companies on the other hand that actually have improved and are behaving better. There must have been some changes.
A: With the collapse of communism and with the absence of any alternative way of ordering private property and using public
assets, we’re entering into a generation of global power of the multi-national corporations. There’s no society that’s able to
withstand commercial western culture. Perhaps fundamentalism and Islam is trying to do it…. But that’s going to be the challenge
now, whether democracy is going to be up to it. Whether these giant corporations are going to be able to respect instead of erode
and control democratic processes and these new trade agreements like GATT and the World Trade Organization are not encouraging.”

The US is demanding that governments give up their sovereign right to regulate foreign investment and their right to pass health, safety, and environmental laws that protect citizens. FTAs allow corporations to bypass domestic courts and sue governments in corporate-friendly international tribunals for profits lost due to legislated environmental or worker protections. Trade negotiations themselves are deeply undemocratic. They are conducted in secret, with no input from the communities affected by them.