Gray Panthers of San Francisco
January 2007 Newsletter

Democracy (?) and Free (?) Trade



This is from a review by George Scialabba of the book Empire’s Workshop by Greg Grandin—The Nation, November 27th, 2006. If you have ever wondered specifically what is meant by US foreign policy promoting free trade and democracy, and why targeted nations might object to it, here is a pretty good description:

“For the real purposes of US foreign policy, now as formerly, "democracy" means the freedom to vote for candidates who can be counted on to allow unrestricted capital flows; foreign ownership of vital resources; privatization of water, health, utility and banking systems; the opening of domestic markets to cheap (often subsidized) foreign imports; the repeal or lax enforcement of environmental, worker-safety, public-health and minimum-wage laws; an investor-friendly tax code; drastic reductions in social-welfare spending; the suppression of labor or peasant activism; and, if asked, the provision of facilities for US military forces. Grandin knows this; indeed, he says as much and provides valuable details on the devastation wrought by Chicago School free-market fundamentalism and the structural-adjustment programs imposed by the IMF and World Bank.”

Read the entire Nation article

(back to January 2007 Newsletter front page)