Underside of Free Trade

I WAS SURPRISED at the response ("Postmark," January 1993) to Kathy Collmer's editorial on the North American Free Trade Agreement ("Free Trade: A New Conquest of Mexico," November 1992).

Let me add my voice in support of Collmer's fine article -- it was neither diatribe nor adopting the "wrong side of the issue." Like mom and apple pie, most Americans would generally agree that free trade between nations is beneficial. Eradicating any kinds of barriers between countries (whether trade, immigration, cultural, or other) must be considered desirable.

But NAFTA has no intention of fulfilling these lofty aims. For 12 years now, big business, under the wing of collaborative Washington administrations, has trumpeted the benefits of a freer business atmosphere. It has elevated the slogan "more jobs" to the point that it has taken on religious tones.

It is alarming how few people understand the real legacy of this past decade's free reign to big business: Those at the low end of the economic scale are much worse off for it. The impoverished millions of Mexico are indeed even more destitute than America's poor. The proponents of NAFTA, however, plan nothing but further exploitation of Mexico's poor.

Geoff Huggins

Winchester, Virginia

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