Monday, April 23, 2007

The free market

An Associated Press analysis piece on the closure of a Freightliner factory in Portland (Oregon, not Maine), I'm struck by a couple of details:
  • 84 percent of Americans work in service jobs (I guess we have to take that figure on faith; the story didn't cite a source). I like being in the oddball sixth. I'm not saying parts of my business couldn't be outsourced (they already are, if you count wire-service copy, imported software for page composition and that kind of thing), but I'm pretty sure operations that gather local news will always need to have at least a few local people on the payroll.
  • "Free trade" is a misnomer. Until I edited it out, "free trade" was used twice in the story to describe certain policies of the current administration. If the trade was truly free (I'm thinking of NAFTA here), I wouldn't have to pay duties to bring textiles in from Guatemala now, would I. Color me a cynic here, but I think "free trade" means about as much as "free market."

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