|Wednesday, July 30, 2003|
Yesterday: “Greensboro-based VF Jeanswear plans to lay off more than 1,800 employees in August and September at its plants in
Today: “Unable to find a buyer, Pillowtex Corp. has halted all manufacturing and dismissed 6,450 employees, or almost 85 percent of its work force.”
Tomorrow? Maybe a presidential candidate will talk seriously about dealing with the effects of free trade – not closing our borders, but coping with the fallout of globalization.
7:55:25 PM comment 
3:02:43 PM comment 
Eric Muller has a conundrum: should he serve as faculty adviser to a student group at UNC law school that advocates a political view with which he disagrees?
On the one hand, the students need an adviser, and he believes the school should foster a meaningful diversity of political opinion. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to get labeled as a supporter of a cause he emphatically doesn’t support.
Eric has gotten a lot of thoughtful comments, many urging him to go for it – to tell the group where he stands on their issue, then take the job if it’s still offered. I think it’s good advice, maybe. But if his opposition to the group’s stance is visceral and based on personal morals, rather than intellectual and based on reading of law, then I think he’s got to say no.
As far as the opinion of others goes, he’s already published his misgivings, his thought process, and his principles at his weblog. His public deliberation has already revealed him to be a man of honor.
2:43:11 PM comment 
“Free trade is the economic issue almost nobody in the 2004 presidential race wants to touch,” writes John Harwood in this morning’s Wall Street Journal (pay site).
That’s because “free trade” has become an ideology, not a policy. You can’t question the faith without being a heretical protectionist.
The candidates are afraid of big corporations, too. “What makes the issue all the more complex politically is that many China backers are themselves U.S. multinationals who have set up in China in force,” says a companion article on the Journal’s front page.
Of course, you aren’t allowed to criticize corporations any more than you are allowed to question trade policy.
Like other forms of market worship, the idealization of free trade obscures the complexities of real-world systems. Free trade is a good thing, but it is often unfairly manipulated. And even policies that are net positives can have painful side effects.
This issue should belong to John Edwards. He comes from a state that’s getting creamed by trade with
I’m a happy capitalist, and I know textile companies are the spear point of industrialization and were bound to leave
Voters can handle the complexity, they can get their minds around capitalism’s contradictions. They understand that the low prices they love at Wal-Mart come at a cost. A smart candidate should respect the intelligence of the people and address these competing realities.
12:39:06 PM comment