is globalization? What is good about globalization? What is
Threat or Opportunity” is an article by the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) that explains the concept of globalization
and argues that it is, in sum, a good thing.
A Primer” is written for the lay person and tries
to put economic ideas into everyday language. The author, Mark
Weisbrot, is critical of the current process of globalization,
blaming it for falling growth rates, increased inequality and
declining wages for the average worker. The sections “Is
Globalization Progress” and “Comparative Advantage” are
especially clear and offer a contrasting opinion to the IMF
Labor Standards and the Global Economy” lays out
the challenges labor faces in a global economy where capital
is mobile and workers are not. The author argues that international
labor standards are a critical first step in combating low
wages, poor working conditions and income polarization.
an article that looks at the process of globalization from several
different angles and tries to offer solutions for making the
process more equitable.
Erodes Local Languages, Fuels ‘Glocal’ English” looks
at how the need for global efficiency is causing English to
replace local languages.
Culture, and Identities in Crisis” is a long, but
interesting article on how globalization affects culture and
identity. It analyzes the differences between how globalization
of culture is received in countries with “modern values” like
Europe and Japan and those with “traditional values” like
many Islamic states. It is written by a political scientist
and an artist, and they each try to use their area of expertise
to understand cultural change.
did the United States, Mexico and Canada decide to sign the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
New U.S.–Mexico Relationship” is
an excellent, albeit long, article that analyzes the recent
history, not only of NAFTA, but also of other binational issues
such as immigration and drug trafficking. The paper was written
in 1997, but on most topics it does not seem dated. Very clear,
balanced and informative.
to ‘No:’ Defending Against Claims in NAFTA” is
a fascinating paper prepared for the conference “Developing
Countries and the Trade Negotiation Process” held in
Geneva, Switzerland in 2003. It explains the strategies that
Mexico used in the process of negotiating NAFTA with the United
States and gives tips to other developing countries that need
to make deals with more powerful governments.
Why were the side agreements
on labor and the environment added to the original agreement?
you read one article about NAFTA’s side agreements, this
should be it. “Negotiating
the NAFTA: Political Lessons for the FTAA” gives
an overview of the history that led up to the drafting of the
NAFTA treaty under the first President Bush and explains why
labor and environmental side agreements were added under Clinton.
It also details the backlash that the U.S. insistence on these
agreements caused in both Canada and Mexico.
the labor side agreement protect workers? How have labor unions
adapted to NAFTA and globalization?
and after: Unions test labor side agreements” the
author argues that even though the side agreements are very
weak, they have encouraged cross-border union organizing and
provided an international forum where workers can protest illegal
actions and human rights abuses.
American Labor Under NAFTA” is a very long but thorough
and balanced paper on how labor has been impacted by NAFTA.
Double Standard: What Can You Do if Your Rights Are Violated” compares
the legal options available to the business community and workers
New Global Economy: Trade and Production Under Nafta,” a
paper on labor, productivity and wages in Mexico, Harley Shaiken
uses the Mexican auto industry as a case study to support his
claim that there is “a paradox associated with a new
international division of labor: world-class productivity and
quality are driven by first world markets, while wages are
set based on third world institutions.”
the environmental side agreement protect the environment? What
positive developments have come out of the North American Commission
for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC)? What have been its shortcomings?
Enforcement Submission Process Under NAFTA’s Environmental
Side Agreement” explains how citizens can bring complaints
to the NACEC against the NAFTA governments for failing to enforce
their own environmental laws. The author explains how the complaint
is processed by the NAAEC and points out flaws in the system.
and the Environment: Lessons for Trade Policy” is
the text of a speech by Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Diana Orejas
of the Institute for International Economics. It gives an outline
of crucial events in the history of the environmental side
agreement. It also includes a table that lays out the strengths
and weaknesses of the agreement.
is Chapter 11? Why are citizens — and governments — concerned
Rights, Public Problems: A Guide to NAFTA's Chapter on Investor
Rights,” was put out by the International Institute
for Sustainable Development in 2001. It gives a clear, detailed
and thoughtful explanation of Chapter 11: why it was enacted,
how it is being used and how it might be amended. The article
is long — 64 pages plus annexes —but its length
allows it to do justice to a complex topic. It argues that
Chapter 11 has been transformed from a “shield” designed
to protect investors from expropriation, to a “sword” which
can be used to challenge any law that might threaten the profitability
of their business. This article is rare in that in addition
to describing the problem, it lays out realistic steps that
could be taken to make the Chapter 11 process more fair and
Chapter 11 and the Environment: A Discussion Paper for the
CEC’s Public Workshop on Chapter 11” is an
updated (2003) and abbreviated version of the above article.
Powerful Little Secret; Obscure Tribunals Settle Disputes,
but Go Too Far, Critics Say” is a New York Times
article that examines the role of the secretive Chapter 11
tribunals and their power to overturn national laws.
Globalization” Chris Mooney examines Chapter 11 from
a states’ rights perspective.
Chapter 11 Threatens the Environment and Democracy” gives
a brief overview of the consequences of Chapter 11 in two high-profile
cases: Methanex v. the United States and Ethyl v. Canada.
Canadian article on Chapter 11, “Government
Relations Communications No Longer Secret” examines
how Chapter 11 has forced the Canadian government to produce
documents that could formerly be kept secret on the basis of
Crown privilege. The authors argue that the documents produced
during Chapter 11 proceedings show that the Canadian government,
influenced by native lobbyists, passed protectionist trade rules
in the guise of health and environmental regulations.
Chapter 11: Environmental Claims” is an article in
law.com that analyzes Chapter 11 from a legal perspective.
How has globalization affected
patterns of growth in Mexico?
Urbanization, and Population Growth on the Border” describes
how the maquiladora industry has caused a population boom in
the medium-sized cities near the border. The author analyzes
how this demographic change has affected national politics,
migration patterns and the environment.
American Perspectives: The Maquila Program Its Challenges Ahead,” the
author makes the case that Mexican President Salinas de Gortari
pushed for NAFTA because he believed it would make Mexico a
Latin American economic leader. It goes on to analyze the problem
of “saturation of infrastructure” in the maquila
region, that is infrastructure strained to the breaking point
by new development and population growth.
Who benefits from NAFTA? Who
does not? Is there a way to distribute the benefits and costs
of NAFTA more equally?
of NAFTA brings pains, gains” is a balanced article
that tallies up NAFTA’s winners and losers from a mainly
NAFTA Failed Mexico” makes the case that NAFTA has
increased, rather than decreased immigration from Mexico to
the U.S. by engineering the depopulation of rural Mexico.
the New York Times article “Nafta
to Open Foodgates, Engulfing Rural Mexico” from Dec.
19, 2002 explores rural Mexicans reactions to the end of Mexican
tariffs on U.S. farm products.
Market Upheaval Grinds Mexico’s Middle Class” outlines
the precarious state of the Mexican middle class.
al TLCAN somos la novena economía: Fox” Fox
gives NAFTA credit for making Mexico the ninth-largest economy
in the world. However, he also promises assistance to rural
workers to help them adapt to increased competition from the
U.S. and Canada.
prosperidad que se ofreció con el TLCAN nunca llegó” argues
that NAFTA has undermined Mexico’s industries and threatened
its food security.
explosión que viene” is an editorial that
claims that conditions have become so bad in rural Mexico,
due to the inability of campesinos to compete with subsidized
American industrial agriculture, that an explosion of popular
resistance could occur in the near future.
is sustainable development? Does NAFTA in particular and globalization
more generally, lead to greater sustainable development in
Real Progress” pokes holes in the assumption
that development can be measured by a country’s Gross
Domestic Product (GDP). The author, Ronald Colman, argues that
a new measure — the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) — should
be used to account not only for economic activity but also
social and environmental costs.
the NY Times Article from Aug. 7, 2003 “Grim
Facts on Global Poverty” reports on the release of
the United Nations Human Development Report. According to the
report, the economies of many countries stagnated during the
1990s and several are actually doing worse now than 20
and Globalization” lays out some of the issues that
surround sweatshops in the third world.
Relative Impact of Trade Liberalization on Developing Countries” explores
the hidden costs of economic liberalization. The first two
sections of the article are very accessible. When the authors
begin exploring the flaws of various economic models in the
third section, it because more technical.
A Cautionary Tale” argues that NAFTA has not led
to greater development in Mexico. It uses NAFTA’s record
in Mexico to argue against the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
NAFTA be expanded? If so, what steps should be taken to further
integrate Canada, Mexico and the United States?
We Trade NAFTA for a Customs Union?” offers a Canadian
perspective on the benefits of deepening NAFTA to create a
Control of North America: And How to Bring NAFTA Under Popular
Governance” argues that corporate elites in all three
NAFTA countries have benefited from the agreement while ordinary
citizens, the environment and labor have not. The author calls
for a reopening of NAFTA to include “enforceable human
and labor rights, social protections and the preservation of
North American Community” is the text of a speech
by Robert Pastor in which he argues that deepening the integration
of the NAFTA countries will improve the security of all three.
NAFTA: A Common Frontier” proposes creating common
border policies in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico in order to
enhance security, legalize migration and promote trade.
A New Trajectory for Globalization,” reports on a talk
given by David Bonior at the Center for Latin American Studies
where he advocated for a North American Parliamentary Union that
would create a forum for consistent cooperation between the three
NAFTA countries and work to create a more transparent system
for resolving issues of continental concern.