In response to your Dec. 16 Viewpoint (“Free trade provides chance for change,” Page 6), I have to disagree with your views on free trade as a tool for spreading ideas and education to undemocratic nations.
I think the American view that most of these nations have no skill or technology is totally wrong. Many of these nations invest a lot of money to compete in the manufacturing sector of the world. It is up to these governments to ensure the prosperity of their own people. Not the United States.
So why is the United States government so freely allowing American companies to set up shop in these countries and pay wages that should be considered a joke? Some of these companies even often violate Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Environmental Protection Agency rules that they would have to adhere to in the United States.
Products are made overseas with cut-rate manufacturing, often with lesser quality, then shipped back to the United States to sell for a price that would be comparable to if it was already made here.
Do any of these extra profits trickle down to workers? Probably not. While the quality of life in these nations is trying to get better, the governments ensure their own people do not get a taste of any prosperity. In the meantime, the quality of life for the U.S. worker is rapidly declining, due to the work being sent overseas by American companies.
These nations are usually so oppressive, the only ones that will prosper are the governments themselves and the American CEOs that occupy their soil. I have worked very hard to be paid what I get, and I just can't sit back and watch my industry as I know it go down the toilet in the U.S. because of unrealistic visions. As a reservist in the U.S. Navy, I would like to think that if I ever get mobilized for a possible war with Iraq that my company would still be around when I get back.
The result at Tiananmen Square would still have been the same even if those students had had a couple extra bucks in their pockets.
3-D Mold & Tool