Ed  Averill's Point Of View

Free Trade --   Yes, but ....

The benefits of relatively open and "free" trade has been an engine that has powered progress since at least the time when Europeans made it easy to travel to the New World.  As long as there has been access to either a physical or mental frontier there has been the opportunity for people to try new solutions to problems in an open competition that benefitted society with the results.

On the other hand, as long as there have been people gathering in groups there have been bullies that may have climbed to the top with competition,  but once they have gotten there, have attempted to prevent others from being their competitors by coersion. 

Legal structures have helped provide the balance between broad competition and monopolistic bully competion.

Now, we have global competition because it has become cheap and easy to move both goods and ideas around the world -- amazingly quickly.

Poor people / cheap labor becomes a way of making anything,  if you want...  Both goods and ideas...

Right now there is a tendency to believe the "stockholder value" mantra in a 90-day results-reporting cycle.  Management of publicly traded companies feels required to obey the pull of quarterly results, and if that means decimating the long-term value of the company by using today's favorite cheap labor, they feel no choice.  Long term they are wrong, but no one has figured out how to measure either of two things, and therefore reward it as well as the quarterly results.

1.  The true long-term value of the knowledge in the company and it's employees.

2.  The value of good corporate citizenship in the community that supports them.