We live in a diverse and interdependent world; what happens locally has global effects and vice versa. So, it is important to be aware of policies, even if it seems boring, because the truth is many of these policies impact our lives in very serious ways.

The biggest problem with Free Trade is that it makes it easier for corporations to not be held accountable for the environmental, economic, and/or social destruction they cause. In addition, the only people who agree to these “agreements” are people who would directly benefit. Workers, union members, farmers, and other community members who it would greatly affect are given no access to these negotiation sessions.

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Source: Green Planet Ethics

Under NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) the U.S. experienced a loss of 3.2 million jobs from 1994-2000. Agricultural poverty in Mexico increased from 54% to 68% after NAFTA was implemented, causing the biggest farmer protest since 1930, which took place in January of 2003.

On the other hand, Fair Trade, is about creating a system where workers are guaranteed a fair wage and where food, as well as other products, are produced with sustainable methods. The ultimate goal under Fair Trade is to figure out the resources and needs of each country and then plan an equitable and just way for countries to trade the products they have for the products they need, instead of competing in a vicious cycle- based on making profit- that only leads to more pollution, poverty, and violence.

Kaira Portillo

Kaira Portillo

Kaira Portillo-Espinoza was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She is grateful for having grown up around such a wide spectrum of diversity, which makes the Bay Area the unique place it is. Her first published book, Poems About This Roller-Coaster Ride Called Life, is a collection of poems she wrote throughout high school and college and explores issues of injustice, resistance, sexuality, and empowerment. See more articles by this author >