In fact the fundamentally transformational effect that NAFTA has had across Mexican society—even beyond the exponential growth in trilateral trade that it brought about—is all too often understated. The political logic of NAFTA, for Mexico, was to safeguard trade liberalization through a “lock-in” effect. In theory, unilateral liberalization is the best trade option. No treaties or accords or negotiations are needed for this. However, in a nation with Mexico’s history of authoritarian, interventionist, and statist practices, the key to trade liberalization lay in finding a mechanism that would resist the reflex to pull back thus lessen the probability of unilateral de-liberalization in the future. As over 80 percent of Mexico’s trade and investment is with the United States, NAFTA provided a framework of credibility for long-term investment, one that has been (almost) immune to the caprices of changing political tides at home.
We rightly applaud when our neighbor across the street saves his dollars to start a new company in Tempe or Toledo, or to supply resources for improving the operation of a business in Fargo or Fayetteville. So why do we protest — as we do whenever we protest so-called U.S. trade deficits — when our neighbor across the ocean saves her dollars to start a new company in the U.S. or to invest in existing American companies?
We would all look with grateful wonder at a machine called an “amaizer” that turns American-grown corn into goods such as (depending on our particular desires) cars, clothing, and steel. So why do many of us look with ungrateful anxiety at a machine — also one that turns American-grown corn into the likes of cars, clothing, and steel — called a “cargo ship”?
Haven’t we seen this flick before?
Indeed, the plot doesn’t vary much among these episodic teaching moments from which we apparently learn nothing. The common denominator? White boys presumably exercising their white privilege at the expense of a minority victim — whether a black dancer (not) raped at a Duke University lacrosse team party or a female student (not) gang-raped at the University of Virginia. If the media doesn’t create a story from whole cloth, it stampedes to justice with the ethics and instincts of a starving honey badger.
No one is more disappointed by the outcome of this past Sunday’s NFC Championship game than me – a game that the New Orleans Saints lost because of an unambiguously bad (non)call by a referee. But I’m positively disgusted by politicians using this (let’s face it, inconsequential) event as the opportunity to perform a political stunt. The outcome of a football game is not remotely the business of the state or of state officials.