Let’s Hope That This Isn’t the Higher Ed Version of the NAFTA


When the North American Free Trade Agreement was formally initiated, its advocates predicted an economic boom that would benefit everyone, while its detractors warned that it would be a disaster for American workers and the natural environment. Predictably, neither side seems to have been completely right. NAFTA has resulted in the largest trading bloc in the world, and it has generally been very good for the bottom lines of corporations in all three participating nations. Likewise, although it has led to some serious degradation of the environment, those issues have been more local than continent-wide. On the other hand, it has greatly reduced employment in U.S. manufacturing while only marginally improving long-term employment and wages in Mexican plants. Ross Perot famously warned that American workers would hear a giant sucking sound as their jobs moved south of the border; well, some Mexican factory workers have subsequently heard that same sound…

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