This report is the third in a series of four reports on the nature and consequences of the globalization of the economy on working people and their communities. In two previous reports we argued that during the 1980's the Chicago area lost over 106,000 jobs resulting from plant closings and layoffs by corporations with significant operations in at least three countries. Further, over half of the jobs eliminated were lost by African-Americans and Latinos and one third by women. In addition, income in Illinois has been redistributed upward.
This paper argues that the present proposal for a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) represents a significant escalation of a process under way since the mid-1970's. That process involves a transnational corporate agenda, borne out of the collapse of Bretton Woods, and designed to resolve the crisis which brought on the collapse. The transnational corporate agenda has important implications for the popular organizing agenda. Organizing work around NAFTA cannot be solely focused on the defeat or even reform of the present NAFTA proposal.
A proposal for a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is now before the peoples of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Furthermore, it is likely that 108 nations or more will soon consider a new proposal for a General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). A major argument advanced in favor of these agreements is that they will generate export led growth that will benefit the peoples of all nations involved. Yet the process of economic integration which these proposals will greatly extend has been underway for some time.
In recent decades, the notion of a “revival of the local” has attracted widespread attention from academics and policy-makers. In contrast to the pervasive naturalization of national states, national economies, and national societies that prevailed during much of the Fordist-Keynesian period, localities and places are now back on the agenda across the political spectrum and within numerous strands of socialscientific analysis.
An essay elaborating a critical geographical perspective on neoliberalism that
emphasizes (a) the path-dependent character of neoliberal reform projects and (b)
the strategic role of cities in the contemporary remaking of political-economic space.