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The North American Free Trade Agreement

Why is Science for Peace opposed to NAFTA?

We believe that NAFTA (a) encourages us invest our scarce scientific, and engineering energy in the development of weapon systems; (b) will weaken Canada’s ability to use its resources to design and manufacture products in accordance with its own social needs; © is based on a scientifically false model of economics.

How does NAFTA encourage the militarisation of Science?

The authors of NAFTA believe that national subsidies are unfair in international trade: They ignore the obvious fact that any subsidy that makes some product cheaper must make others more expensive. Subsidies are merely a tool for setting priorities. NAFTA forbids subsidies (although it Makes make no provision to define that term) except in two fields. One of those fields Is defence production This exemption will lead to strong pressure on the government to subsidise those areas of technology that contribute to weapons development and to neglect areas that have only peaceful applications. It will also encourage the government to allow the military to control more research funding. In the U.S., the DOD provides more than half of the research funding in many high-technology fields the Pentagon sets the research, agenda. Under NAFTA we would move in that direction.

How do these agreements weaken Canada’s independent development abilities?

In the name of “efficiency”, “Free Trade” agreements encourage internationalisation of design, development and manufacturing. Often, multinational firms have distributed their facilities in such a way that no single country, except perhaps the U.S., could design and manufatture major products on its own. This interdependence even interferes with the ability of a country to set its own safety standards. We should recall that multinational car manufacturers opposed Canada’s decision to require daytime running lights because U.S. models would not have them. In Europe, international agreements have prevented countries from forbidding the use of dangerous chemicals in paints and from setting their own standards for telephones. NAFTA could make it difficult for us to follow Sweden in requiring paper manufacturers to clean up their production process.

Internationalisation’even interferes with our defence capability. We are forced to sell parts and buy complete systems. However, the weapons that we purchase are often weaker than those the U.S.uses itself. Significant systems and capabilities are missing from the aircraft and other weapons that the U.S. sells to its allies and other customers. This allows other countries to support weapon development while guaranteeing that other countries will not have weapons as powerful as those used by U.S. aimed forces.

What is the economic theory of free trade?

The present and proposed agreements are based on the assumption that all value can be represented in terms of a single unit, the dollar. Mathematically, this is the assumption that a vector can be repretehted as a single scalar; this is clearly false. A proper economic analysis does not simply measure net production in dollars, but:looks at individual ‘commodities to determine how well an economic system meets the needs of its participants and if it makes .good use of the resources available to it. Measurement in terms Of monetary value alone leads a country to become a true “banana republic” — producing the products that maximize dollar value but failing to feed, house, educate, provide medical care for, or employ its people.

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