For years, we've been told the dictates of globalization, and the intrusive and prescriptive terms of free trade agreements in particular, are immutable, natural, and unquestionable. When workers were displaced by the migration of multinational capital toward more profitable jurisdictions, we were told there's nothing we can do about it except join the race to the bottom in a desperate attempt to hang onto our jobs. When investment and employment were undermined by lopsided trade and capital flows, and employers and financiers utilized the leverage afforded them by unrestrained international mobility to ratchet the distributional structure of the economy ever-more-blatantly in their own favour, we were informed this was just the logic of markets. And anyone who questioned
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Most of the world economy (including Canada's) has performed sluggishly since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09. And many economic and fiscal projections now accept this pattern of slow growth as more or less inevitable, as a "new normal." This argument is typically invoked to justify a ratcheting down of expectations regarding job prospects, incomes and public services.