The Cost of Free Trade

Source: Joel R. Paul, University of California Hastings College of the Law, UC Hastings Research Paper No. 162, February 8, 2016

From the abstract:
The two misconceptions — that globalization is unprecedented, accelerating, and predetermined and that trade benefits everyone — form the central justifications for negotiating free trade agreements. In fact, there is little evidence to support either of these assumptions. When we begin to scrutinize them more closely, we find that their application leads to an international legal structure that routinely undermines national standards for protecting workers and the environment. I do not mean to suggest that international trade is a bad thing. In fact, under the right circumstances global trade can increase competition and give consumers a wider choice of goods and services at lower prices. Instead, I argue that it is possible to reform our trading system in order to both increase competition and raise regulatory standards to benefit developing as well as industrialized countries.