Has NAFTA been a good thing for its participants?What to you think that the North America Free trade Agreement  has had a positive of harmful impact upon members/participants?   North American...

4 Answers

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It is difficult to say, because, as others have observed, many jobs have been outsourced to other countries that the United States does not have trade agreements with. So it is impossible to know the extent to which NAFTA has resulted in jobs being taken out of the country and certainly whether it has contributed to the "dire state of the economy presently." (Of course, by the same logic, it is difficult to know the impact the legislation has had on prices.)

In addition, the outsourcing of jobs was occurring before NAFTA, and some economists say it was more the result of a "structural shift" than the liberalization of trade policy. It seems to me that many of the developments blamed on NAFTA are examples of the post hoc ergo procter hoc fallacy. I do agree with critics who suggest that Mexico ought to agree to labor and environmental regulations as part of the agreement. But since the effects of the agreement on Mexico have been equally contested, I doubt whether that will occur.



trophyhunter1's profile pic

trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Unfortunately no. It has taken jobs out of our country and contributed to the dire state of the economy presently. Many jobs that are not highly skilled are now done in Mexico for way less money, putting many Americans out of work.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I know some people disagree with any restrictions on trade.  One of the main issues with NAFTA was already mentioned in post 2: outsourcing to Mexico and Canada.  However, there are plenty of countries that we do not have trade agreements with that our companies still have outsourced American jobs to, so I don't think it makes one bit of difference.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It has surely had both positive and negative impacts on various subgroups within both countries.  

It seems pretty clear that NAFTA has helped the United States to some degree.  We trade more with Mexico than we ever did before.  This helps consumers get goods at lower prices.  In the meantime, our GDP has typically gone up, making it hard to argue that NAFTA has resulted in Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound" of jobs going to Mexico.

However, it is also clear that some people are hurt by the deal.  Some people work in jobs that have gotten outsourced to Mexico.  These are typically the people with the least education and the fewest skills.  

Overall, then, it is very hard to quantify whether the agreement is beneficial overall.