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October 05, 2006

Re: Big Ideas and No Boundaries

[To Tom Freidman re: Re: Big Ideas and No Boundaries, published in the NYT on 10/5/2006; also posted as a comment on Huffington Post re: David Sirota's Another Open Letter to Thomas Friedman]

Tom, I think you set up an exagerrated and false dichotomy.  If you listen to the voices out there, I don’t think you hear protectionism.  You hear concern, certainly, but the view isn’t “shut our borders” it is “fair trade” vs “free” trade.  You like to pretend it is just Joe software engineer versus Prashant software engineer, but it goes much deeper.

Fair trade ideas are about, as you must know, not out-sourcing pollution with the jobs, not trying to compete in a rush to the bottom by competing against economies that don’t have worker protections to allow collective bargaining, to be treated fairly, to be actually paid for the work they do, etc.

By saying that anyone who thinks that there are real, serious issues with the current world trading system must be only the most extreme opposite is to miss the point and frankly, knowing how well informed you generally are, seems intellectually dishonest.

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