Carrier Workers Don’t See The Benefits Of Free Trade

March 22, 2016

Smartphones and social media have allowed people to capture and share daily events in their lives as quickly and as easily as ever. The good, such as heroic rescues and random acts of kindness, and the bad, events like robberies and car crashes, are captured and posted to Facebook or YouTube for all to see. Technology has taken what was already considered a small world and made it downright miniscule. In addition, things that may have gone unnoticed but for a headline in the paper are now given context and emotion that can make them front page news.

Take a video recorded by an employee of a Carrier factory in Indianapolis that shows the moment when an executive told the employees their 1,400 jobs making furnaces and heating equipment will be migrating south to Mexico. Seconds after the announcement is made, an angry energy seizes the room and expletives are tossed at the executive on stage like rotten tomatoes.

The video, which went viral, was a very intimate look into some of the negatives associated with free trade. As The New York Times reports, Carrier’s decision to move the factory to Mexico was strictly a business decision. Workers in Mexico can make about $19 a day, which is less than what many of the Carrier factory employees made in an hour.

The viral video of the Carrier announcement has even reached its tentacles into this year's presidential campaign, as Donald Trump saw the video and has used it as a talking point for why he believes free trade is an issue that needs some adjusting. Trump’s solution? Impose a 35 percent tax on Carrier products form Mexico in an effort to bring jobs back to America.

The problem is that the costs and benefits associated with free trade are not evenly distributed. It has led to a more advanced economy, but it has also resulted in a large trade deficit and factory jobs drying up in and disappearing completely from some places.

This is a problem without a simple solution, and while tariffs might help, manufacturing jobs have been decreasing for decades.

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