Contrary to Michael Sutton’s assertion in his Aug. 10 article, “What in the world happened to free trade?,” I think that free trade is impossible. Sutton attacks the easy target of protectionism, but governments do not control the real world. It is dominated instead by greed, fear and prejudice.
When the Chinese government fails to stop the rampant practice of injecting chemicals into pork to make it redder or showering agricultural produce with inhibitor pesticides, how can we comfortably import foods from China?
When Japanese industrial products that, by their nature, are not subject to radioactive contamination are rejected by importers because of health fears, how can free trade prevail?
What is the most free-flowing thing over most of the globe? It’s information, of course, but as more and more governmental and private institutions are hacked by state-sponsored and private information terrorists, is there not decreasing hope that we will see the latest culprits in handcuffs?
Every traded item has information attributed to it: where and how it was produced, the money that has been earned legally or illegally off its production, etc.
Yet, information can be manipulated very easily. It will be impossible to settle all the international trade disputes that will continue to increase because of the fear, prejudice and mistrust fueled by information manipulation.
Until all races mingle together to produce a unified humankind, nothing will be able to flow truly freely over the globe.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.