In Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken does a marvelous job of summing up the problems with unfettered free market economics as he explores the reason that many NGOs work so hard. He writes that, “tens of thousands of NGOs work toward amending the market policies of globalization because markets are not designed to be surrogates for ethics, values, and justice. So great a number have been founded because their function is the opposite of uniform trade rules: they try to deliver specific solutions tailored to the individuals and places they address. Several NGOs filed a lawsuit that brought tens of millions of dollars in back wages and repatriation costs to thousands of indentured workers in Saipan [a strong act against injustice that I believe Gary Haugen might support]. These organizations were dismissed by free market gurus as a “radical ... fringe phenomenon,” and in one respect they are correct: the organizations that argue, demonstrate, and litigate for human rights are on the fringe. Why must such groups operate on the margins of society simply if they believe that social justice and human rights should not be sacrificed when corporations shift their manufacturing to the lowest-wage countries? History may wonder why so few cared so little about so many for so long [imphasis mine]. Critics of NGOs sincerely believe that the brutality, slavery, and colonial exploitation of the previous five centuries have effectively been vanquished, and the modern corporate march to global markets represents a new page in economic history. In fact, that expansion is fundamentally a predictable stage in the march of market economics; what is new is the global coordination of resistance to it.”
So why is my faith in free markets being restored? Because of today's New York Times article: Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization. Finally the price of energy may actually bring some sanity to the excesses of globilization and even reverse some of the damages. I'm certainly concerned that the upheaval will largely be on the backs of the underprivileged. It would be far better if – acting like God's children – we could avoided our mistakes and devise a more disruptive plan.
Oops – I better stop here, maybe I'll lose my faith in the free market once again.