Economy and Trade
Free Trade sounds good ... Fair Trade works!
So you can understand the
intricacies of 17th century philosophy? Reformat a hard drive? AND dance
the tango quick-step?
But, Economics? It’s
frightening, fuzzy, tangled, and ... absolutely
crucial to your basic survival! Worse, what you’ve read by economists seems
to be written in some language other than yours.
HELADA members, with few exceptions, face the same problem. We understand the basics. In a capitalist system, supply and demand, to oversimplify it, will keep prices and the ability to pay for things in balance. After all, labor is also subject to supply and demand. In a socialist system, prices and wages are set so as to balance needs with ability to pay.
It seems as though either system should
work. And, in fact, the US and most western market
societies have developed a mix of the two: competitiveness leavened with
public-financed services and enough regulation to keep the very strong
from grabbing everything. This approach grew out of hard times, namely the
Great Depression of the 1930’s. In Europe, economic disparity fueled
tensions that led to WWII, and correction came after the war.
In recent decades, however, the
pendulum swung back, and many regulations were cast aside in the name of
‘free trade.’ New and sometimes mysterious financial products were
added to the mix. By the 4th quarter of 2008, the financial
sector had begun to unravel with alarming speed.
Reasonable regulation looks attractive again and correction is underway. Overall, HELADA members agree that this is welcome and overdue. If we, and the rest of the world, feel that our needs are met and our efforts are rewarded, the disparities that drive conflict will be reduced.