合作还是暴动?

尤金—2010年,我和负责跨太平洋合作伙伴关系(TPP)的美国贸易谈判助理芭芭拉·维塞尔(Barbara Weisel)一起坐在谈判桌前。TPP是包括越南、马来西亚和其他十个环太平洋国家之间的大型地区自由贸易条约,奥巴马政府希望可以在几周之内完成谈判。当时,我是美国众议院教育和劳动委员会顾问,因此成为国际贸易条约劳动标准方面的国会最高负责人。

此次会面的目的是让国会知道奥巴马政府在保护美国劳动者免于与来自低工资贸易伙伴的劳动者进行不公平竞争方面采取了那些措施。我问了维塞尔一个在我看来十分简单的问题:“白宫对民主持何态度?”维塞尔问此话怎讲,我解释说:国会民主党大部分都支持一个原则,那就是美国只能和民主国家签署贸易协定。

其他民主国家也这么认为。比如,英联邦成员之间的贸易协定就包含这样的条款。其中的逻辑是显而易见的:如果我们发达民主国家没有游行示威权利、发声权利、组织工会的权利和投票选举代表的权利,那么我们就永远无法解决童工问题、建立八小时工作制。我们通过这些权利提高了我们自身的生活水平,现在也不能让发达国家的劳动者与缺少改善自身生活条件所需的基本自由的劳动者直接竞争。

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