Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Monday, February 13, 2006

NAFTA's Impact on Canadians

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What has NAFTA's impact on Canadians been? Has the free trade agreement been beneficial or detrimental us? The results of NAFTA's implementation which will allow us to judge this can be broadly categorized into two disciplines of the social sciences: economics and sociology.
In the coming weeks I will be researching this highly controversial topic and presenting my findings, analysis and conclusions to you.
Since I'm a centrist, I don't already have a position on NAFTA. In fact, my interest in the agreement is due to the fact there are so many people spinning the data to make their own case that I thought analyzing the information and impacts myself would be the best way to make an informed opinion on the topic.
Broadly, in economics, I will be using the following measurements and indicators to analyse NAFTA's impact.
  1. GDP growth per capita. This includes real GDP and nominal GDP, and the difference between the two to look at inflation.
  2. Average salary change.
  3. Net trade balance: surpluses and deficits. I may also get into the current and capital accounts. If you don't know what these terms mean, there'll be an explanation of all this technical jargon to clear it all up.
  4. Savings/Investment rates. Are Canadians putting their money aside and/or making it grow? These indicators should tell us.
In sociology, the Gross Progress Index is a great idea, and it's much better for measuring progress than the misued GDP growth rate. The metrics and measurements I'll be using are:
  1. Life expectancy.
  2. Pollution - air and water will be the primary areas of interest, but if I can find information on forests, and on flora and fauna generally, I'll try and integrate that in.
  3. Equality of social groups. Races, wealth, education, etc.
  4. Criminality.
  5. Homelessness.
  6. Drug usage.
  7. Poverty.
  8. Infant mortality.
  9. Literacy.
Of course, it's not enough to see what's been happening. Correlation does not imply causation, so whatever I find, I need to show causality. To do that, I will compare the 10 years since NAFTA to the 10 years before. Since globalization in the modern, tech-oriented sense (as opposed to the Europe just discovered the New World sense; "presenting, ladies and gentlemen, and children of all agesGlobalization! New colonies and fur trades!...)of the word is pretty new, this is a fair time period to look at.

I hope you keep following these posts, as the research and findings will be fascinating, and if they're good enough, I may even try and pitch the concept to a few newspapers/journals.

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