Little Bit Tidbits

When I retrieved the five-year-old from school today, she had a balloon
on a string, courtesy of a classmate who was having a birthday. 
She’d insisted her teacher tie it securely around her wrist.  If
you click here, you’ll know why.

This evening we read Little Bit’s current favorite bedtime book, the
story of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.  She wanted to know if
Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins were still
alive.  I told her they were.

“I’m glad they’re alive, because I want to meet them someday and tell them that I read some books about them.”

and

“What Apollo mission will I be on when I’m an astronaut?”

and

“When I grow up, I’m going to be a mommy, an astronaut, and a jumproper.”

Noble ambitions, all of them.

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21 thoughts on “

  1. I lost many a balloon to the selfishness of the wind. I always feel bad when I see a balloon caught in a tree because I know some child is howling “This is the worst day ever!”   I hope Little Bit achieves all of her ambitions someday.

  2. AS a feminist, I really hope that our daughters’ generation finally figures out how to balance motherhood, space travel, and professional rope-jumping. 🙂

  3. RYC: how did NAFTA cause the failure of the Mexican economy? Wasn’t it in the tank before NAFTA? And doesn’t free trade allow them to export more goods than they did before?True, the Mexican economy was not exactly booming before the signing of NAFTA. In fact, it was the widening trade deficit in the first place that made NAFTA look so appealing to Mexico. However, NAFTA has significantly worsened that deficit, and, according to the albeit very left-leaning US-based nonprofit Global Exchange, has directly contributed to removing 1.5 million Mexican farmers from their land.Yes, Mexico has greater access to the global economy and can therefore export more goods. Unfortunately, heavily-subsidized agribusiness in the US has devalued Mexican exports, thus widening the trade deficit, and the net growth of the Mexican economy has been only a fraction of what it should be. US agribusiness, thanks to those subsidies, has managed to produce a surplus of cheap grains—and what better way to get rid of it all than to dump it on Mexico? Well, thanks to NAFTA, this process has become much easier. The result is that Mexican farmers are being ousted by the mass quantity of imported grain and Mexico’s chief exports—tomatoes and feeder cattle, for instance—are much less useful (i.e. less valuable) to the United States. The trade deficit has worsened at the cost of nutritional sovereignty, higher food prices for the poor and the loss of way too many jobs.The rhetoric on the right these days is that free trade leads to development, but countless examples (and NAFTA is one of them) prove otherwise. When the United States was in its infancy, it relied heavily on tariffs to help control the flow of trade and to stimulate a strong industrial/manufacturing sector. By using regulation to help build a trade balance that included more exports than imports, the US was able to become a country whose chief import was not raw materials.NAFTA doesn’t allow for this kind of development. It assumes that each country will focus on its comparative advantage (the product or crop that is easiest and most natural to produce… like sugar cane in Jamaica) and the economy will become more efficient for all parties involved. The major flaw in this logic is the fact that some countries comparative advantages happen to be more valuable than others—oil in the Middle East is a prime example.In the case of Mexico—their comparative advantage right now is cheap labor, thanks in part to NAFTA. And of course, in the case of this particular comparative advantage, the US is all in favor of barriers and restrictions.You can find a good discussion of the negative effects of NAFTA here, if you read Spanish, or here if you don’t. Please note that the translation comes courtesy of Google and therefore sucks. Also, TLCAN=NAFTA and where in the English version you find the word “uses,” it should say “jobs.”Oxfam is a good resource for discussions on trade liberalization, and here is an article about a woman from the organization that published the document I linked to above. Please note that while Oxfam lies left of center on this issue, it is actually considered a moderate organization in the scope of the debate on economic development.As always, of course, Wikipedia also hosts an excellent (although uncredited) discussion of NAFTA.Anyway, sorry to clutter your comments with my response!Laura

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