such diffuse organizations as the Chambers of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Business Advisory Council have taken
strong positions in favor of the agreement.
However, the extent of interest group agreement around NAFTA is a
product of the regional nature of the agreement, which attracts different
multinationals for different reasons. Whereas multilateralists see it as an
important step for reinvigorating GATT, regionalists view it as additional
leverage against foreign competition. The likelihood of such a powerful
free trade coalition emerging in another, nonregional context is minimal
at best. Equally interesting is that even with such a high degree of unity
in the corporate community over NAFTA, the agreement is politically divisive, with nationalists being led by the unlikely bedfellows of organized
labor and Ross Perot in opposing the accord. If, in fact, multilateralism is
in part the product of interest group pressure, then the future of the global
trading regime looks increasingly shaky in the 1990s.
The Reagan campaign of 1979 borrowed from many of the same financial
and corporate elites who had supported the Goldwater campaign in 1964. At its
core was a group of western businessmen that included Jack Wrather, an independent oilman and director of several corporations, among them Continental Airlines,
Capitol Records, and Muzak; Joseph Coors, the archreactionary head of Coors
Brewery and a major donor to right-wing foundations, including the Hoover Institution; Earle Jorgenson, a director of the Jorgenson Steel Company, Northrup,
Kerr-McGee Oil, and the American Iron and Steel Institute and a trustee of Cal
Tech; William Simon, former treasury secretary under Nixon, and later served on
the directorship of Dart Industries, Citibank, Xerox, and the Hoover Institution. By
1979 Simon was one of the ideological giants of the corporate right as president
of the Olin Foundation, which aggressively financed conservative authors throughout the later part of the decade. Also important to Reagan was foreign policy adviser Richard Allen, whose support for dramatic increases in military spending can
be traced to his close ties to pro-Israeli lobbies. Allen, like many other Reagan advisers and, later, policy officials, was a member of the Committee on the Present
Danger's executive committee, a lobbying arm for multinational firms, domestic
military contractors, and former Pentagon officials who championed dramatic increases in military spending. For useful background, see Philip Burch, “Reagan,
Bush and Right-Wing Politics, ” in Paul Zarembka, ed., Research in Political Economy (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1997).
For an account of the increasing internationalization of the U.S. economy
and the corresponding growth of the political power of U.S.-based international finance, see Jeff Frieden, Banking on the World: The Politics of American International Finance (New York: Harper and Row, 1987), esp. pp. 196–246. For the
growth of international political organizations linked to international finance and
influential in promoting a neoliberal agenda, see Stephen Gill, American Hegemony and The Trilateral Commission (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1990), esp. pp. 220–231. For a discussion of the increased structural position of
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: U.S. Politics and the Global Economy: Corporate Power, Conservative Shift.
Contributors: Ronald W. Cox - Author, Daniel Skidmore-Hess - Author.
Publisher: Lynne Rienner.
Place of publication: Boulder, CO.
Publication year: 1999.
Page number: 197.
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