Summary of The Selling of Free Trade

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

The Selling of Free Trade book summary


6 Overall

4 Applicability

6 Innovation

7 Style


John MacArthur, editor of Harper’s Magazine, is a persistent, resourceful and thorough reporter with an unapologetic opinion about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). MacArthur makes no attempt to disguise his disdain for the trade pact, which he describes as a measure designed to institutionalize US exploitation of Mexican workers, or for the politicians, businessmen and lobbyists who supported it. In researching this book, MacArthur interviewed many of the key national and international players who helped create NAFTA and found rare interviews with others. He illustrates the debate by presenting an analysis of NAFTA’s impact on workers at a US factory and on the Mexicans who replace them. Ironically, he paints such an effective portrait of the inner workings of the Mexican maquiladoras factories that US business leaders reading this book might be further enticed to relocate. The finest features of the book are its exhaustive treatment of the law-making process and its lucid judgment of the Washington establishment. getAbstract recommends this book to students of politics or international trade, business leaders interested in gaining insight into the antiglobalization movement, and anyone seeking to pass a bill in Congress.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a pawn in American presidential campaign politics,
  • Why the many American jobs NAFTA promised came to nothing,
  • Why US business leaders should move their operations to Mexico and
  • How former Mexican president Carlos Salinas ultimately harmed his country.

About the Author

John R. MacArthur is an award-winning journalist and author. He has been president and publisher of Harper’s Magazine since 1983.



NAFTA: A Story of Staples
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1993 was presented to the public in almost messianic terms. In rhetoric like that of the old Soviet Marxists, leaders and industrialists proclaimed that “economic forces” and “free trade” were creating unprecedented...

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category