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Category Archives: Free Trade

The Natural Strategic Tariff

  SINCE 1970, American imports have gone from just over five percent of GDP to roughly 17 percent today, and the number of American industrial jobs has plummeted. One compelling argument against a protectionist  industrial policy is that it would further empower intrusive and ever-expanding bureaucratic government. In his book Free Trade Doesn’t Work, Ian Fletcher addresses this issue. He proposes a flat, across-the-board […]

An Auto Plant Likely to Reopen

  A GENERAL MOTORS plant that closed two years ago in Tennessee is expected to reopen under a new contract agreement that will allow G.M. to hire union workers for about half the standard wages. An article in today’s New York Times is an interesting look at how jobs that were headed to Mexico were recovered. Here is an excerpt:

A Sane Theory of Economic Nationalism

  I HIGHLY recommend Kristor’s most recent comments on trade policy, which offer a coherent, traditionalist approach to foreign competition. To call Kristor’s views “libertarian” is grossly inaccurate. He recognizes the integrity of the community and its duty to protect members from economic harm. Since it is difficult to read his points in the current format, I have chosen a few excerpts to highlight here: Freedom […]

When Factories Are Empty

  BOB writes: The entire free trade discussion is wrong-headed. We are in a transition in manufacturing technology that will eventually eliminate almost all manufacturing jobs. Someday, working in a factory will be as common as working on a farm. The real economic question is, how do we distribute the wealth created by manufacturing if […]

More Debate on Free Trade

  THE DISCUSSION on free trade continues here, with comments from additional readers and a very lengthy response to his critics from Kristor, who concludes his argument with this: From my point of view, protectionists are urging us to slap a big Ace bandage over an open gangrenous wound. The rot in our culture goes deep. In dealing […]

An Essay on Character, Community and Globalization

  LAURENCE BUTLER, a reader of this site, is the author of the following essay, which was written for an essay contest held by the Libertarian ISI group in Virginia. The topic of the contest was, “Can Character and Community Survive in an Age of Globalization?” Mr. Butler’s response was, in so many words, “No, they can’t.”  The […]

Praying for Protectionism

  THE DISCUSSION of free trade continues. Many readers passionately argue that economic ideologues have caused the catastrophic de-industrialization of America. A reader in the latest thread writes: I have a B.A. in economics, something I am profoundly ashamed of. I have most of a Masters in Econ and did some courses with Murray Rothbard who was a spellbinding lecturer and like […]

The Global Free Market and Virtue

   GREG JINKERSON writes: Kristor has made brilliant remarks about the drawbacks of protectionism, but all of his criticisms are leveled against state-planned protectionism, rather than answering the axiomatic truth that a businessman is just as bound up morally with his community as any other individual. I don’t know where Kristor stands on the issue of […]

The Problem is Not Free Trade, But Liberalism

  KRISTOR writes: Free trade  would work great for us, and we would retain all those high tech industries, if we wanted to. But we don’t. How can I tell that we don’t? Because unlike the Chinese, we load all sorts of economic burdens on our producers: regulations, high corporate taxes, labor rules, etc. We […]

A Debate on Free Trade

   IAN FLETCHER, author of Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace it and Why, which has been discussed here before, debates Forbes columnist Tim Worstall at Huffington Post. Fletcher writes: America right now is being inexorably stripped of its most valuable industries by its naïve embrace of one-sided free trade. Here’s the Harvard Business Review‘s list of […]

Some Trade Deficit Facts

  THE Coalition for a Prosperous America’s site has  a concise overview of our trade deficits, their effects on the economy and proposals for what to do about them in this fact sheet. According to the coalition: We have trade deficits in virtually all sectors, from low tech to high tech to green tech. Agriculture has ceded […]

Comments on Free Trade

  THE LATEST DISCUSSION on free trade has been particularly interesting. One reader in that entry made the point that capital raised in offshore industry is reinvested in our economy and leads to further innovation and new industries at home. In response, the reader R.S. writes: And that productive capital can in future be invested […]

Free Trade: The Luxury We Can No Longer Afford

  R.S. WRITES: One commenter in the previous discussion mentioned Toyota, I would like to hold that company up to the claim made by another reader that protectionism always leads to shoddy union practices and inferior products. Interested readers might like to review the history of that superlative manufacturer when evaluating theoretical objections to protectionism.

Explaining Protectionism

  IAN FLETCHER recently discussed his book Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace it and Why on Thom Hartmann’s TV show “Conversations with Great Minds.” You can view the program here. Fletcher criticizes what he calls the “intellectual corruption” and the “ultra mathematicization” of academic economics.

Protectionism: An American Tradition

  FROM IAN FLETCHER’S book, Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace it and Why: The idea that America’s economic tradition has been economic liberty, laissez faire, and wide-open cowboy capitalism – which would naturally include free trade – resonates well with our national mythology. It fits the image of this country held by both […]