Rethinking Free Trade – Podcast #22

Continuing with my series on conservatism, I note again that far from standing firm on timeless principles, conservatives have in fact changed their mind on many of the most basic elements of society. This includes civil rights and the nature of gender and the family.

If they themselves say that they were wrong about such fundamental things, why would anyone believe they are right about anything else? Certainly, we should be open to rethinking many other conservative dogmas, including free trade.

Economists have long argued that free trade is close to a free lunch, an unambiguous win-win in which any negative disruptions it causes will be modest and short lived.  In this podcast I look at those arguments, going back in time to the era in which NAFTA and the Uruguay Round of global trade talks were taking place, and China was preparing for entry into the global trading framework.

The economic predictions of the free traders were wrong and the critics completely vindicated. The future course of events was accurately predicted by critics of dogmatic free trade, something it look nearly two decades for the economists to admit was true.

You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsYouTube, and elsewhere. Check out the other podcasts here.

Items referenced:

Global Squeeze: The Coming Crisis for First World Nations (1998)

The China Shock: https://www.nber.org/papers/w21906

Vox interview with an author of the China Shock study: https://www.vox.com/new-money/2017/3/29/15035498/autor-trump-china-trade-election

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