Friday, March 20, 2009

How Will Obama Address the Issue of Trade?

I thought McCain's points about free trade were his strongest arguments during the debate. Unfortunately, it's much easier to turn protectionist during an economic downturn by using globalization as a convenient scapegoat. Smoot-Hawley II? Let's hope not. But based on Obama's support from organized labor, I'm not optimistic

As this article by Gary Galles states:

"Why do politicians endorse free trade, yet devise 'but this, that, and the other' excuses for protectionism? They talk of commitment to free trade, but create restrictions instead because most people's commitment to narrow self-interest exceeds their commitment to principle. There is always something, whether it is environmental concerns, the trade deficit, unemployment in particular industries, self-sufficiency, national defense, or a desire to pressure other countries to change their policies, which can provide political cover for self-serving actions."

"This 'I'm for free trade, but' approach ignores America's history. Much of our early economic success was because the Constitution abolished states' attempts to take advantage of each other through restrictions on interstate commerce, creating the world's largest free trade zone. Everyone benefited, as no government could impose extra burdens on mutually beneficial trades just because shipments crossed a border."


  1. Wow, this article and the books you recommended are and outstanding addition to this blog. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for the invite. I hope to contribute more than noise......