Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Trade in 2008

In the Feb 2008, Commentary, John Steele Gordon expands on "Look Who's Afraid of Free Trade." (Apparently not on the magazine's web version, both click on the link for other good stuff.)

The internet has speeded up everything, including creative destruction and outsourcing. It amounts to significant net gains for the U.S. economy but labor unions are more threatened and more protectionist than in recent memory. And Democrats cannot win without strong labor support. The upshot is that no one is against free trade; "they just insist on provisos in free-trade agreements that no sovereign nation can possibly accept."

A related discussion appears in today's WSJ ("The Candidates and Trade" by David Ransom, gated). "If Mssrs. McCain and Obama see foreign trade as a glass half-full, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Romney and Mr. Huckabee see the glass as half empty."

Representatives of the media have figured out that creationist posturing by candidates is not respectable. If only their understanding of basic economics were as far along. All the blather about "fair trade" would not get a pass.