Friday, November 18, 2016

Free Trade Under Fire

The recent presidential election was characterized by attacks on free trade from leading candidates in both parties. As I detailed in my earlier post, "The Bipartisan War on Free Trade," eventual winner Donald Trump broke sharply with the traditional free trade position of the Republican party. Populist Democrat Bernie Sanders drove his rival Hillary Clinton to abandon her earlier embrace of trade. Cracks have even appeared in the formerly almost monolithic support of trade among economists.

I have now pulled together the key points from several earlier posts and articles for a new slideshow, "Free Trade under Fire," available for viewing or free download on my Slideshare page. The slideshow is suitable for classroom presentation or for discussion by community groups. Contact me if you would like me to present the slideshow to your class or community group.

Highlights of the slideshow:

Four flawed arguments against free trade:
  • Deficits mean we are losers
  • Blame it on currency manipulation
  • Protectionism will bring back manufacturing jobs
  • Don't trade with the poor 
Why the real problem with trade is slow adjustment to trade shocks

Five factors that slow adjustment to trade shocks, with discussion of reforms that could speed adjustment:
  • Work disincentives in the social safety net
  • Insufficiently portable healthcare
  • Ownership bias in housing policy
  • Spread of occupational licensing
  • Too many people with criminal records
Why protectionism is not the answer

Follow this link to view or download the slideshow