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Free Trade

Economists Are Hopelessly Naïve About International Trade

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.28.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

It is high time policymakers stopped deferring to weak intellectual constructs. The reality is that free trade is an exceedingly dubious proposition for America and many other nations.

Economic Nationalism: Fair or Foul?

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Ian Fletcher

Embracing our economic obligations to our own countrymen would be a far more meaningful step for anyone who really cares about other people than the phony humanism of economic globalists and "free trade" advocates.

Holy Cow! A Real Debate About Free Trade in the New York Times!

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

Despite being one of the most pressing policy choices facing America, and despite having been one of the biggest controversies in the last, oh, 400 years of economic history, free trade rarely gets a real debate in this country.

What "Free Trade" Has Cost the World

Dave Johnson | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Dave Johnson

Propaganda being what it is we were somehow convinced to try a worldwide experiment in taking good jobs from democracies and turning them into bad jobs in thugocracies. Now, of course, the experiment has run its course and we can see the results.

More Free Trade Agreements? When NAFTA Failed?

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

With the Republicans and the Obama administration attempting to rush headlong into a new trade agreements with Korea, and possibly also with Panama and Colombia, it is incumbent on Americans to apply a bit of empiricism.

Free Trade Isn't Helping World Poverty

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

Free trade just doesn't work as a global anti-poverty strategy. Having more affluent people in the Third World is not the same as the Third World as a whole nearing the living standards of the First.

Why "Fair" Trade Is Not The (Whole) Answer

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

The idea of "fair" trade is very appealing, whether confronting the plight of autoworkers in Michigan or farmers in the Third World. Unfortunately, it will be only a small part of any trade solution for the U.S. and the world as a whole.

Kennedy's Blunder, or How Free Trade Turned Sour for America

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

How did America end up in its present trade pickle? In retrospect, America's decisive wrong turn was probably John F. Kennedy's Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

WTO Sides With Chinese State Capitalism Against the U.S.

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Ian Fletcher

The World Trade Organization has a long history of anti-American actions. They've just handed us another one, and in the process handed a big freebie to Chinese state capitalism.

Free Trade and the Tea Party: Puppets or Rebels?

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Ian Fletcher

If Tea Partiers want to get back to the original intent of the Constitution, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says plain as day that Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations."

Protectionism of the Past vs. Protectionism of the Future

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

Most of the benefits of protectionism center on winning tomorrow's industries and keeping today's from falling into trouble, not on rescuing industries already dying.

Colombia Slips Into the Abyss as FTA Threatens Further Havoc

Dan Kovalik | Posted 05.25.2011 | World
Dan Kovalik

Colombia just reached an ignominious benchmark -- it is now the country with the largest population of internally displaced persons in the world

Do Ideas Matter in Economic Policy, or Just Special Interests?

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

Without economics, vested interests can't tell whether free trade benefits them or not, just as a company can't know whether or not it is profitable without resort to accounting principles.

The Social Snobbery of Free Trade

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

It is high time people stopped forming their opinions about free trade based on what they think people will think of them at cocktail parties.

Gadget Factories Charge Up China's Labor Activism

Michelle Chen | Posted 05.25.2011 | World
Michelle Chen

The trajectory of China's breakneck economic growth over the past three decades is a case study in how globalization allows cutting-edge technology to exist alongside primitive labor conditions.

Currency Revaluation Won't Fix America's Trade Mess

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

It is sometimes suggested that our trade problems (job losses, international indebtedness) will go away on their own once currency values adjust. Bott...

We Can't Just Compensate Free Trade's Losers

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

It is sometimes argued that although free trade has some victims, its benefits exceed its costs, so it is possible for its winners to compensate its l...

Trade Solutions That Won't Work

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

If we are to understand the true scope of our problem and frame solutions that will work, these false hopes must be debunked forthwith.

Why a Flat Tariff on All U.S. Imports Would Work

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Ian Fletcher

I advocate protectionism. But one standard criticism is that this would just result in politically connected industries getting tariffs raised on the...

In Praise of Mercantilism (or Why Economic History Isn't Boring)

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

Mercantilism has somewhat different application in developed, rather than developing, nations, but its fundamentals still hold good. We at least need to defend against mercantilist aggression against us, something we are not doing.

Yes We Can! (Fix Our Trade Mess)

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

It's an utter mistake to think America is this big helpless giant with respect to its trade problems. The solutions are out there if we would but avail ourselves of them.

Why Have Nations at All? The Case for Economic Borders

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

Contrary to the endlessly repeated myth of a world converging on one big economic sameness, economic diversity is a fact of life. Economic policies that assume a homogeneous world are an attempt to defy this basic fact.

The Obama Administration's Clueless Trade Diplomacy

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

Despite the fact that every major American trade agreement since NAFTA has worsened America's trade balance, Obama actually seems to think he can improve America's export performance by going for more.

An Open Challenge to Free Traders: Debate Free Trade on Camera!

Ian Fletcher | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Ian Fletcher

I'm going to ask the reader to forgive the somewhat personal nature of this post, as personal experiences are sometimes revealing about larger issues....

Economics of Colombia and Panama-U.S. Free Trade Agreements Speak for Themselves

Christopher Sabatini | Posted 05.25.2011 | World
Christopher Sabatini

U.S. workers are not competing with Colombian workers. The issue is now to have the Colombian market open to U.S. products that U.S. workers produce.