Economics of free trade: good or bad for America?
A common belief is that free trade is bad for America and the jobs situation. In boom times, most would say it was good or at least it isn't very bad. However, since the economy has been sluggish, everyone is piling on saying free trade is bad. Certainly, the two major Democratic candidates are making noises to that affect.
Postrel has another view in her latest NY Times economic scene piece where she says the United States has been a laboratory Free Trade Zone for decades and the results have been good. Excerpt:
Over the last century, a lot of that movement has occurred. Rich and poor regions have converged to about the same standard of living. But the results haven't been anything like the "race to the bottom" of protectionist imaginations.Read the whole thing and see what you think.
Incomes still vary widely across regions. Income per capita in Connecticut, the richest state, was about $42,000 in 2002, compared with $24,000 in New Mexico, the poorest. (These figures aren't adjusted for price variations between regions.)
Today's differences are small, however, compared with the huge differences that used to exist. A century ago, the poor states were like third world countries compared with the richest states. They've caught up only since 1960.