An Analysis of Free Trade


I’ve been sitting on this for a while trying to figure out whether or not offer it up.  It’s certainly not action sports or active outdoor focused.  And, in our current environment, it’s inevitably going to be perceived as having a particular bias.  I’d say it reaches a solid conclusion based on the data it utilizes.  If that’s a bias, so be it.

It’s a defense of free trade from the Fabius Maximus web site which I follow and highly recommend.  It’s conclusion, however, is based on actual data; not anecdotal evidence, not a one minute story on the nightly news, and certainly not a tweet.

It does NOT conclude that free trade is always and everywhere a good thing and that nobody is ever hurt by it.  That would be like saying that nobody at the U. S. Post Office lost their job when various forms of electronic communications supplanted snail mail.  Yet, I don’t think we’re willing to give up texting, email, electronic bill payment, etc. to get those people their jobs back.  Perhaps, if we’re the kind of country I hope we are, we’re prepared to help the people who lost their jobs adjust to a new economic environment.

In 1930, what became known as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff bill was passed by Congress.  It raised tariffs on some 20,000 imported goods and is generally considered to have major responsibility for the depth and duration of the Great Depression.

I believe (and I hope) that we’re not dumb enough to do something like that again.  Yet some of the fatuous blather about trade I’m hearing gives me pause.

This has some graphs and numbers in this piece.  Sorry- I don’t know how to avoid them if there’s to be an actual, meaningful discussion of a complex and important issue.  By all means challenge it, and please be aware that the minute I come across a study that is this rigorous in explaining that free trade is a really bad idea, I’ll point you to that too.

Here’s the link.