International trade makes our lives better, Looking at you Mr. and Ms. Candidate

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Don’t buy the protectionist bull. International trade is a very very good thing. It has brought us far better cars, better and less expensive clothing, jobs in a myriad of industries. Generally international trade has brought America a much higher quality of life.

There are people who do not like the change which comes with international trade. For instance the politically powerful auto unions used to never stop complaining about it. But guess what? Most of us are way better off because the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry killed the cobbled together bits of steel, plastic, and rubber which used to pass for family cars in the 1970s. America is better off for the death of the AMC Hornet.

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There was a time when I was an avid mountain biker. I recently went looking for a new bike considering a fitness regime change. What one can get now for less money is WAY beyond what could be had in the late 1990s, and that’s not even adjusting for inflation. Most of the bikes I was looking at were probably made in South East Asia. Again, international trade makes my life better.

I am sorry that some people still want the old unionized days of the Midwest when one could smoke joints while working the line. But I’m glad those days are gone.

(From The Economic Policy Journal)

Even if we grant, for argument’s sake, that the pain caused today by creative destruction is so real and palpable that we should lament it – or, perhaps, even try to tame the forces that cause it – there is zero reason to focus on economic transactions that occur across political boundaries.  The worker who loses her job in the bakery because her neighbors switched to the Atkin’s Diet is no less harmed by economic change than is the worker who loses his job in the brewery because his neighbors switched to buying more imported beer.  Both job losses cause pain today the workers, yet only the latter job loss is of the sort that is generally – indeed, commonly – mentioned in discussions of public policy as a reason for government to intervene to prevent such pain.

Click here for the article.