Free Trade: Who Is it Good For?

Who does free trade help? Who does it hurt? And does it destroy jobs? Prof. Deirdre McCloskey breaks it down for you.

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2 months ago at 9:02 AM

Your concern is well taken. However, I believe that your robotics and software argument misses a critical point. How much more have robotics and software infiltrated the marketplace in the last 100 years? Undeniably dramatically. And yet, we don’t have mass unemployment as a result, do we? At present in fact, the current unemployment rate is roughly 5%, which has been typical for the US in non-crisis times. Yes, technology will replace some jobs over time. But we will always need people to work because of their unique abilities and others will spring up.

I further think you’re underestimating the will that people have. They need jobs because they need to eat and have a place to live and want the comforts of life. So they are very motivated. In general, I think your perspective is limited by comparing it to today’s capitalist system. In today’s system, volumes of licensing and regulation requirements prevent people from creating companies, which benefits large businesses (purposefully). Thus, a free market system IMO would be quite different and result in a much higher percentage of smaller businesses because it is simply cheaper and easier to create them. That flexibility would also help compensate for technology eliminated jobs.

I appreciate and share your concern for labor. In my way of looking at things, I want to make things fairer for everyone, particularly those who are disadvantaged by the current capitalist system. In my view, that’s the consumer (who pays higher prices due to tariffs and regulation, which are built into product costs), small business (who have a difficult time starting up due to expensive requirements) and the lowest skilled labor (who is priced out of the labor market by the minimum wage). And a free market–while not perfect–is the best and fairest way to get there.

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5 months ago at 9:50 AM

supposing WHAT YOU SAID IS “basically TRUE”…here’s the problem WITH YOUR THINKING…

A. THE MAJOR “WESTERN STYLE ECONOMIES” ARE “CONSUMER PURCHASING BASED”…meaning “the more CONSUMERS their are “with jobs making a decent living wage” …THEN YOU HAVE “MORE CONSUMERS with INCOMES/MONEY to buy products FROM RETAILERS…like FORD, CHEVY, WALMART, TARGET, SEARS, etc.

B. so let’s SAY I AGREE WITH YOU …that more “jobs are lost to places like TEXAS…and to “robotics and software” advances…YOU STILL DON’T ADDRESS THE ISSUE …of “as less and less people ARE EMPLOYED (jobs displaced by advanced tech and robotics”…THEN WHO IS GOING TO PURCHASING “YOUR PRODUCTS” at the end of the consumer pipeline???

C. THIS MEANS “FOR THE IMPROVEMENT IN LIFE for “tens of millions of Americans” THAT THEY NEED A “GUARANTEED INCOME” TO BE ABLE TO PURCHASE THOSE PRODUCTS…THAT YOU IN BIZ ARE MAKING~

D. THIS MEANS A “KIND OF GUARANTEED BASIC INCOME” (WITHOUT WORKING) FOR MOST…BECAUSE THERE WILL SIMPLY “NOT BE ENOUGH JOBS FOR EVERYONE TO WORK…THIS MEANS “HEAVILY TAXING BIZ” TO PROVIDE THIS “GUARANTEED INCOME “SO THERE WILL BE A “STEADY MASS MAJORITY OF “CONSUMERS” TO PURCHASE “THE PRODUCTS” YOU BIZ PEOPLE INTEND TO CONTINUALLY PRODUCE…

ANSWER THIS QUESTION!!!

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