For far too long, the fixed pie fallacy was the most widely held belief. When wars over resources were too costly to fight, society (not understanding that the ultimate resource is the human mind) went back to the good old trade wars of the mercantilist era. But something changed after the Second World War when Japan took a different path.
One of the signature features of President Donald Trump’s campaign was his hostility to free trade. Then-candidate Trump repeatedly denigrated various multilateral trade pacts as bad deals for the United States. Pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, appointing opponents of free trade—such as Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro—into key positions, and promises of tariffs that are likely to […]
There’s a reason why, in times of war, countries have blockaded others.
Among economics data watchers, a country’s exports enjoy a hallowed status. The ability of producers in country A to sell goods and services to people in other countries is taken as a sign of A’s economic strength, although the underlying metric for economic strength goes unmentioned. In addition, job counters across the spectrum constantly count […]
“The market is not a place, a thing, a collective entity. The market is a process, actuated by the interplay of the actions of the various individuals cooperating under the division of labor.” – Ludwig von Mises
Trump-style economic nationalism, like the more full-throated fascism with which it shares much, aims to bring back the mythical glory days of the nation. But if we really want to make America great (again), we should learn the lesson of history, as well as economic theory, that prosperity comes from the free movement of goods, services, and people regardless of arbitrary political lines.
Only individuals, separately or in voluntarily formed groups such as firms, trade; countries as such do not trade.
America can run trade deficits forever.
This piece was originally published at the L.A. Times. Foreign trade took a beating at both major party conventions, with speakers blaming free-trade agreements for all but wiping out U.S. manufacturing and eliminating millions of middle-class jobs. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have promised to renegotiate or abandon trade agreements with key U.S. trading […]