Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Free Trade Questioned

Writing for The New Yorker, James Surowiecki notes both Sanders and Trump make much of the damage free trade has done to American manufacturing employment. He concludes:
American workers used to believe that a rising tide lifted all boats. But in the past thirty years it has sunk a whole lot of them.
A couple of decades ago, I predicted in my classes that automation and off-shoring would destroy relatively routine jobs. The jobs would go but we would still have among us the "relatively routine" Americans who did them, people unable to move into the information economy. It turns out I was correct.

Now those "average Joes and Jills" are cheering when Trump and Sanders speak of the damage free trade has done to America's blue-collar workers. The China-made stuff at WalMart is super-inexpensive, but that doesn't compensate for having no salary to spend, no paycheck to bring home.