Saturday, May 07, 2005

Millions take action against economic liberalization - Reuters AlertNet

It's true that trade liberalization can have redistributive effects. However, it's not true that once free trade has exposed a protected industry to competition the workers in that industry will be worse off. To put it bluntly, trade opponents fail to see the new opportunities that trade creates for those workers. If nothing else, the misery that India suffered through before liberalization should serve as lesson to us, that trade is good.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it is easy to see the jobs that are lost. A reporter can readily stand outside the factory gate and interview the workers leaving the plant for the last time. Rarely, if ever, do the reporters go back to track down those workers and see what became of them. Even if the reporter does, they will find that the elderly workers did not do well; approaching retirement, they had little incentive to acquire new skills.

The workers who are completely invisible are those whose jobs came into existence as a response to the increase in disposable income that trade brought to the buyers of the imports. Thus lower prices for food and clothing, or cars, means that I can afford to spend more on yarn for knitting, or eat out more, and the like. But the chef in the restaurant does not realize that their ability to pursue their creativity in the kitchen stems from lower tariffs on sugar or shoes.

4:43 AM  

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