Was free trade worth it?

Nov 2014
224
ph
#1
Was free trade and the lost jobs and social problems like due to China's entry to the WTO and NAFTA, worth it in terms of getting cheaper consumer goods? It seems that for the US working class with all those manufacturing jobs, they would rather take a well paying union job, more expensive goods due to tariff barriers, and an "uncompetitive" economy, and even slightly worse quality of manufactured goods, over no jobs or a life time of dead end jobs, cheaper electronics from China, and a welfare check? In the same vein, are make work jobs, like work fare, a better solution than a monthly welfare check, when it comes to jobs displacement due to technology unemployment?
 
Aug 2014
3,699
Australia
#2
Free trade treaties don't exist. If they did then we wouldn't need to spend years negotiating all the exemptions and special cases where free trade doesn't apply. I think the term you are after is "globalised economy". I think it was worth it for developing countries - it has helped to lift millions out of poverty. In many developed countries it has destroyed the middle class and increased wealth inequality.
 
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#3
Dan (even though your posts seem always to be intelligent) I must take you to task when you use a phrase like "destroyed the middle class". I must say I don't agree with this idea of "class" (though I would accept a distinction of 2 classes; A. those who own sufficient capital to live of the interest/rent, B. those who do not have such capital), but I ask you to show that what you mean by the middle class being destroyed (ie suggesting the the middle class do not exist any more).
 
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