Saturday, June 30, 2012

On free trade and academic integrity

When I was an undergraduate in 1978, I took introductory economics to burn off a general-ed social science requirement. It was what everyone else seemed to be taking so I was curious. I was taught how, if we allow free trade, “everyone gets richer.” I am now quite disappointed by this.

I don't want to seem like a naive little science nerd, but pushing free trade was very much in the interest of the economics faculty, for the personal monetary profits they'd make from investing in companies that supported it, wasn't it?  That is totally unlike anything I ever encountered in my physics and math classes. There, everything I was taught was true, at least to the extent it was applicable. (Yes, I know that Newtonian mechanics breaks down at speeds approaching c, but it’s still accurate enough to navigate a spacecraft.)

Or can anyone still make a case for free trade? If I need to wait longer for the benefits to accrue to all Americans, it's been a long wait already.

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