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We Have a "Free Trade" Problem, But Trump Offers All the Wrong Economic Answers


We Have a "Free Trade" Problem, But Trump Offers All the Wrong Economic Answers

Stan Sorscher

In 2016, President Trump prevailed over 17 establishment opponents. He is a disrupter. In particular, he disrupted establishment trade policies that have failed millions of Americans.

Too many workers and communities have been left behind. Too much mistrust has grown regarding the way we’ve managed globalization. Wages have fallen far behind the growth trends of previous generations.

The neoliberal free-market free-trade trickle-down orthodoxy, which we have followed for decades, is exhausted — socially, politically, and economically.


We don’t have a “free trade” problem, we have a rigged trade problem, rigged by New York and Washington DC swamp denizens with whom Trump has been embedded his entire adult life.

Trump offers all the RIGHT economic answers to enhance the fortunes of the Trump and the rest of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.


It amazing to me that there are people who still think Trump is just making “mistakes” with his decisions. They are not mistakes, he is genuinely trying to tear this country down and profit from it.
When did the free market ever solve serious social, environmental, or economic problems ?
When has the market ever been free ?


Some weeks ago I pointed out that China had stopped importing other nations garbage for recycling. This lead to various Governments urgently dispatching diplomats to China to reverse that policy them even suggesting it a violation of Free trade agreements.

The consequences of this have been immediate in that thousands of tons of garbage now goes to landfills even as the “consumer” under the impression it being recycled as they dutifully sort garbage into the right bin.

We need a conversation that goes much deeper then “new manufacturing jobs” and “better wages” and sounder “trade policies”. We really have to look at the entire economic system which is premised on consumption wherein the system collapses unless there ever more consumption.


This article brings up a good topic for discussion. But the framing statements seem to me to go off on a tangent.

A criticism of free-trade between nations is NAFTA. In America some of the criticism was from labor unions concerned about a ‘giant sucking noise’ of jobs going to Mexico. Some of the criticism was from environmentalists who complain that cross-border trade makes their work of setting ever-higher standards harder. Some of the criticism was from the far-left, who are opposed to our economic system, and as applied to this instance, to big companies and the 1% chiefs making even more money.

In Mexico, one of the criticisms was that letting in cheaper and better quality US and Canadian made goods would destroy Mexican jobs.

Following NAFTA, Mexico went into a recession. This was because Mexico’s government had manipulated their economy as it affects US-Mexican trade in order to improve the chances that the US Congress would ratify NAFTA.
– In the long run, the city of Leon Mexico, a leather goods producer, so many low-quality companies went out of business. The survivors make better quality products now.
– The fears about ‘Food security’ were right in a backwards sort of way. The Mexican consumer has faced no shortage of food. But many Mexican farmers were unable to compete with the cheaper (and subsidized) American farm product, and were driven off the land. They joined a large and long migration of Mexicans to ‘the land of plenty’, America.

In the long run, Mexico on average has benefited quite a bit from NAFTA, noticeably better than Latin American nations that have pursued more typically Latin American nationalist and populist policies. As seen by the recent near absence of Mexicans in the immigrants streaming across the border.

As for USAmerica, harder to measure, partly because the people who complain are louder and easier to hear than the people who benefit.

About this article and framework for the question, Stan Sorcher suggests:

Working backwards,

  • Raising family income: Read enough on this forum and you will find people advocating for ‘degrowth’ and a deliberately lower income and standard of living. So this one has to be amended to discuss how to live a better life on less resource consumption.
  • Creating good new jobs: A tough question, that ventures close to neo-Luddite territory. We can ‘create’ jobs by destroying labor-saving technology, but they won’t be good or high-paying jobs. Keynes’ idea of decreasing the maximum work week has much the same effect.
  • Decaying infrastructure: We have to be careful of the self-serving nature of the people drawing up these lists. Often they want redistributive make-work work. As an example, many of the bridges in need of repair are on rural gravel roads in Iowa. Such bridges should not be listed here, but on Iowa’s state responsibility list, and some of those bridges should be replaced with fords, or the crossing abandoned altogether. – Stan Sorscher refers to high speed trains. Ask yourself: How are high speed trains different from the SST (Super Sonic Airplane) that our government started developing c1970, which the left killed off? Think: In E.F.Schumacher ‘Small is Beautiful’ terms, do we want people traveling all over the place using up resources to travel?
  • Student debt. Most of this comes from a combination of two bad things. First, many students go to college who shouldn’t, and take majors or seek Masters degrees that they shouldn’t. Second, our society has some serious mistakes in qualifying people for jobs, requiring degrees or coursework that have little or nothing to do with the work the prospective workers are capable of doing.

Perhaps add to this later. …