Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Flawed Premise

This is Joseph.

Jared Bernstein:
The deeply flawed premise through which elites have long operated is that trade is a net plus for everyone as long as the winners compensate the losers. But in the real world, the winners both fail to do so and use their winnings to buy tax and deregulatory policies that further screw the losers.

Insofar as this point is correct, there is a very short-sighted  dynamic going on in modern politics.  After all, trade has the potential to greatly improve human life and has been a key element to the development of civilization.  Just look at the Silk Road

When the benefits of trade are broadly spread then everyone benefits.  But capturing all of the benefits and then using that political power to seize additional benefits is a great way to get very powerful but it runs the risk of undermining the political calculation.  After all, if trade is the way that the "rich get richer" and the "poor get even less" then it starts to look like a very bad deal. 

There are stable outcomes that lead to everyone being worse off, and we should guard against them.  For trade, I think we need to think very carefully about how we distribute the benefits from trade throughout society. 

No comments:

Post a Comment