In a Washington Times article Joseph Cotto interviewed Paul Craig Roberts under the headline, “Asking Paul Craig Roberts: Has free trade helped American households?”
Libertarian News Examiner is admittedly more daft than deft when it comes to economics, but the following considerations should be engaged while reading Roberts’ responses to things like free trade, inflation, off-shoring, and globalism.
Free trade occurs when two or more people voluntarily exchange goods or services with one another without involving coercion, intimidation or fraud.
It’s therefore a truism that free trade has never existed in the United States nor likely anywhere in the world beyond small local marketplaces. Government is always involved because the people who run governments make their money by robbing a percentage of the products, services and trades that others make. This is managed trade, not free trade, designed to benefit the ruling class, not “households.”
Roberts contends there’s no evidence that free trade has benefited American households by lowering the price for commonly purchased goods because prices continue to rise due to inflation.
But what does inflation have to do with free trade? Hasn’t Ron Paul taught us that inflation is caused by the Federal Reserve spastically creating “money” out of air molecules by running the printing press on steroids? Doesn’t that make the price of everything go up whether trade is “free” or “unfree?”
Americans are harmed, Roberts says, by jobs offshoring, “mistakenly called ‘free trade’ by libertarians.”
The primary cause of off-shoring is the high cost of complying with the crushing morass of bureaucratic laws, rules, regulations, decrees, directives, controls and micro-management of production, services and trade.
Off-shoring would be “free trade” only if jobs were moved to countries where free trade exists. There aren’t any, but there are “freer trade” countries. If America had real free trade every country in the world would be rushing to “on-shore” their jobs to America.
Roberts notes that China has taken over America’s manufacturing sector and India has captured our former professional services market because of globalism.
But globalism simply means “world trade.” And world trade can be either managed trade or free trade, which brings the discussion back around to the fact that meaningful free trade doesn’t exist, making any discussion of globalism moot.
Apply the libertarian principle of non-aggression to the concept of “trade” and jump back as “households” the world over flourish.
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