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Fester 986

I think the question about trade, wage trends and perspective is a bit more complex that you suggest, as the time periods involved are massive from when a disorganized, low cost and low productivity workforce is able to start eating away at the labor and transportation arbitage opportunities and when their real wages start moving upwards in a significant fashion. I agree, in the long run on both economic grounds and national security grounds, trade is a Pareto improvement when we aggregate around groups/nations but it is definately not an improvement for displaced US workers for the costs of trade fall narrowly on the people who work within competing sectors, while the benefits are spread much more widely.

That is the tension and policy problem that we are facing --- our society is better off as a whole with increaesd trade, but there are significant losers who could/can/are able to derail this series of improvements unless they are justly compensated.



I tried to hedge at the end with the "it's more complicated" comment, but I admit that's an insufficient device.

That being said, I agree on all counts. This is a problem with a lot of theories. You know, American car companies DESERVED a kick in the ass in the 1980s. Wonderful stuff, Creative Destruction. Except for the, uh, Destruction part. It always hurts when it's your job or your community. And that's something we need to deal with.

But I do fear that as a sociaty we have become a bit infatuated with the "security" aspect of things. As a longtime resident of the Rust Belt, I have seen the politicians trot out one "retraining" program after another. In the end, most of them seem to sputter. Perhaps we would be better off greasing business skids and just getting out of the way instead of relying on goofy strategies that sometimes just prolong the pain.

Of course, it's tough to win an election on that kind of platform.


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