Free Trade is Simple

Hans Mahncke, an International Law and Trade scholar at Hong Kong’s Lion Rock Institute, takes to task recalcitrant NGOs in a recent TCS article. The essential sticking point is the inability to reform the WTO: The WTO is plagued by two major faults. Continue Reading...

The Fair-Trade Fallacy

Let me quickly respond to this week’s Acton Commentary: While I agree in broad strokes with Dr. Larrivee’s analysis of the questionable assumptions of the fair trade movement, with respect to coffee in particular, I don’t agree that the problem is “low productivity in the countries in which farmers live.” I have previously argued that the source of the issue is in fact too much coffee, so that the market is saturated and cannot sustain high prices given the declining worldwide demand. Continue Reading...

Why Not Fair-Trade Beer and Cakes?

Economist John Larrivee looks at the logic underlying the fair trade coffee movement and applies it to beer and baked goods. It doesn’t quite make sense. Larrivee points out that “the question is not the difference between what different parties to the production get paid, but rather who adds value, how much, and where.” Read the full commentary here. Continue Reading...

Europe’s Social Model Closes Doors To The Poor

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Americans living in Europe were often scolded about the need for big, centralized government to look after the poor, and we heard yet again about the moral superiority of Europe’s social model over America’s market-driven one. Continue Reading...

SHAFTA?

Last night, at Acton’s 15 Year Dinner in Grand Rapids, former president of El Salvador Francisco Flores gave a reason for his county’s great economic success: it stopped blaming others. Compare this with another statement yesterday by another politician, Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm. Continue Reading...

Mr. Barroso’s Wake-Up Call

Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, is calling on all “civilized and rational” people to combat anti-trade populism of the sort that is designed to whip up fear and protectionism. Continue Reading...

CAFTA, Prudence, and Volleyball

After receiving some responses to a previous post (CAFTA/Culture of Life: Enemies?), I thought I would post the the exchange with my most recent dissatisfied critic. Here’s to volleying! (I have edited the emails for confidentiality.) Continue Reading...

Fair Trade Goes Bananas

You may have heard of “fair trade,” one of the more recent economically-myopic efforts to act as “guarantees that farmers and farmworkers receive a fair price for their labor.” I’ve written before about the fair trade coffee movement (especially in the Church), which has perhaps gained the most public attention. Continue Reading...

‘The Dangers and Follies of Protectionism’

The European Union is running into some problems with its quota policies on Chinese goods: The European Union will tomorrow put proposals to member states for the release of millions of Chinese garments stacked up at customs warehouses since the EU imposed import limits in June, said EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson. Continue Reading...

Where Does G.I. Joe Shop?

In a FoxNews article, Jack Spencer of the Heritage Foundation reveals some interesting finds from their year-long study of the military industry: US Defense relies heavily on a global free market for its equipment. Continue Reading...