“While the economic arguments for free trade remain compelling, the political rationale requires a long-overdue overhaul,” says Samuel Gregg, Acton’s research director. Writing at Public Discourse, Gregg argues that America needs a patriotic case for free trade:
So how does free trade bolster America’s standing in the world? Here are three particular benefits that free traders might consider emphasizing.
First, free trade helps make America a more economically flexible and disciplined country. Openness to global competition prevents, for example, American businesses from becoming complacent. Large, medium, and small companies are constantly required to think about how to innovate, increase efficiencies, and redeploy capital so as to maintain a competitive edge.
American workers are likewise discouraged from supposing that there will be permanent jobs in industries that, despite plenty of protection, are becoming globally uncompetitive. Instead, they are encouraged to be more adaptable and plan their lives accordingly. This is undoubtedly easier said than done. The alternative, however, is fewer job opportunities in declining sectors of the economy and the persistence of false expectations about the future.