Not getting the trade argument

Libertarians love their abstract analysis of the benefits of free trade. And that analysis is not wrong: just partial and incomplete.

But what they are doing is essentially this: they are coming up to a guy who lost his factory job nine years and hasn't been able to find more than part-time work since. He lives at home with his elderly parents, whom he cares for, because they certainly can't afford outside care. His wife left him to move 500 miles away to a city where this is work. His brother gets by through running a meth lab up in the hills. His town is a dilapidated wreck, unemployment is 30%, the jobs there are pay little, most kids are born out of wedlock, and more people died last year from drug overdoses than from natural causes.

And libertarians are telling him that free trade has worked out great... "Because look how cheap your flat-screen TV is!"


  1. If someone lost their job nine years ago and hasn't found another, chances are this is because of the housing bubble and financial crisis, not because of free trade. So if I were a libertarian, I wouldn't talk about cheap flat screens. I'd be talking about banksters.

    1. I will answer this in a blog post.