Free Trade Here Now!

A lot of people on the left are unhappy with American trade policy. They think corporations are profiting by keeping the Third World in poverty. They're right about this, but not exactly in the way that many of them think.

As far as policy in the First World is concerned, it's our protectionism, not free trade, which impoverishes poor nations. That's why venerable relief organizations like Oxfam are pushing for America to permit more imports of foreign goods. (In poor countries, the story is different -- the relief organizations tend to support poor countries in protecting nascent industries and blocking imports.)