Some liberals worry that trade with low-wage countries will depress American wages. But globalization not only helps lift Third World people out of poverty; it also benefits American consumers and workers. Instead of pursuing protectionism, domestic policies should assure that the benefits of trade are equitably shared.
he economic development of poor countries is heavily dependent on their
ability to export. But many American liberals are troubled, wrongly in my view,
that commerce with low-wage countries will infect our own body politic. Rather
than worrying so much about Third World export growth, we should be addressing
how to attain full domestic employment and mobility. We need to concentrate on
formulating policies that make trade the mutual opportunity promised in the
textbooks. If we fail to do this, trade will still provide an economic gain on
average, but will also represent a costly burden for the victims of the abrupt
dislocations it causes.