End the Conspiracy of Silence

Adams Nager January 3, 2017
January 3, 2017

Adams Nager writes in International Economy that the election of Donald Trump was a body blow to the so-called “Washington trade consensus,” a coherent, if intellectually flawed, set of beliefs which holds that trade always benefits the U.S. economy and that any efforts to restrict it, even in the service of ensuring that our trading partners play by the rules, by definition is detrimental to economic growth. To the extent there are any negative short-term effects on particular groups, these adherents believe they can be alleviated by a slightly bigger dose of trade adjustment assistance. For them, the benefits to consumers outweigh the loss of jobs that went overseas, even if those moves were caused by pernicious mercantilist trade policies instead of market forces. But will the trade establishment get the message heard round the world or will they continue their practice of dismissing any contrarian voices as ignorant protectionists and isolationists?