The Spaghetti-Bowl Incident?

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New at Reason: Is a halfway approach to free trade any better than no approach at all? Charles Oliver reviews two books on free trade and the growth of international trade bureaucracies.

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  1. Kevin Carson,

    Its been the case for some time that America preaches “free trade,” but they don’t practice it. Until the U.S., the world’s largest economy, is willing to “cowboy up” and practice free trade, no one else is going to follow along.

  2. Jean,

    I would be overjoyed if the Third (and “Fourth”) World’s first big step toward genuine free trade was to withdraw, as a bloc, from the Urugay Round of GATT and cease to enforce patents. Like a mass repudiation of debt, this is a weapon to which the mercantilist system (aka “free trade”) is quite vulnerable.

  3. The best way for America to pursue free trade is to lower or eliminate its tariffs, eliminate all subsidies, and let American capital bear the expense and risk of its own investment overseas. Period. That’s what free trade meant to Cobden. The Palmerstonian view of “free trade,” on the other hand, meant state guaranteed loans and gunboat diplomacy to protect the rights of capital overseas–which is not free trade at all.

    We don’t need multilateral negotiations and enforcement; we don’t need the World Bank, IMF or WTO.

    Tariffs are wrong because they force American consumers to subsidize the profits of politically connected corporations. Eliminating tariffs is good for the American people regardless of whether other countries do likewise.

    Just because the Japanese pay highly inflated prices for the necessities of life, in order to guarantee the profits of Japanese industry, the American people should be likewise screwed: what kind of logic is that? That’s the “fair trade” fallacy, that we should keep hitting ourselves over the head with a hammer until the Japanese agree to stop.

  4. Kevin Carson,

    Don’t like patent law, eh? 🙂

    My point was that in Europe we often hear all this harping from the US about “free trade,” yet whenever an American industry gets into trouble or Americans get concerned about fuzzy animals like turtles or dolphins, the “free trade” ideology is the first thing to go out the window. I am referring here specifically to things like the S&L bailout, the tarriff increases on steel (to supposedly prevent “dumping”) and the like. Of course in Europe you also hear similar rhetoric, it just sounds moe galling coming from the US I suppose.

  5. What’s the Fourth World?

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