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Why Can’t Economists Sell Free Trade?

Geoff Riley

28th May 2017

Two centuries on from the emergence of the idea of comparative advantage as the basis for specialisation and trade, why does it remain hard to sell the idea of free trade?

Why Can’t Economists Sell Free Trade?

One reason - according to Professor Alan Blinder - is that there are always losers from free trade. In this short video interview, Blinder explains how free trade does benefit the country as a whole, but inevitably leaves some people behind, and argues for more help to compensate those workers especially those struggling with structural unemployment as patterns of trade and employment change over time.

This short video examines the effects of free trade on the US economy, accounting for the relative gains vs. losses to American jobs and income. While permanent gains far outweigh the temporary losses to some workers, better assistance programs should help those left behind.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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