Does the U.S. Actually Benefit From Free Trade?
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Paul Solman answers questions from the NewsHour audience on business and economic news here on his True, there are now legitimate concerns about the ultimate effects of what Smith so devoutly wished for back when: more and more growth, at a sometimes blistering pace. And granted, no one in America lives anywhere nearly as desperately as some Chinese did back then.
“In all great towns,” Smith wrote in his ‘Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,’ Chinese children “are every night exposed in the street, or drowned like puppies in the water” for lack of food. And he quotes a French travel book on China in which Christian missionary nuns are described as ‘baptizing’ newborn Chinese girls and “by this means these sad victims of family indigence find eternal life in these same waters in which their short life is snatched from them.” Baptizing the babies to death, in other words, so they wouldn’t starve.
So granted, the global economy is a whole lot richer today. But do you really want a future in which the rest of the world keeps growing while the U.S. falls behind?