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Senior Contributor

Seldom Black and White

Some on this forum have gone on about the free trade acts and how bad they were so when I came across this article I thought it would be good reading material for this site.


Titled...... Free Trade: Good or Bad for America?



It is important to start this analysis with a brutal truth: Some U.S. industries and employees have been hammered by a trifecta of forces over the past three decades: globalization/lowered trade barriers, the technology revolution and a reduction in the power of unions to protect workers' wages. The combined effect of these long-term trends has amounted to a loss of jobs in some goods-producing sectors of the economy and wage stagnation for some in the middle class.

Yes, trade is part of the equation, but it is not the whole story. Bureau of Labor Statistics research has found that the total number of manufacturing jobs peaked in 1979, 15 years before North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and more than 20 years before China became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001, which opened that market more fully. So to blame a specific trade deal for the erosion of manufacturing sector employment omits the other factors at play and likely overstates the negative impact of trade deals on the labor market.


I hope those who think NAFTA is so bad notice the timing of job losses.


The quick easy answers are seldom the right ones.

Life and economies are much more complicated.