Skip to comments.Free Trade Doesn't Work: Why America Needs a Tariff
Posted on 01/31/2010 6:42:57 PM PST by ianfletcher
This very readable book is aimed at both ordinary concerned citizens and people with a bit of sophistication about economics. It is a systematic examination of why free trade is slowly bleeding America's economy to death and what can be done about it. It explains in detail why the standard economic arguments free traders use all the time are false, and what kind of economic ideas well within the grasp of the average American justify protectionism instead. It examines the history and politics of free trade and explains how America came to adopt its present disastrous free trade policy. It looks at the breakdown of specific industries and how we can rebuild them and bring millions of high-paying jobs back to this country. It examines what's wrong with NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO, and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. It explains why free trade is bad not just for America, but for poor foreign nations, too. It is sharply critical of the current establishment, but from a bipartisan point of view, so it should satisfy progressives, conservatives, and everyone in between. It is a good counterargument to the Thomas Friedman view of economic globalization. Read this book to get ahead of the curve on America's next big economic controversy.
If it strikes you that most of the arguments put forth for "free trade" are really just so much global- oney, you're right! Fletcher rips the mask from free trade myths, pointing out that economists in- creasingly reject the idea that our nation (or others) should base economic policy on such a du- bious proposition. This book is a powerful tool for anyone who wants to help raise common sense to high places. Jim Hightower, Bestselling author, national radio and newspaper commentator, and editor of The Hightower Lowdown.
In Free Trade Doesn't Work, Ian Fletcher points to the ideal of free trade and proclaims it isnt wearing any clothes! Instead of following along with the crowd, Fletcher systematically presents the failures of an unrestrained trade system and offers up a balanced discussion of what a man- aged trade system could accomplish in its place. His discussion of the World Trade Organization s goals, and of Chinas open defiance of the spirit of WTO rules, is refreshingly honest and timely. A direct move toward managed and open global trade is what America needs from its economic emperors, and this book is an important step in that direction. Thomas S. Mullikin, author of Truck Stop Politics: Understanding the Emerging Force of Working Class America.
Ian Fletcher has convincingly dismantled the facade that for decades enticed U.S. cattle ranchers and their trade associations to support a free trade policy that was systematically destroying the economic integrity of their industry. A superb analysis of our nations misdirection. Bill Bullard, CEO, R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America)
You have written a bible for us. It is brilliant! You even cover issues I have been concerned about but never had time to discuss with anyone else. I started by reading it and ended by studying it. Am now going through it for the second time underlining and highlighting. Brian OShaughnessy, Chairman, Revere Copper Products; Co-Chair, Coalition for a Prosperous America
Ian Fletcher has laid out a powerful critique of so-called "free trade" theory, while also making the case for rethinking and reforming our current trade policies. Given the economic challenges we face in an increasingly treacherous global economy, this book provides essential tools and an- alysis for policymakers and activists. John J. Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO and author of and author of America Needs a Raise: Fighting for Economic Security and Social Justice.
Drawing on the insights of a broad array of political persuasions, Ian Fletcher delivers a deva- stating and powerful indictment of free trade economicsone that should be widely read, not the least by economists themselves whos work generally remains confined to their own narrow dis- cipline. I agree with Fletcher: "we cant trust the economists."Free Trade Doesn't Work will spark some much-needed debate on what sort of political and economic policies we can trust. Gavin Fridell, author of Fair Trade Coffee: the Prospects and Pitfalls of Market-Driven Social Justice, Assistant Professor of Politics at Trent University.
Like the Holy Grail, free trade is a concept that works in the classroom and in the minds of aca- demics and others insulated from the harsh realities of global trade in the real world. In the real world, we have managed trade. This ranges from the blind free trade faith of economists, edit- orial boards, and politicians to the mercantilist, protectionist, predatory trade practiced by some of our major global trading "partners" like China. This book is an excellent introduction to these realities and what can be done about them. Unregulated markets have driven the global eco- nomy over the cliff, and it is now vital for economists and policy-makers to consider alternative approaches to economic theory and policy. Ian Fletcher makes a powerful case for abandoning the simplistic mantra that markets generally maximize welfare and tariffs or regulations reduce economic prosperity. He points to more nuanced policies that avoid the extremes of blanket protectionism and unregulated trade. Dan DiMicco, Chairman and CEO, Nucor Steel Corporation and author of Steeling America's Future: a CEO's Call to Arms.
Ian Fletcher bravely takes on the free-trade theorists who led cheers for the slow-motion disint- egration of American prosperity and he trumps them with facts and clear-eyed logic. If people will listen, Fletcher's informed voice will help turn the country toward a more promising future. William Greider, author of Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country.
If the rest of your book is of this quality, you will have a classic that will be of use for many years... You are making a major contribution to thinking on trade policy. Pat Choate, Running mate of Ross Perot in 1996 and author of Dangerous Business: The Risks of Globalization for America.
Rebuilding the American economy will require those in power to understand that what benefits workers, benefits the country. In Free Trade Doesn't Work, Ian Fletcher makes it clear that Amer- ica's nearly $6 trillion trade deficit accumulated since NAFTA took effect in 1994 benefits neither workers nor the nation. The book debunks the myth of free trade and proposes a responsible alternative that would restore a measure of sanity to America's international trade policy. Leo W. Gerard, President, United Steelworkers.
Fletcher has written a powerful and refreshing critique of some cherished assumptions held by mainstream economists. It is uniformly insightful, often brilliant, and remarkably readable. Obamas team should read it and soon. George C. Lodge, professor emeritus, Harvard Business School and author of Managing Globalization in the Age of Interdependence.
Most Americans live under the myth that "sound economics" says so-called "free trade" benefits all nations. Fletcher shows, in very readable prose, how the discipline is finally catching up with reality and common sense and is changing its mind on that matter. This book will be an essen- tial guide to the emerging debate over the wisdom of "free trade" as a sound policy for our nation. Patrick A. Mulloy, Commissioner, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, former Assistant Secretary of Commerce, former General Counsel, Senate Banking Committee.
A trenchant and comprehensive analysis of the gap between the theory of free trade and reality, together with a revealing description of the weaknesses of the theory itself. Ralph Gomory, Research Professor, Stern School of Business, New York University and author of Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests.
In this sophisticated, well-informed, and comprehensive study, Ian Fletcher provides a very pow- erful, passionate, and convincing critique of free trade in an accessible and engaging manner. Read it. Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, author of Kicking away the Ladder and Bad Samaritans.
Trading Up is an excellent guide to the economic realities obscured by the intellectually hollow promotion of free trade. It is up-to-date, comprehensive and very readable. Jeff Faux, Distinguished Fellow, Economic Policy Institute and author of The Global Class War: How Americas Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future - and What It Will Take to Win It Back.
A superb debunking of the arguments for free trade and a thoughtful examination of the alterna- tives. Fletchers book is required reading for policy-makers and for the general public trying to understand how the United States has fallen into a debt trap and what has to be done to escape it. The book is also a lesson in how governments can sometimes convince citizens to support policies that work against them. Richard H. Robbins. Author of Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, and Global- ization and the Environment; Distinguished Teaching Professor at Plattsburgh State University.
Free Trade Doesn't Work offers a satisfying critique of the flaws of free trade economics, and the damage that related policies have caused to the US economy and beyond. Its arguments are tools with which to break the hold of the current free trade consensus over our politicians, and to work towards truly fair trade and economic policies. Stephanie Celt, Director, Washington Fair Trade Coalition
Recently, Paul Samuelson, the godfather of modern economics, called the economic orthodoxy pushing free trade "charlatans." After reading Free Trade Doesn't Work you will know why he did. Ian Fletcher exposes the lies about free trade and a offers an easy to understand roadmap to economic reality. Bob Baugh, Executive Director, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council
Ian Fletchers argument against free trade and in favor of tariffs is not only a courageous assault on our so-called conventional wisdom, it makes a brilliant and wildly compelling case for reg- ulation. The book is an impressive piece of scholarship, one that could and should provide the blueprint for government intervention in commerce. Economists will stand up and take notice. Wall Street will hate it. David Macaray, author, Its Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor
This readable book dramatizes our lost history of global trade and punctures the mythology surr- ounding the benefits of unbridled free trade. A vital primer for anyone trying to understand the current trade debate. Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies; co-author, The Moral Measure of the Economy
Unregulated markets have driven the global economy over the cliff, and it is now vital for econo- mists and policymakers to consider alternative approaches to economic theory and policy. Ian Fletcher makes a powerful case for abandoning the simplistic mantra that markets generally maximize welfare and tariffs or regulations reduce economic prosperity. He points to more nu- anced policies that avoid the extremes of blanket protectionism and unregulated trade. Prof. Geoffrey Hodgson, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press.
Ian Fletchers book is of immense value in defining the parameters of the idolatry of free trade. Politicians and the general populace continue to be afraid to abandon this false god because of the kind of superstitions and inaccuracies that this book exposes very well. I would highly recom- mend it.
If you still think free trade is good for America and the world, you're in for a big surprise...
Free trade is fine. Globally managed trade is what sucks.
intellectual fools will always persist. calling pat buchanon anyone?
My view is simple.
It’s probably just a coincidence that your screen name is the same as the author’s but I wonder if the book goes into the effects unions, regulations and frivolous lawsuits have had on manufacturing in this country.
Does anyone today realize that the increased tariffs brought about by the Smoot-Hawley Act contributed greatly to the Great Deppression?
You said what I was going to say. But you said it better than I could have.
Well, the book gets great reviews from the heads of unions, if that's any indication.
i guess hiding behind unionism and inferior products, pricing them expensively and forcing the population to take them is a brilliant idea. calling venezuela. calling zimbabwe. calling the unionist foes of productivity and wealth creation. calling other fools please.
Repeal the 16th amendment and let Washington go back to raising revenue the way the founders envisioned - through tariffs.
Agreed. I wonder if the author takes into account the corporate tax burden in this country.
Wow, this book manages to be anti-producer and anti-consumer at the same time! It is pro-union though...
>My view is simple.
I see, but that is [perhaps] a bit too simple of a view. dictionary.com has the following definition:
1. an official list or table showing the duties or customs imposed by a government on imports or exports.
2. the schedule or system of duties so imposed.
3. any duty or rate of duty in such a list or schedule.
4. any table of charges, as of a railroad, bus line, etc.
5. bill; cost; charge.
verb (used with object)
6. to subject to a tariff.
7. to put a valuation on according to a tariff.
Before the imposition of the income tax, virtually all taxation (read governmental revenue) was from tariffs; but this might not apply to consumer goods because tariffs are ONLY applied to imports/exports. This means that if we were a self-sufficient country [and we VERY EASILY could be] then any Citizen/legal-resident would be able to live without paying a single cent in tariffs.
I sure do. Hoover’s biggest single mistake. Back then the GOP was more protectionist and the rats free trade. There is much crossover but it’s mostly the other way around now.
Soon, the 3rd world would be your master.
They are NOT going to play by any rule that puts them at a disadvantage.
Either we take charge of our economic future, or they will.
I think we’re mixing our definitions a bit. Free trade, as I understand it, is free as in ‘unrestricted.’ The opposite of Japan’s anti-trade stance when Admiral Perry burst in on the scene.
What are you defining it as?
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