“That’s not fair!” As parents, we have all heard our children utter this grating phrase.
Unfair Fair: David Harsanyi explains why free trade has put America first. From his piece:
Take Trump’s top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, who recently laid out his basic concerns in a New York Times piece: “First, trade must be not only free but also fair and reciprocal.”
“Fair trade,” once used predominately by progressives, is a neologism without meaning. It allows a person to oppose complex agreements for a litany of reasons. The word “fair” is elastic and ambiguous, which is why it’s so popular with adolescents.
The billions of people in developing nations who work tedious menial labor jobs probably don’t find it “fair” that Americans use the savings we gain from their work to build our unprecedented wealth. Is it fair that some countries sit atop vast amounts of fossil fuels or prime farmlands while others sit on arid or barren land?
Let’s hope trade doesn’t get “fair” for us any time soon.
When Navarro writes that G-7 nations’ trade practices “contribute to America’s more than $500 billion annual global trade deficit in goods and services,” he means American citizens purchased goods they prefer from other countries. Sometimes these products are completely foreign-made, and sometimes they’re partially foreign-made, but Americans always get something in return. As economist Milton Friedman argued long ago, the real gain from international trade is not what we export but what we import.