If Hillary Clinton moves away from free trade advocacy she is more likely to win US Presidential election.
Free Trade – an imaginary construct
We cannot escape the fact that nations are in competition with each other. Whoever does not acknowledge this is living in an imaginary world. Indeed, no-one lives in a world that can be realistically governed as if national borders do not exist. In addition, most people value many of the unique aspects of their own national culture and situation. Free trade theory assumes that national borders are of no account. Try winning an election with that 100 kg weight around your neck!
Ending un-restrained free trade will NOT end globalization, or world trade. It will regulate that process and restore economic control to the US congress. It will mean that the Congress no longer has to sit on the sidelines while jobs are lost up and down the country.
Tariffs for Developed Nations
The economies of all western nations are out of balance, with currently unresolved structural imbalances and difficult to resolve unemployment issues. Free trade theory has meant that the word “tariffs” has become a curse-word for economists and the US Congress. Yet tariffs should be in first line of defenses for the US Congress in seeking to advance the economic interests of its own people, particularly when faced with chronic unemployment. Hillary Clinton, tell your own economists to do a bit of thinking outside of the circle.
Tariffs for Emerging and Developing Nations
Any emerging nation that wants to build a diverse economy will use tariffs to help its new industries to develop. China is doing it with great success, and so did Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
Any developing nation that avoids implementing tariffs, so that its elite can buy imported luxury goods for cheaper prices, will remain the workhouse for the West.
It is impossible for emerging and developing nations to overcome the inherent “first mover advantage” of the western nations without tariffs and other means of assistance.
What Hillary Clinton can do
- Acknowledge that current trade policies have hurt many of the poorer people in the USA.
- Accept that only a change to trade policies, so that they are not constructed primarily to help the already successful, will remedy the problems caused by the current trade policies.
- Argue that every nation needs some measure of protection against cheap imported goods, including USA.
- Undertake to discuss current trade policies with the nation’s trading partners, seeking to find a way to change them so that they work better for all nations, and not seeking only sectional advantages for one nation over another.