The Forgotten Virtues of Free Trade

As an economic recession sweeps the world, the countries that have benefited most from free trade have now become wary. “Free trade is far from perfect, but the alternatives are worse,” insists Frank Trentmann, professor of history, in an essay for Project Syndicate. “Protectionism is bad for wealth, bad for democracy, and bad for peace.” Nations may attempt to protect a few select industries, but such maneuvers only invite retaliation by other nations and resentment at home among workers and industries that do not receive protection. Free trade has benefited many, including the most impoverished nations of the world, women and other vulnerable minorities. Politicians took such wealth for granted and no longer defend eliminating tariffs, subsidies or other mechanisms that block trade and the connections it encourages. Trentmann argues that free trade is a force for democracy, peace and global solidarity. – YaleGlobal

The Forgotten Virtues of Free Trade

Frank Trentmann
Monday, December 1, 2008

Click here for the article on Project Syndicate.

Frank Trentmann is professor of history, Birkbeck College, University of London, and author of “Free Trade Nation.”

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2008.