I've become very skeptical of such things of late, because I don't know quite what they use for fertilizer in Mexico or what they consider 'safe' in countries we buy our cars from, not to mention the nature of thousands of other such consumer goods.
And I'm glad to find out that Dr. Pournelle is skeptical, too. This is from Bayou Renaissance Man [link]:
Jerry Pournelle on free trade
Dr. Jerry Pournelle, one of the doyens of science fiction, has commented on his blog(one of the oldest in existence) about the issue of free trade.
One reason Conservatives are advised by Conservative leaders to disagree with Trump is his position on Free Trade. The problem for me is that I do not see Free Trade, particularly laissez faire Free Trade, as necessarily Conservative at all.
The advantages of Free Trade are lower prices for stuff. That means they are more cheaply produced. As the economist David Ricardo wrote, there is a principle of comparative advantage that coupled with free trade guarantees maximum profits for when there are no trade restrictions, and impediments to free trade are supposed to be mutually disadvantageous.
But do understand, what is conserved is lower prices. Nor social stability. Not communities. Not family life. Indeed those are often disrupted; it’s part of the economic model. Under free trade theory, it’s better to have free trade than community preservation, better to have ghost towns of people displaced because their jobs have been shipped overseas; better to have Detroit as a wasteland than a thriving dynamic industrial society turning out tail finned Cadillacs and insolent chariots and supporting workers represented by rapacious unions in conflict with pitiless corporate executives.
. . .
What was conserved by turning Detroit into a wasteland? How was that conservative? Wouldn’t it be more conservative to argue that if everyone pays a little more for stuff made here, by people who work here, we are better off than having it made south of the border and inviting our people to go work there at their prevailing wages?
There's more at the link. Scroll down the page until you come to the relevant section.
Plenty of food for thought there. I'm on the fence about free trade. There are undoubted international advantages, but not so many national advantages. The question is, where do our priorities lie? Being an 'international sort of person', and an immigrant to the USA, I used to come down on the side of international advantage. Now, having had time to assess the results of more than half a century of free trade and internationalization . . . I'm not nearly so sure that was a good idea - at least, not for Americans.
Quibcag: Girls from Neon Genesis Evangelion (Japanese: 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Hepburn: Shin Seiki Evangerion?, literally stand around on the ruins from same.