Free trade with benefits

Dan Drezner discusses the merits and challenges of embracing a global economy, citing Adam Posen's essay "The Price of Nostalgia", via his op-ed for The Washington Post.
Daniel Drezner

Neoliberal economics has had a rough couple of years. While neoliberalism is a conceptually fuzzy term, embracing an open global economy is undoubtedly one of its core pillars. The bipartisan beating of this neoliberal idea has started to trickle down into a mass public that has been pretty enthusiastic about the open global economy.

If there is a last redoubt for this idea inside the Beltway, then it is surely the Peterson Institute for International Economics. PIIE has made the best case for the economic merits of U.S. economic openness for some time now. In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, PIIE President Adam Posen makes a provocative case for continued openness, arguing, among other things, that "populist anger is the result not of economic anxiety but of perceived declines in relative status. The U.S. government has not been pursuing openness and integration over the last two decades. To the contrary, it has increasingly insulated the economy from foreign competition, while the rest of the world has continued to open up and integrate."

Posen's essay "The Price of Nostalgia" is well worth reading for two reasons. The first is the evisceration he provides on more populist takes on what trade liberalization did to the U.S. economy. The second is the unintentional revelation for why neoliberalism faces such stark political head winds.

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