Summary of Straight Talk on Trade

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Today, international trade intertwines countries’ economies more closely than ever before. This state of the world is a victory for those who, since the end of World War II, have promoted free trade as the solution to global ills. However, trade has become a target of popular backlash and new tariff battles. Many people believe that nations have created their own Frankenstein monster in complex global treaties. In a collection of his previously published articles, economist Dani Rodrik offers a wide-ranging overview of the complications of early 21st-century trade agreements. He coalesces his thoughts into seven intriguing principles for “a sane world economy.” Though his text is often abstract and tends to meander, Rodrik nevertheless makes some salient points about fair and equitable trade and the need for strong nation-states. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends his thought-provoking work to executives, trade experts and economists.

About the Author

Dani Rodrik is a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.



National Interests Need Balancing

In political events around the world in 2016, international trade was the focal point of much intensive debate. While trade can be good for countries, it’s not always in their best interest, as globalization proponents would make it seem. Trade is much more than the straight exchange of goods and services among countries. Trade also means that workers and businesses compete on wages and costs across borders, creating problems of fairness due to differing industrial and social practices. The “hyperglobalization” of trade leads to greater economic integration, as in the case of Europe’s single market.

Globalization has driven – to a significant extent, although not exclusively – the hot-button issue of inequality in the United States. In the 2016 US presidential election, both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders made their antagonism to trade policies a central point of their campaigns. Trump’s ultimate success stems, in part, from his rejection of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership treaty and his distaste for NAFTA. He tapped into the legitimate complaints of workers who have lost their manufacturing-based jobs due...

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