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What is at stake in discussions of free trade?


In this video, Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman considers why - despite agreement by economists on the benefits of free trade - so many people still seem to argue in favor of protectionism.

Free Trade: Producer vs. Consumer
a video by Milton Friedman




Free Trade, Trade Agreements, and
Trade Barriers:

What Serves American Interests?

Reading Links

What is "protectionism"? Why does it attract so much support in the face of economic agreement about its dangers? 


by Laura LaHaye from The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

Does Protectionism Raise Wage Rates?

Chapter 12 of Economic Sophisms

by Frédéric Bastiat 

Protectionism, or the Three Aldermen

Chapter 13 of Economic Sophisms

by Frédéric Bastiat 

Recent proposed trade deals provide contemporary examples of these issues in real policy debate.

Why Free Trade Agreements Don't Really Deliver Free Trade

by Alan Wolff from Fortune, August 13, 2015

Are Free Trade Deals Bad for America

by Bill Powell from Newsweek, June 13, 2016

Does the World Trade Organization Actually Promote World Trade?

by Carlos Lozada from the National Bureau of Economic Research

Readings in this section consider various trade policies and programs and the impact they have.

Agricultural Subsidy Programs

by Daniel A. Sumner from The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

Toward Free Trade in Sugar

by Daniel R. Pearson from Cato's Policy Analysis, February 11, 2015

Beyond the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act

by Daniel Ikenson from Free Trade Bulletin, April 26, 2016

Is the Export Import Bank a Win-Win?

a video by Matthew Mitchell

A Single Senator Stymies the Export-Import Bank

by Jackie Calmes from The New York Times, June 27, 2016

Trade, China, and U.S. Labor Markets

EconTalk podcast with Russ Roberts and David Autor, March 14, 2016

Global Trade Plateaus - The 19th Global Trade Alert Report

by Simon J. Evenett and Johannes Fritz

Executive Summary