The 1990s began with fears of a "great sucking sound" of jobs lost due to the North American Free Trade Agreement and ended with opponents of the World Trade Organization taking to the streets in the "Battle of Seattle." Why has global trade become so controversial? Does free trade deserve its bad reputation? In Free Trade under Fire, Douglas Irwin sweeps aside the misconceptions that litter the debate over trade and gives the reader a clear understanding of the issues involved.
Putting the findings of an extensive body of economic research at the disposal of the general public, Irwin examines the positions of the proponents and critics of free trade--and makes plain the stakes involved in their disagreement, particularly for the United States. He explains the economic benefits of trade, not just for corporations but for people and the environment. He illustrates how protectionist policies damage the economy and fail to save jobs. Examining U.S. trade policy, he shows how "fair trade" measures are arbitrary, unfair, and often harmful. He then demystifies the World Trade Organization and sets the record straight about its controversial rulings on trade and the environment. Irwin does not hold up free trade as a panacea but demonstrates why it is our best alternative.
In a debate where assertions often masquerade as arguments, Irwin's analysis is firmly evidence-based--rooted in empirical research and relying on specific examples and illustrations. Finely argued, Free Trade under Fire makes a vast body of economic learning accessible to nonspecialists. It is an essential primer for anyone who wants to understand one of the most burning controversies of our time.
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"An effective marshalling of evidence and ideas on the benefits of open trade is sorely needed and cogently provided in this timely work."--George Schultz, Former Secretary of State
"Free trade is the life blood of the postindustrial economy that has lifted living standards and productivity to levels never before imagined in human history. Douglas Irwin's Free Trade under Fire tells us why free trade is still important and makes the case that in the fight for free trade there are still important battles that must be won."--Michael Barone, Senior Writer, U.S. News & World Report, author of The New Americans and Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan
"The miracle of trade is how it enriches both parties to the transaction. Douglas Irwin demonstrates with clarity and grace precisely how the benefits of this miracle dominate its costs. This book is must reading for all, and especially for those who would resist its powerful message."--Peter L. Bernstein, publisher of Economics & Portfolio Strategy and author of The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession
"This is an important book that systematically reviews objections to free trade and provides a good assessment of the state of current thinking among economists."--Anne O. Krueger, Stanford University
"This is a great book that reviews the case for free trade from an American point of view. Passionate in its arguments, it marshals a large body of evidence--including much that is very recent--into a manageable shape while contributing to the wider debate over free trade."--L. Alan Winters, University of Sussex
This is a great book that reviews the case for free trade from an American point of view. Passionate in its arguments, it marshals a large body of evidence--including much that is very recent--into a manageable shape while contributing to the wider debate over free trade.
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