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Free Trade Doesn't Work: What Should Replace It and Why, 2011 Edition Hardcover – April 5, 2011
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An articulate and conscientious critique of free trade that should be read by anyone with serious interest in the subject. --Kirkus Discoveries --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Luttwak is Senior Fellow at the Georgetown University Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.
Top Customer Reviews
This book summarizes the theory, the policy, and the history of "free trade" and provides a well-argued alternative that is described with insight, clarity, and in a vibrant and captivating style. The book is divided into three parts: the Problem, the Real Economics of Trade, and the Solution. In the Problem section, Fletcher describes the US situation and goes over and tears apart the standard arguments for free trade and some of the wishful "remedies" to the U.S. trade problem such as more "education" and "post industrialism". In the second part, he provides a masterful analysis of core ideas of "comparative advantage" and why this does not justify free trade. The final section of the book provides a wealth of information on actual trade policy and real world trade that leads into a first rate summary of recent theoretical advances in "real trade" theory (as opposed to the largely ideological and mythological "free trade" doctrine). He than proposes and argues for a politically and economically practical alternative: a "natural strategic tariff" that would in many ways level the playing field between US and foreign exporters in the most important dynamic manufacturing and service export sectors.Read more ›
Iif only 'free trade' doctrine was the provenance of university mathematics departments, it wouldn't last five minutes. Elementary math is enough to discredit the underlying thinking. Unfortunately, in the past two decades the U.S. has accumulated a $6 trillion trade deficit following its prescriptives. University of Maryland economist Peter Morici estimates the U.S. economy is about 12% lower than it would be absent these trade deficits.
Fletcher contends that many free trade supporters are simply Ayn Rand cultists (eg. Alan Greenspan) or libertarian ideologues (eg. Milton Friedman - anti Social Security, Medicare, postal service, public education, welfare) passing those views off as economics. Fletcher's "Free Trade Doesn't Work" reports that the logic supporting comparative advantage/free trade makes ten erroneous assumptions, invalidating its conclusions. My slightly modified version:
1)Immobile Capital: David Ricardo, originator of the theory of comparative advantage that underlies free trade, wrote that free trade would be limited because investors would not want to entrust their capital with a strange government and new laws. Thus, it would remain 'in-country.' Probably true in 1817 when Ricardo wrote this. No longer - U.S.Read more ›
I must say I had no idea how many weird defenses of free-trade there were. The only ones that should matter are those based on economic efficiency and sustainability. Nearly all of the reasons out there not based on this were shot down quickly by the author. I have learned an extensive amount of trade concept from this book pertaining to comparative advantage, mercantilist policies, path dependency of economies, scale economies…etc. However, I have critical thoughts pertaining to certain discussions.
The author’s theoretical “thought experiment” involving two nations (an attempt to attack totally free trade by pure theory) is insufficient to prove the unsustainability because of perverse time preferences.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Fletcher has written a powerful and refreshing critique of some cherished assumptions held by mainstream economists. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Lester P.
I'm a libertarian, pro free trade. I bought this book as a challenge to my worldview, to see if finally I could find an argument against free trade and free markets. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Level up! Securing resources, creating research facilities, unlocking technologies, laying down critical infrastructure, building military units, all happening in specific... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jason Bowden
In-depth discussion of free trade (sacrosanct in my undergraduate days), fair trade, China and the WTO, and other elements in the progressive downward spiral that has defined... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kenneth M. Steele
Interesting critique of a U.S. policy maxim whose wisdom I always questioned, but never had the counter analysis to supportPublished on July 9, 2014 by scarlet pimple
If you thought you could trust Gore, Clinton, the Bushes, most of the US Senate...well you can't! They're a bunch of high-priced hookers with less the integrity! Read morePublished on January 24, 2014 by Mark T
Free trade is destroying the United States. Over 60 years of Free Trade has left the industrial base of the United States in a shambles. Read morePublished on September 2, 2013 by Heimdal