March 21, 2016

FREEDOM FROM THEN FREEDOM TO:

Trading with China Makes Us (and Them) Richer : Freedom to Trade Makes Us Both Better Off (Chelsea German, March 21, 2016, FEE)

China has the comparative advantage in light manufacturing and heavy industry, while the United States has an advantage in areas involving a high degree of human capital like technology, education, and precision industrial manufacturing. 

Fewer and fewer Americans work in grueling areas like traditional manufacturing and agriculture, both of which are still common in China. The fall in traditional manufacturing and agriculture employment has been more than offset by a rise in the caring professions and in creative and knowledge-intensive careers, which are safer, more intellectually stimulating, and help improve the standard of living in the United States. 

For example, the number of physicians per person has risen in the United States, and there are also more teachers per student. The graph below shows that, while manufacturing employment has decreased, total non-agricultural employment has soared. [...]

Western activists rail against "sweatshops," but among researchers and economists from left to right there is a consensus that these jobs are the stepping stones out of poverty.

Lest we forget, the United States and Europe had their own sweatshops during the Industrial Revolution. Work was often dangerous and difficult--though not as much as the drudgery of agricultural subsistence. Yet, as a result of the industrial revolution, life expectancy and GDP per capita shot up while poverty fell rapidly. 

Since economic liberalization, life expectancy in China has skyrocketed, nearing the U.S. level, and hundreds of millions of Chinese have escaped from extreme poverty. That represents the greatest reduction in poverty the world has ever seen. 

As prosperity has increased, gender inequality has diminished, and a smaller share of the population suffers from food inadequacy. If the trade-skeptics genuinely care about the wellbeing of the poor in China, they should support the most successful anti-poverty program of all time: economic freedom, including freedom to trade internationally.


Posted by at March 21, 2016 7:48 PM

  

« HE'S NOT A REPUBLICAN: | Main | FREELOADING WETBACKS: »