Trading ones self into poverty

Way back in May I asked an open question to protectionists and free traders alike: Has any country free-traded themselves into poverty? Many moons later, Robert P. Murphy gives a theoretical answer, explaining that while in a static analysis you can imagine a situation where increased ability amongst foreigners might make a free-trading country poorer on net, it is nevertheless true that everyone benefits from more options and that no theory has explained exactly how a system of unfree trade results in prosperity in the particular or general senses.

Apropos of the Micha's post on the market, I'd say that a country getting poorer on net from better development or innovation from abroad is being given an opportunity to restructure (or, rather, being sent a strong message from the market that they should look to new items to produce), and so in a dynamic marketplace I still can't see how free trade can make a country poorer, so long as they respond to the market.

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Each of the 50 states has

Each of the 50 states has free trade with each other ('cept maybe where alcohol is concerned), and I haven't noticed any state on an irreversible decline. Taking snapshots every 20 years or so, you'll see that every one of the 50 states has improved after each period. North Dakota has not become impoverished because it must import oranges, and Florida has not become impoverished because it must import wheat.

While it is true that some regions and industries occasionally get hammered, these are always temporary setbacks. Occassionally we find that a region is hammered hard enough that there is a glut of labor, and people respond by moving to regions where there is a shortage of labor. (See the emigration from the industrial NE to the post-industrial sunbelt.) So long as a free-trading nation also allows its people to trade their labor (i.e., emmigrate), I don't see how any short term setbacks can make for institutionalized poverty.

If the opponents of free trade believe that "forcing" people to emmigrate is "economic injustice", and that is grounds for opposing free trade, then we must educate these opponents. Would they have prevented the rustbelters from moving to the sunbelt? How would they have provided long-term jobs to rust-belters? How would they have addressed the labor shortages in the sunbelt? Would they have forced the businesses in the sunbelt to move to the rustbelt? How is that not "economic injustice", too? Both labor and business must be free to move as they see fit, just like the goods and services they produce. Free emmigration must go hand-in-hand with free trade.

Or perhaps the opponents to free trade would have preferred that America had kept foreign autos out during the oil crisis of the '70s. America could have continued to have the limited choices offered by Detroit, and with no market signal that "small is better", Detroit would have continued to produce large, gas-guzzling, air-polluting, expensive crap. "Good for us! We kept those stinking Japmobiles out of America and kept our precious jobs in Detroit." Oh, wait! Competetion from Japan improved mileage, air quality, car quality, value for the dollar, and provided thousands of jobs as Japanese makers set up factories in the US. So, free trade opponents, which is it: coddled national markets that are inefficient, polluting, and low-value; or free-trading markets which are more efficient, less-polluting, and higher-value?