From The Economist:
Frederic Bastiat, who was that rarest of creatures, a French free-market economist, wrote to this newspaper in 1846 to express a noble and romantic hope: “May all the nations soon throw down the barriers which separate them.” Those words were echoed 125 years later by the call of John Lennon, who was not an economist but a rather successful global capitalist, to “imagine there’s no countries”. As he said in his 1971 song, it isn’t hard to do. But despite the spectacular rise in living standards that has occurred as barriers between nations have fallen, and despite the resulting escape from poverty by hundreds of millions of people in those places that have joined the world economy, it is still hard to convince publics and politicians of the merits of openness. Now, once again, a queue is forming to denounce openness—ie, globalisation. It is putting at risk the next big advance in trade liberalisation and the next big reduction in poverty in the developing countries.
In Washington, DC, home of a fabled “consensus” about poor countries’ economic policies, a bill before Congress devised by one of New York’s senators, Charles Schumer, threatens a 27.5% tariff on imports from China if that country does not revalue its currency by an equivalent amount. In Mr Schumer’s view, presumably, far too many Chinese peasants are escaping poverty. On November 4th George Bush will escape the febrile atmosphere along Pennsylvania Avenue by visiting Argentina to attend the 34-country Summit of the Americas. There he will be greeted by a rally against “imperialism”, by which is meant him personally, the Iraq war and the Free Trade Area of the Americas which he espouses. Among the hoped-for 50,000 demonstrators will be Diego Maradona, who as a footballer became rich through the game’s global market and as a cocaine-addict was dependent on barrier-busting international trade; and naturally his fellow-summiteer, Hugo Chávez, who is using trade in high-priced oil to finance his “21st-century socialism” in Venezuela.