Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy

Jeff Madrick in the New York Review of Books:

In 1997, when Dani Rodrik, a Turkish-born professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, published his brief book Has Globalization Gone Too Far?, progressive economists widely embraced his arguments that many free trade policies adopted by the US, which reduced tariffs and other protections, also weakened the bargaining power of American workers, destabilized their wages, and encouraged social conflict. “The danger,” Rodrik wrote presciently, “is that the domestic consensus in favor of open markets will ultimately erode to the point where a generalized resurgence of protectionism becomes a serious possibility.” I remember that Robert Kuttner, the coeditor of The American Prospect, was particularly enthusiastic about the book. Almost twenty years later, he again praised Rodrik for his continued devotion to an empirically grounded skepticism of what Rodrik now calls “hyperglobalization.”

Has Globalization Gone Too Far? challenged a mainstream economic belief that in 1997 was accepted with increasing fervor: that reducing tariffs to encourage trade almost always resulted in a healthier, more rapidly growing economy for all nations. If some workers in industries that directly competed with rising imports lost their jobs or had their wages reduced, it was assumed that the economy would create enough new jobs to compensate.

More here.