The Choice

by Don Boudreaux on October 14, 2010

in Complexity & Emergence, Myths and Fallacies, Seen and Unseen, Standard of Living, The Future, Trade

Here’s a letter to the Boston Globe, in response to a letter-to-the-editor written by someone who really must read Russ’s book The Choice:

Rejecting Jeff Jacoby’s argument for free trade, John Schreiber writes “Does he [Jacoby] want his kids to be greeters at Wal-Mart selling cheap Chinese goods or to be engineers or scientists designing a new product?  That choice is easy for me” (Letters, Oct. 12).

Mr. Schreiber has matters backwards.  By buying products such as textiles, footwear, and luggage from China and other foreign countries, workers and resources in America are freed to work in fields such as bioengineering and artificial intelligence.

If we prevent the importation of “cheap Chinese goods,” we’d thereby promote in America industries that produce – what? – cheap American goods.  How bleak.  We Americans would pay higher prices for cheap goods and, more importantly, be denied many of the cutting-edge and challenging career opportunities that Mr. Schreiber and I (and, I’m sure, Mr. Jacoby) want for our children.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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