Here’s a letter to the Baltimore Sun:
Charles Campbell’s case that “Free trade has failed the U.S.” (Oct. 25) is a stew of errors, misunderstandings, and non sequiturs.
Mr. Campbell is misinformed about facts – for example, contrary to his assertion that “we have hollowed out our industrial base,” the real value of American manufacturing output today is near an all-time high, and growing.
Mr. Campbell is misinformed about history – for example, contrary to his allegation that Hong Kong “restrict[ed] imports of finished goods,” Hong Kong, during its period of fastest growth, imposed no barriers to trade.
Mr. Campbell is misinformed about policy – for example, contrary to his claim, the Samuelson-Stolper theorem was never “the cornerstone of U.S. industrial policy.” That theorem was, and is, merely an abstract economic model that gives insight into how trade changes the relative prices of inputs.
Far from offering a serious case against free trade, Mr. Campbell’s essay packs all the intellectual ummpph of a hillbilly-preacher’s fulminations against Darwin, homosexuality, or Halloween celebrations.
Donald J. Boudreaux