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Does Trade ‘Loot’ Jobs?
Posted By Don Boudreaux On November 28, 2010 @ 11:11 am In Seen and Unseen,Trade | Comments Disabled
Commenting critically on this recent blog-post , Sethstorm writes that trade with China has “enabled the looting of states like Ohio of jobs.”
Here are some thoughts and questions for Sethstorm:
Your – Sethstorm’s – remark implies that workers in Ohio own their jobs. If these jobs truly are owned by Ohioans currently employed in them, then these jobs should be protected not only from foreign trade, but from any changes that might eliminate jobs in Ohio.
For example, if an aluminum factory in California devises a method for producing stronger yet lighter aluminum at lower cost, that factory’s innovation should be outlawed. The reason is that such sturdier aluminum sold at lower prices will cause automakers to substitute aluminum for steel in the production of cars and trucks. Consequently, that California innovation will cause at least some Ohio steel workers to lose their jobs – jobs that, you feel, are owned by those steel workers. And if it’s theft for Chinese producers to eliminate Ohioans’ jobs, then it’s also theft for innovative Californians to do so.
Or suppose that Americans become more cholesterol conscious and cut back significantly on their consumption of eggs. This change in consumer demand will eliminate some jobs in Ohio’s egg industry. Do you believe that consumers who reduce their egg purchases are thereby looting jobs from Ohio? Should Uncle Sam prevent consumers from buying fewer eggs?
If not, what’s the status of your claim that American trade has “enabled the looting of states like Ohio of jobs?”
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