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Victimized by Trade?

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Today’s New York Times has several letters [2] critical of Steve Landsburg’s recent op-ed [3], in those pages, on trade.  Here’s a letter that I just sent to the Gray Lady in response to one of these letters:

To the Editor:

Taking Steven Landsburg to task for showing no “compassion” for those “who have fallen victim to the deleterious side of free trade,” Alan Ross completely misses Mr. Landsburg’s point (Letters, January 20).  Free trade, as Mr. Landsburg eloquently explains, has no victims.  In the long run, it benefits everyone – even those who today lose their jobs to foreign rivals.  The vitally important insight is that almost every job that Americans today worry about losing was made higher-paying, and even possible, by trade.  For any worker to complain that he is victimized by trade would be akin, say, to Elvis Presley complaining that he was victimized by radio because that medium did so much to make the Beatles more popular than him.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

I might also have ended my letter with this alternative question: Suppose that the rise of Internet news sites causes the New York Times to lose market share.  Could the owners and editors of that newspaper then justifiably complain about being victimized by freedom of the press?

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