Ms. Ashworth’s Bizarre Argument

by Don Boudreaux on January 13, 2010

in Great Depression, Standard of Living, The Crisis, The Economy, Trade

Here’s a letter that I just sent to USA Today:

Helen Ashworth writes that “Our current economic crisis is worse than the Great Depression” (Letters, Jan. 13).  She’s wrong.  By no measure – rate of unemployment; decline in GDP; length of the downturn; extent of human suffering – is Ms. Ashworth’s claim even remotely true.

Ms. Ashworth is mistaken also when she blames our current troubles on globalization.  Contrary to her assertion that freer trade destroys jobs in America, the very period that she seems to long for – the decades immediately following the Great Depression – saw steady liberalization of trade.  The ever-increasing freedom to trade that began in the immediate aftermath of WWII coincided with substantial growth in both the number of jobs and in the real value of worker compensation in the U.S.

If freer trade and globalization cause widespread hardship in America, our current economic troubles would have begun, not in 2007, but in 1945.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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