The very definition of specialization is to focus your efforts and knowledge into producing things you are – comparatively speaking – better at producing, and outsource the rest to others. By default, then, these others will know more about everything they produce just as you will know more about the specialized things you produce.
When Hawley says the WTO enabled China’s rise, he’s not wrong. China’s long march to join the WTO required it to deliver massive economic reforms. When Beijing demonstrated that it was serious about reforms and that the Chinese economy and some of its government’s practices would become subject to the rules of the global trading system, the rest of the world responded by investing in China and cultivating deeper economic ties. That legitimacy contributed importantly to the development of China. But that was the plan, and it succeeded.
Matt Ridley is not impressed, to put it lightly, with the Imperial College modeling of Neil Ferguson – modeling from which predictions were drawn that pushed many governments to impose draconian lockdowns in response to covid-19.