Season 1 Episode #3: On NAFTA and Free Trade

Listen to Episode #3: On NAFTA and Free Trade

Free trade in its modern and recognizable form dates back to the ideas of Adam Smith. For centuries free trade has been considered in mainstream economics a key driver of economic growth. At the same time, free trade has served as the battleground for competing ideological perspectives throughout modern history. The debacle continues to this day, extending beyond its economic realm, to capture political discourse. Today’s podcast is an attempt to use evidence in assessing free trade in light of increasing political rhetoric in the current administration. Dr. Raymond Robertson is a professor and holder of the Helen and Roy Ryu Chair in Economics and Government in the Department of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service. In this podcast, the host and Dr. Robertson shed light on the obvious and hidden costs and benefits of free trade, how its impact differs across communities, and the need to be cognizant about its negative impacts. The premise of the talk, as Dr. Robertson indicates in the outset, is that in free trade, as in everything related to public policy, there will be winners and losers. But how much do the winners win, and how much do the losers lose? Is there a tradeoff between the benefits of free trade and the costs for workers in the labor market? How can we change the conversation from focusing solely on those who lose from free trade to ways of mitigating these losses, to sustain free trade’s overall positive influence for the country?

Sources cited:

Dr. Robertson’s Vitae can be accessed following this link: http://bush.tamu.edu/faculty/rroberts…

More information on NAFTA can be accessed following this link: https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/fre…

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