I’m a free trade skeptic, as is Dave. At a minimum, free trade has been oversold, without serious consideration of the transition costs and — above all — without concern for the particular people who are hurt (mostly labor). On the whole and in the long run, free trade may very well be a good thing, but right now for a lot of people it’s a bad thing.
As a non-economist, I’m always at something of a loss arguing this point over at Brad DeLong’s site. So here’s Max Sawicky, an economist who isn’t a born-again free-trader.
Read it all, but here’s a sample: “Some people defend outsourcing on the grounds that its ill effects could be alleviated by a non-existent safety net. This cold comfort for obvious reasons. We might add that the trend in the Federal budget makes any such safety net ever more unlikely. Nor is the liberal urge to balance the budget helpful in this dimension.”