Thanks to reader Ken for bringing the above-linked article from The American Conservative, “Evening in America,” to my attention. It’s a great review of two books – The Betrayal of American Prosperity by Clyde Prestowitz and How The Economy Was Lost by Paul Craig Roberts – both former members of the Reagan administration, expressing alarm about the direction of U.S. trade policy. I encourage you to take 5 minutes to read the article. What’s interesting to me is that such thinking is creeping into conservative thought, since free trade has long been a conservative mantra.
The only place where I take exception to the article is the analysis of Japan’s “lost decade,” in which the article claims that Japanese GDP growth was actually better than it appears, and would be even better were it not for the lag in Japanese population growth. In other words, the author is an advocate of using population growth to stoke GDP growth. Not surprising. Another conservative mantra. (Though I’m not being fair, since liberals rely even more heavily upon this failed strategy.) Clearly, the author has no clue about the relationship between population density and per capita consumption.
Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to see current U.S. trade policy being viewed with growing skepticism, even among conservatives.