Economists are famous for disagreeing among themselves. Yet on the subject of free trade, economic opinion speaks almost with one voice. In a recent survey, 87.5 percent of PhD members of the American Economic Association agreed that “the U.S. should eliminate remaining tariffs and other barriers to trade.”
As Paul Krugman (not exactly a proponent of laissez-faire) has stated, “if there were an Economist’s Creed, it would surely contain the affirmations ‘I understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage’ and ‘I advocate Free Trade’.”
Indeed. Since the days of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, economists have been tireless in demonstrating the role free trade plays in promoting prosperity and harmony for all nations.
Yet the economic consensus in favor of free trade has not always been heeded.…