Sunday, December 03, 2006

Look and Shop for the Foreign Label

Given the growing backlash against free-trade and globalization, e.g. the House defeat in mid-November of the bill to normalize trade relations with Vietnam (WSJ editorial on November 17: "...Communist Party is more intent on free trade than the current U.S. Congress."), it was rather surprising and refreshing to see such a spirited defense of free-trade in a recent column by Cokie and Steve Roberts (aren't they both Democrats?). Check out this excerpt from their column "Look for the Foreign Label,"

"A TV commercial 20 years ago, urging shoppers to buy American-made clothing, contained the memorable refrain: "Look for the union label." That era is long over. Buying only domestic garments would leave your kids shivering this winter.

But here's a heretical suggestion for the holiday season: As you purchase sweaters and games and bikes to put under the tree, look for the foreign label. Notice how many of your gifts are made abroad, and take a moment to realize you are benefiting from globalization and free trade.

Even though free trade creates far more winners than losers, the losers tend to be louder and more visible. It's easy to put a picture on TV of a shuttered factory or an unemployed worker. It's much harder to show a family who earns more from expanding exports, or pays less because of inexpensive imports.

Free trade is in America's national interest. That's why you should look for the foreign label this holiday season."

Milton Friedman couldn't have said it any better himself.

Here is a link to the full article.


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