NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 23, 2009

Rising trade, division of labor and globalization are advancing Main Street America, says Daniel Griswold of the Cato Institute, in his new book, "Mad About Trade: Why Main Street American Should Embrace Globalization."  He hails the advance and presses for still more growth-oriented, peaceful trade via competitive imports, according to reviewer William H. Peterson, an adjunct scholar at the Heritage Foundation and at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

According to Griswold:

  • Import competition benefits the American consumer, seeing him move ahead toward greater peace incentives, lower real prices, more choices, better quality.
  • Big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Best Buy deliver the world's goods mostly by sea via millions of big, truckload-size containers.
  • Rising lower- and middle-class spending at the big-box retailers tells why Wal-Mart sales grew despite the 2008 recession year.

Griswold also reminds us of classical economist David Ricardo's 1817 insight of comparative advantage, that a nation strongly tends to export that which optimizes its resources over other comparative possibilities.  So Griswold would have the United States adopt or maintain trade policies best for most Americans, especially the poor and middle class, no matter what other nations do, says Peterson.

Source: William H. Peterson, "World Peace through World Trade," Washington Times, September 21, 2009; based upon: Daniel Griswold, "Mad About Trade: Why Main Street American Should Embrace Globalization," Cato Institute, September 2009.

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