I believe that Binyamin Appelbaum may have unwittingly answered his own question about why American workers who lose their jobs–as illustrated by the former Maytag employees in Galesburg, Illinois–have such a difficult time finding alternative employment of the same standard. Mr.Applebaum reports that America is trying to negotiate international trade agreements that would build a “shield against globalization that would move closer to American standards for environmental protection, worker rights and intellectual property.” These very policies are the cause of America’s economic problems, and our trading partners would be foolish to adopt them. They are more likely to adopt the common sense policy of gradually incorporating these standards over time on a cooperative rather than an adversarial basis, in full knowledge that adopting them too early would create a barrier to economic growth. These standards are the consequences of economic growth. In effect, economic growth pays for them. The adverse consequences for believing otherwise are there for all to see in the US and Western Europe–a falling labor participation rate and out of control government debt to pay so-called welfare entitlements.
Patrick Barron is a consultant to the banking industry. He teaches Austrian school economics at the University of Iowa and Bank Managemant Simulation for the Graduate School of Banking, University of Wisconsin. Visit his blog. Send him mail.