Tim Harford about trade

A great post by Tim Harford what is great about trade. You should read it.

there are two ways to make cheese in the UK: the obvious way, using cows, and the indirect way, by making cars and then trading the cars in exchange for cheese.

I’d say that I am an economist by training and I am actually pro-free trade and against distortions like subsidies. In my opinion the EU could for example remove the subsidies for farmers, the US should do so, too. Both economic areas talk a lot about free trade but harm poor countries with exactly such subsidies which destroy world market prices of goods like corn for example. And that means that poor countries have a hard time to produce those goods. Sure, if we would drop those subsidies our agricultural sector would have a real problem but it would also mean that we probably increase the welfare somewhere else by more than we increase them here by our subsidies. It is easy to say for me since I am not a farmer but maybe other countries should get a shot at a better standard of living, too. And it can’t be that our institutions demand free trade from other countries but increase trade barriers to those for protecting their own and hurt the countries where they do the demands and thus hurt those countries in these end. Please, more free trade. We probably find a better way for getting a middle ground in terms of regulations that protect the consumers but all in all I want more free trade. And I am anxious about those tendencies to get back to more isolationism. In the end it is probably trade or war. I prefer trade.