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Opening America's Market: U.S. Foreign Trade Policy Since 1776
     

Opening America's Market: U.S. Foreign Trade Policy Since 1776

by Alfred E. Eckes
 

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Despite the passage of NAFTA and other recent free trade victories in the United States, former U.S. trade official Alfred Eckes warns that these developments have a dark side. Opening America's Market offers a bold critique of U.S. trade policies over the last sixty years, placing them within a historical perspective.

Eckes reconsiders trade

Overview

Despite the passage of NAFTA and other recent free trade victories in the United States, former U.S. trade official Alfred Eckes warns that these developments have a dark side. Opening America's Market offers a bold critique of U.S. trade policies over the last sixty years, placing them within a historical perspective.

Eckes reconsiders trade policy issues and events from Benjamin Franklin to Bill Clinton, attributing growing political unrest and economic insecurity in the 1990s to shortsighted policy decisions made in the generation after World War II. Eager to win the Cold War and promote the benefits of free trade, American officials generously opened the domestic market to imports but tolerated foreign discrimination against American goods. American consumers and corporations gained in the resulting global economy, but many low-skilled workers have become casualties.

Eckes also challenges criticisms of the 'infamous' protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which allegedly worsened the Great Depression and provoked foreign retaliation. In trade history, he says, this episode was merely a mole hill, not a mountain.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
[Eckes] unites scholarly rigor with a policymaker's sensitivity to the political factors influencing trade.
NY Times Book Review
[Eckes] unites scholarly rigor with a policymaker's sensitivity to the political factors influencing trade.
Journal of American History
Should alert elites (historians included!) to the dangers of free-trademarket dogmatism to American economic vitality.
David Rouse
Eckes traces American foreign trade policy back to the free trade arguments espoused by such early leaders as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and identifies conditions under the prevailing mercantilist philosophy that led to calls for protectionist barriers. He concentrates, however, on the policy that has evolved since passage of the controversial Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. Eckes makes the historian's case that current events cannot be understood without looking at them in historical perspective, and that is what he does here in analyses of NAFTA and other free trade initiatives. He also offers the historian's disclaimer of ideological bias, but his self-admitted "revisionism" in minimizing the effects of Smoot-Hawley and his warnings regarding the consequences of free trade "victories" make his opinions clear.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807861189
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
11/09/2000
Series:
Littlefield History of the Civil War Era
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
424
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Alfred E. Eckes, Jr., a former chairman and commissioner of the U.S. International Trade Commission, is Ohio Eminent Research Professor in Contemporary History at Ohio University. His books include The United States and the Global Struggle for Minerals.

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