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.
About 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.
What People are Saying About This
In a perceptive analysis of U.S. trade policy since 1776, Eckes destroys some of the myths about free trade. He demonstrates the inaccuracy of assertions that Smoot-Hawley caused or exacerbated the Great Depression and shows how perceived security needs in recent years have led to a one-sided giveaway of the U.S. market and U.S. manufacturing jobs.Herman Starobin, International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union