Deconstructing the argument for free trade: A case study of the role of economists in policy debates

Economics and Philosophy 28 (1):1-30 (2012)

Abstract
This paper argues that, in light of the apparent settled nature of economists’ judgement on the issue of trade liberalization, the profession has stopped thinking critically about the question and, as a consequence, makes poor-quality arguments justifying their consensus. To develop support for this claim, the paper first recounts what economic analysis can say about trade liberalization. Then it analyses the quality of the arguments that economists make in support of free trade. The paper argues that the standard argument made by economists in favour of free trade is either incoherent or implicitly imposes philosophical value judgements about what is good for a nation or society, or it makes leaps of empirical faith about how the world works. The paper concludes with suggestions for better arguments.View HTMLSend article to KindleTo send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply. Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.DECONSTRUCTING THE ARGUMENT FOR FREE TRADE: A CASE STUDY OF THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS IN POLICY DEBATESVolume 28, Issue 1Robert Driskill DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266267112000090Your Kindle email address Please provide your Kindle email.@free.kindle.com@kindle.com Available formats PDF Please select a format to send. By using this service, you agree that you will only keep articles for personal use, and will not openly distribute them via Dropbox, Google Drive or other file sharing services. Please confirm that you accept the terms of use. Cancel Send ×Send article to Dropbox To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox. DECONSTRUCTING THE ARGUMENT FOR FREE TRADE: A CASE STUDY OF THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS IN POLICY DEBATESVolume 28, Issue 1Robert Driskill DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266267112000090Available formats PDF Please select a format to send. By using this service, you agree that you will only keep articles for personal use, and will not openly distribute them via Dropbox, Google Drive or other file sharing services. Please confirm that you accept the terms of use. Cancel Send ×Send article to Google Drive To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive. DECONSTRUCTING THE ARGUMENT FOR FREE TRADE: A CASE STUDY OF THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS IN POLICY DEBATESVolume 28, Issue 1Robert Driskill DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266267112000090Available formats PDF Please select a format to send. By using this service, you agree that you will only keep articles for personal use, and will not openly distribute them via Dropbox, Google Drive or other file sharing services. Please confirm that you accept the terms of use. Cancel Send ×Export citation Request permission.
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DOI 10.1017/s0266267112000090
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