Global Trade

Governor and Ambassador, and currently Chairman of the Atlantic Council, Jon Huntsman had some thoughts in a weekend Wall Street Journal.

Expanded exports and open markets were central to our economic-security efforts to reconstruct Europe and Japan and keep lower-income countries free from communism.

Indeed. Such free trade imperatives remain central to freedom, to helping lower-income countries escape despotism generally, and to mutual and widespread prosperity. Huntsman went on:

Whereas today the world economy is replete with far-flung supply chains for manufacturing physical goods, it will be the free flow of designs and ideas that will increasingly constitute the economic linkages of the future.

True enough. The global economy, spurred on by that globalization, is evolving. Actually, the evolution will take a number of unexpected turns and paths, but Huntsman’s guess is as good as any.

But then Huntsman went astray.

….proliferation of empowered megacities and centers of creative innovation will challenge geographic borders, making it hard for capitals to call the shots.

The subhead of Huntsman’s piece emphasizes that basic problem.

Trade will be more important than ever 30 years from now. And a lot more complicated to regulate.

No. It’s not complicated at all to not regulate, and governments don’t need to—shouldn’t—call the shots. It’s not very much more complicated to not regulate very much. A free market doesn’t need very much regulation, and a free market global economy, for all the individual nations’ domestic laws may not be overly free, is the most prosperous global economy. Those who don’t want to play by free market rules when they enter that economy can’t force other nations to trade with them. That’s a free market decision.

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