Resolved: In matters of international trade, globalization ought to be valued above protectionism

In matters of international trade, globalization ought to be valued above protectionism.

The Affirmative

There are many  different reasons that global economic integration should be supported and that trade protectionism should be avoided. Some of these may be stronger justifications for ought to value, but I’ll leave that for you to think through. For now, I’ll just identify them.

There are a number of reasons that global economic integration is good —

Worker dislocation.  Protectionism causes trade shocks that displace workers in ways they can’t recover from.

Edwin G. Dolan is an economist and educator with a Ph.D. from Yale University, November 29, 2016, Why the Protectionist Cure Could Be Worse than the Globalization Disease,

Falling labor mobility makes the US economy more vulnerable to shocks Economists have long acknowledged that free trade produces losers as well as winners. To be sure, the Pollyannas among them have assured us that the losses from trade shocks are transitory. Trade-displaced workers, they have said, get back on their feet as they move to new jobs in export industries. Meanwhile, as cheap goods flood the stores, those workers, like everyone else, enjoy a lower cost of living. Recent research suggests, however, that the picture is not quite so bright. Globalization has brought many benefits, to be sure, but the losses have been more persistent and more concentrated than the optimists expected. In a widely cited study, David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson examine what the authors call “the China shock,” and reach a number of pessimistic conclusions: Most importantly, they find that the impact of trade shocks is far from temporary. Job losses and lower wages in hard-hit regions persist for years. Furthermore, because the effects are geographically concentrated, labor mobility is not sufficient to ensure that losses by workers are widely shared across regions and industries. Nor is it true, as some optimists have promised, that workers displaced by trade shocks quickly find comparable jobs in export industries. Moreover, Autor and his colleagues find that trade shocks disproportionately affect low-wage workers within affected regions and industries. Those who do find work often end up in services or other sectors where jobs do not fit their skills and wages are lower. Others turn to government assistance, including unemployment benefits, disability benefits and food stamps. To make things even worse, evidence from other studies suggests that it has become harder over time for the U.S. labor market to adjust to trade shocks. One major reason is decreased labor mobility. Falling rates of interstate migration, as shown in the next chart, are just one indicator. Several factors have contributed to decreased labor mobility. Disincentives in the social safety net are one source of reduced mobility. As mentioned above, Autor’s work shows that displaced workers seek temporary relief from hardship by taking advantage of food stamps, unemployment benefits, and other programs. Benefits paid under these programs are reduced or eliminated when the displaced worker finds a new job. As those benefit reductions, which (according to the Congressional Budget Office) can claw back take 30, 50, or even 80 cents of each dollar of added income. (For a fuller discussion of this issue, see this earlier post ). Less-than-fully-portable healthcare can also make it hard for displaced workers to move to where the jobs are, especially if their coverage comes through the employer of another family member. The Affordable Care Act has made some improvements, but, since much healthcare coverage is still employer-based, and because options vary widely from state to state, it has not full solved the problem of portability. The spread of occupational licensing to a third of all jobs today, up from 5 percent in the 1950s, is another factor that undermines mobility. The fact that licenses are not automatically transferable from state to state creates an obvious problem for any trade-displaced worker in a licensed profession. Even a displaced worker in a nonlicensed profession may find it hard to move to a new job if the family depends on income from a spouse who is a state-licensed math teacher, manicurist, or pest control worker. The steady increase in the number of Americans with criminal records has further reduced labor mobility. Most of the 70 million Americans with criminal records do eventually find jobs, but if they are displaced from that job by trade, it can be much harder to find new work. Protectionism would be the biggest shock of all The decreasing flexibility of the labor market matters because a sudden turn toward protectionism would itself impose a tremendous shock. Today, after years of painful adjustment to globalization, wrenching moves, and costly retraining, most workers displaced by the China shock, the NAFTA shock, and other trade shocks have found new jobs and new homes. Imposition of new tariff barriers and withdrawal from trade agreements would make it necessary to go through all of that again, in reverse. Millions of American workers in export industries would lose their jobs as trading partners retaliated, or as those countries simply became too poor to buy Boeing aircrafts for their airlines or US-made MRI machines for their hospitals. Millions of other Americans who work in finance and transportation services that support trade would also find their jobs threatened, as would those who work in sales, marketing, and retailing of goods the US now imports. In fact, it is an oversimplification to say we would have to go through the original trade shocks “in reverse.” In reality, those shocks are not reversible. Workers displaced from jobs they once held in manufacturing would not just be able to move back to jobs in reopened factories in their original home towns. Even if those factories are still standing, they will never reopen. Instead, making America self-sufficient in manufactured goods would mean building a whole new generation of modern, automated factories, in new locations, offering fewer jobs and requiring different skills than in the past. In short, the dream that protectionism could make America great again in the way many Trump supporters imagine is an illusion. Yes, at considerable cost, a sharp turn away from trade might make America more self-sufficient, but that process, like globalization itself, would create losers as well as winners. The lower-skilled, less-educated, and older workers who voted most heavily for Trump would almost certainly be among the losers.

Effective tax increase.  Higher tariffs, such as those Trump and Navarro want to impose, would substantially raise prices for consumers, which would have the largest impact on the middle class. They would also trigger a trade war, resulting in loss of jobs because of declining exports.

Clark Packard, October 27, 2016, US News & World Report, Manufactured Trade Myths,

But who would bear the brunt of greater protectionism? Trump and other protectionists often imply trade is a zero-sum game: If China’s economy is growing, for instance, America is losing. But boil down this overheated, misleading rhetoric and consider how a tariff increase would work in practice. Simply put, like a sales tax, it would amount to a regressive financial burden on goods and services consumed by American families and businesses. That hidden tax would in essence subsidize the very types of politically-connected insiders the protectionists rail against. After Trump suggested a 45 percent tariff on imports from China and Japan and a 35 percent tariff on imports from Mexico, economists with the National Foundation for American Policy found that the effect of such policies would devastate lower income Americans. Over a five year period, the study found, U.S. households in the lowest 10 percent of annual income would pay up to 18 percent of their after-tax income, or nearly $4,700 more, for the items they consume. New tariffs of this magnitude would not be a cakewalk for the middle class, either; the average American household – about $56,000 in annual after-tax income – would be hit with a tariff burden of a little more than $11,000 over a five year period. Not only would middle- and lower-income Americans face higher regressive taxes from tariffs, job loss would surely follow – impacting Americans all over the country. A new Peterson Institute study found that private sector job loss could reach 5 percent in heavily trade-dependent states like Washington, Massachusetts and California if new tariffs were implemented.

Increased consumer prices threatens those living in poverty.

Douglas Irwin, June 13, 2016, John Sloan Dickey Third Century Professor in the Social Sciences in the Department of Economics at Dartmouth College and the author of Free Trade Under Fire, The Truth About Trade: What Critics Get Wrong About the Global Economy,

But here is where the focus on trade is a diversion. Since trade is not the underlying problem in terms of job loss, neither is protectionism a solution. While the gains from trade can seem abstract, the costs of trade restrictions are concrete. For example, the United States has some 135,000 workers employed in the apparel industry, but there are more than 45 million Americans who live below the poverty line, stretching every dollar they have. Can one really justify increasing the price of clothing for 45 million low-income Americans (and everyone else as well) in an effort to save the jobs of just some of the 135,000 low-wage workers in the apparel industry?

Poverty reduction.  It is easy to find evidence that globalization has resulted in a net reduction in extreme global poverty.

Michael Coates, Michael Coates is president and CEO of the Americas region at global communications consultancy Hill+Knowlton Strategies, August 17, 2016, Huffington Post, Time for Business Leaders to Wake Up: Globalization is dead for a generation,

Since the end of the Second World War, business and government have largely been of one mind on increased globalization. For governments, the notion that trade mitigates conflict among nations has always been a tenant of laissez-faire capitalism. For business, access to wider sources of labor and capital is seen to help corporate profit. Moreover, the argument goes, globalization helps to eliminate poverty around the world through a larger distribution of jobs and wealth. Indeed, since 1990, extreme poverty levels have fallen from 37.1 percent of the world’s population to 9.6 percent in 2015, which is truly a staggering accomplishment.

One interesting argument that I think the Pro can make is that we ought to value reductions in extreme poverty in the developing world.

Sengendo 2008 [Ahmad Kawesa, Rector at University of Uganda] https://www.e P1Kawesa_CentralityofSTI.pdf.

As Jack DeGioia of Georgetown University put it, “The moral challenge of our times is to eliminate extreme poverty.” Socio-economic transformation remains a mirage as long as the majority of our people continue to live in abject poverty

One framework argument the Pro can make is that equality and poverty should be approached from the perspective of the global rather than local level.

Francois Buourguinon, Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics, former Chief Economist of the World Bank, and the author of The Globalization of Inequality, February 12, 2016, Inequality and Globalization; How the Rich Get Richer as the poor catch up, p. 11

When it comes to wealth and income, people tend to compare themselves to the people they see around them rather than to those who live on the other side of the world. The average Frenchman, for example, probably does not care how many Chinese exceed his own standard of living, but that Frenchman surely would pay attention if he started lagging behind his fellow citizens. Yet when thinking about inequality, it also makes sense to approach the world as a single community: accounting, for example, not only for the differences in living standards within France but also for those between rich French people and poor Chinese (and poor French and rich Chinese). When looking at the world through this lens, some notable trends stand out. The first is that global inequality greatly exceeds inequality within any individual country. This observation should come as no surprise, since global inequality reflects the enormous differences in wealth between the world’s richest and the world’s poorest countries, not just the differences within them. Much more striking is the fact that, in a dramatic reversal of the trend that prevailed for most of the twentieth century, global inequality has declined markedly since 2000 (following a slower decline during the 1990s). This trend has been due in large part to the rising fortunes of the developing world, particularly China and India. And as the economies of these countries continue to converge with those of the developed world, global inequality will continue to fall for some time.

Globally, ONE billion people have escaped extreme poverty as a result of globalization. Such reductions are critical for US security, US economic development, disease prevention, and the eradication of terrorism

Steven Radelet, February 12, 2016, Foreign Affairs, Radelet holds the Donald F. McHenry Chair in Global Human Development at Georgetown University and is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of The Great Surge: The Ascent of the Developing World (Simon & Schuster, 2015), from which this essay is adapted, Prosperity Rising; The Success of Global Development and How to Keep it Going,

Since the early 1990s, daily life in poor countries has been changing profoundly for the better: one billion people have escaped extreme poverty, average incomes have doubled, infant death rates have plummeted, millions more girls have enrolled in school, chronic hunger has been cut almost in half, deaths from malaria and other diseases have declined dramatically, democracy has spread far and wide, and the incidence of war-even with Syria and other conflicts-has fallen by half. This unprecedented progress goes way beyond China and India and has touched hundreds of millions of people in dozens of developing countries across the globe, from Mongolia to Mozambique, Bangladesh to Brazil. Yet few people are aware of these achievements, even though, in aggregate, they rank among the most important in human history. In 2013, the Swedish survey organization Novus Group International asked Americans how they thought the share of the world’s population living in extreme poverty had changed over the last two decades. Sixty-six percent of respondents said that they thought it had doubled, and another 29 percent said that it hadn’t changed. Only five percent knew (or guessed) the truth: that the share of people living in extreme poverty had fallen by half. Perhaps that ignorance explains why Washington has done so little to take advantage of these promising trends, giving only tepid support to nascent democracies, making limited investments in economic development and in new health and agricultural technologies, and failing to take the lead in building more effective international institutions. Whatever the reason, many developing countries are now responding to what they perceive as the United States’ indifference by looking elsewhere-especially toward China-for deeper engagement and advice on how to keep growing. At the same time, climate change, the slowdown in global growth, and rising tensions in the Middle East and beyond have begun to threaten further progress. As a result, the United States now risks missing out on a historic chance to strengthen its global leadership and help create a safer, more prosperous, and more democratic world-just at the moment when it could help the most. ONE GIANT LEAP Global poverty is falling faster today than at any time in human history. In 1993, about two billion people were trapped in extreme poverty (defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.90 per day); by 2012, that number had dropped to less than one billion. The industrialization of China is a big part of the story, of course, but even excluding that country, the number of extreme poor has fallen by more than 400 million. Since the 1980s, more than 60 countries have reduced the number of their citizens who are impoverished, even as their overall populations have grown. This decline in poverty has gone hand in hand with much faster economic growth. Between 1977 and 1994, the growth in per capita GDP across the developing countries averaged zero; since 1995, that figure has shot up to three percent. Again, the change is widespread: between 1977 and 1994, only 21 developing countries (out of 109 with populations greater than one million) exceeded two percent annual per capita growth, but between 1995 and 2013, 71 such countries did so. And going backward has become much less common: in the earlier period, more than 50 developing countries recorded negative growth, but in the later one, just ten did. The improvements in health have been even bigger. In 1960, 22 percent of children in developing countries died before their fifth birthday, but by 2013, only five percent did. Diarrhea killed five million children a year in 1990 but claimed fewer than one million in 2014. Half as many people now die from malaria as did in 2000, and deaths from tuberculosis and AIDS have both dropped by a third. The share of people living with chronic hunger has fallen by almost half since the mid-1990s. Life expectancy at birth in developing countries has lengthened by nearly one-third, from 50 years in 1960 to 65 years today. These improvements in health have left no country untouched, even the worst-governed ones. Consider this: the rate of child death has declined in every single country (at least those where data are available) since 1980. Meanwhile, far more children are enrolling in and completing school. In the late 1980s, only 72 percent of all primary-school-age children attended school; now, the figure exceeds 87 percent. Girls in developing countries have enjoyed the biggest gains. In 1980, only half of them finished primary school, whereas four out of five do so today. These leaps in education are beginning to translate into better-skilled workers. Then there is the shift to democracy. Prior to the 1980s, most developing countries were run by left- or right-wing dictators. Coups and countercoups, violence and assassinations, human rights abuses-all formed part of regular political life. But starting in the 1980s, dictators began to fall, a process that accelerated after the Cold War. In 1983, only 17 of 109 developing countries qualified as democracies, based on data from Freedom House and the Center for Systemic Peace; by 2013, the number had more than tripled, to 56 (and that’s not counting the many more developing countries with populations of less than one million). As those numbers suggest, power today is far more likely to be transferred through the ballot box than through violence, and elections in most countries have become fairer and more transparent. Twenty years ago, few Indonesians could have imagined that a furniture maker from central Java would beat one of Suharto’s relatives in a free and fair election, as Joko Widodo did in 2014. Nor would many have predicted that Nigeria, then still under military rule, would in 2015 mark its first peaceful transfer of power between parties, or that Myanmar (also called Burma) would hold its most successful democratic election the same year. Across the developing world, individual freedoms and rights are honored to a much greater degree, human rights abuses are rarer, and legislative bodies have more power. Yes, many of these new democracies have problems. And yes, the march toward democracy has slowed since 2005-and even reversed in some countries, such as Thailand and Venezuela. But in many more-from Brazil to Mongolia to Senegal-democracy has deepened. Never before in history have so many developing countries been so democratic. As states have become wealthier and more democratic, conflict and violence within them have declined. Those who think otherwise should remember that as recently as the 1980s and early 1990s, much of the world was aflame, from Central America to Southeast Asia to West Africa. There were half as many civil wars in the last decade as there were in the 1980s, and the number of people killed in armed conflicts has fallen by three-quarters. Three major forces sparked this great surge in development progress. First, the end of the Cold War brought an end to the superpowers’ support for some of the world’s nastiest dictators and reduced the frequency of conflict. As ideas about economic and political governance began to change, developing countries introduced more market-based economic systems and more democracy. Second, globalization created vast new opportunities for economic growth. Increased flows of trade, investment, information, and technology created more jobs and improved living standards. Third, new and more effective leaders-in politics, business, religion, and civil society-began to forge deep change. Where courageous figures, such as Nelson Mandela in South Africa, stepped forward, countries progressed; where old-style dictators, such as Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, remained in power, countries languished. This incredibly wide-ranging progress should not obscure the considerable work that remains: progress has not reached everyone, everywhere. One billion people still live in extreme poverty, six million children die every year from preventable diseases, too few girls get the education they deserve, and too many people suffer under dictatorships. Countries such as Haiti, North Korea, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe lag far behind. But the fact remains that an enormous transformation is under way-one that has already substantially improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people. WIN-WIN The United States should welcome and encourage this progress. For starters, broad-based development enhances global security. It is not true that poverty necessarily breeds terrorism, as some argue-after all, most poor people are not terrorists, and many terrorists are not poor. But it is true that poor states tend to be weak states unable to prevent terrorist and criminal networks from operating on their soil. Sustained development strengthens government institutions and reduces the need for outside intervention. As former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates put it, “Development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.” Development also builds states’ capacities to fight pandemic disease. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone were overwhelmed by Ebola in 2014 largely because they all had weak health systems. The same was true in many of the countries hit hardest by the HIV/AIDS epidemic decades ago. As poor countries grow wealthier, however, they become better equipped to fight diseases that can spread quickly beyond their borders. A more prosperous developing world also benefits the U.S. economy. The spread of economic growth creates new markets for American businesses not just in China but also in Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, and beyond. Developing countries are buying more and more aircraft, automobiles, semiconductors, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, consultancy services, and entertainment. Although the growth in trade with developing countries has slowed during the last year, their economies will no doubt remain major market opportunities for U.S. companies. In 1990, such states accounted for one-third of the global economy; today, their share is half, and they purchase more than half of U.S. exports. In 2011, Walmart spent $2.4 billion to acquire a controlling share of a holding company that operates more than 350 retail stores in South Africa and 11 other African countries, signaling a level of interest in African consumers that would have been unimaginable two decades ago. To be sure, emerging markets also create competition for U.S. businesses and hardship for American workers who lose their jobs as a result. But they also create many new jobs, as American firms expand abroad and as companies in the developing world send more capital to the West. Moreover, developing countries are increasingly coming up with their own innovations and technologies, in medicine, agriculture, energy, and more. The United States should respond to this growing competition not with protectionism but by strengthening its own capacities: rebuilding its infrastructure, improving its educational system, and investing in new technologies. Finally, development helps spread and deepen the values that Americans hold dear: openness, economic opportunity, democracy, and freedom. These values tend to go hand in hand with growing prosperity: as incomes rise, citizens demand greater freedoms. History suggests that even governments that do not welcome these ideas eventually embrace them or are replaced by those that do. And as more developing countries achieve progress under market-based economic systems and democracy, other countries seek to emulate the model. The United States and Europe have a strong self-interest in encouraging this process, since it will enhance global stability and add to the number of like-minded partners that can help address future challenges.

And beyond that, there is good evidence that this is a net reduction poverty and that it did not cause poverty to increase in the US.

Michael Tupy, November 22, 2016,, Globalization and Poverty,

Remember the good life during the 1970s? If you do, your experience is not likely to have been a typical one. In fact, the economic liberalization and globalization that started in the late 1970s and accelerated in the 1980s, has led to a massive and historically unprecedented decline in global poverty. Contrary to much of the public perception, liberalization and globalization have not led to an increase in U.S. poverty rates, which continue to fluctuate within a comparatively narrow and, by historical standards, low, band. Let us look at the global picture first. In 1981, the year Ronald Reagan became America’s 40th President, 44.3 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty (i.e., less than $1.90 per person per day). Last year, it was 9.6 percent. That’s a decline of 78 percent. In East Asia, a region of the world that includes China, 80.6 percent of people lived in extreme poverty. Today, 4.1 percent do—a 95 percent reduction. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, a relatively under-performing region, the share of the population living on less than $1.9 per day dropped by 38 percent. Have those advances come at the expense of the American worker? They have certainly led to economic dislocation, but America’s poverty rate has remained relatively steady. When talking about U.S. poverty rates, it is important to keep in mind that extreme poverty in America is vanishingly rare. Instead, our poverty rate is determined by the U.S. Census Bureau “by comparing pre-tax cash income against a threshold that is set at three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963, updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index. It’s also adjusted for family size, composition, and age of householder.” According to both the Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton and Cato’s Michael Tanner (who relied on U.S. Census Bureau data), the American poverty rate has moved between 15.2 and 11.3 percent over the last four decades. On three occasions (1983, 1993 and 2010) it reached over 15 percent of the population. Those were post-recession peaks that disappeared as soon as the economy recovered. In fact, America experienced her lowest poverty rate since 1974 in 2000, when openness of the American economy, as measured by the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index, was at its highest. Since then, America’s economy has become less free. Could that be the reason why the American recovery from the Great Recession was so sluggish and why America’s poverty rate has not retreated as fast as it did on previous occasions?

Even if inequality increases some in the developed world due to a loss of wages and unemployment, there is a social safety net in these countries and extreme poverty will not result.

You should also consult this additional file for separate poverty impacts —

[wpfilebase tag=”file” id=1402]

Improvements in women’s rights and well-being. As noted in the Intro essay, there is strong evidence that globalization improves women’s rights and well-being.

Gray et al 6 [Gray MM, Senior Lecturer in Physical Organic Chemistry, University of Sunderland, Kittilson MC and Sandholtz W, John A. McCone Chair in International Relations, University of Southern California (2006) Women and globalization: A study of 180 countries, 1975–2000. International Organization 60(2): 293–333] 7/17/2016

The evidence presented in our analysis shows that global norms and institutions make a difference for the quality of life and status of women. We have found that more often than not, when domestic cultures are more open to international influences, outcomes for women improve, as measured by health, literacy, and participation in the economy and government. Membership in the UN and World Bank, along with international trade and investment activity, are frequently associated with improved outcomes for women.

This is certainly an area we need to do more work on.

US isolationism/loss of hegemony. If the US isn’t globally integrated, popular support for US military engagement will decline, risking war in East Asia.

T.X.Hammes, August 2, 2016, The End of Globalization? The International Security Implications, T.X. Hammes is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.

In turn, if globalization no longer has major economic benefits for the United States, then employing U.S. power in an effort to maintain global security will be seen purely as a cost. This will create a very different domestic environment for the practice of U.S. foreign policy.  Deglobalization will reduce the American people’s interest in propping up global stability at exactly the time the widespread dissemination of smart, cheap weapons will significantly increase the costs of doing so. Faced with growing social and infrastructure needs, Americans may no longer be willing to underwrite international security with their tax dollars. Under these conditions, the United States public may demand a return to a limited strategic concept of defending the hemisphere and assuring access to the global commons. The U.S. military’s primary mission may revert to the punishment of bad behavior (gunboat diplomacy) rather than engagement to stabilize a region. Turning isolationist would reverse over 60 years of American foreign and security policy and radically alter the international security picture. Europeans, already struggling with the implications of Brexit, will have to determine which threat – mass migration or Russian expansion – is the greater threat and how they will reach agreement on the allocation of security resources. Asian nations will also face a very different environment. American presence in Asia has been seen as the major provider of stability and peace for the region. Given China’s recent assertiveness in the South China Sea, the biggest question for Asian nations will be how to prevent Chinese domination. In a region with no history of military security alliances, the challenges will be extensive. Some Asian states have the capability to rapidly develop nuclear weapons and may choose to do so to provide nuclear deterrence. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum writes: The speed of the current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management and governance.

Loss of US global credibility.  Similarly, protectionism will collapse US global influence, driving countries to align with Russia and China and undermining the liberal order necessary to stop world war, prevent depression, resist tyranny, and avoid genocide

Gideon Rose, January/February 2017, Foreign Affairs, Gideo Rose is the editor of Foreign Affairs

The first half of the twentieth century witnessed some of the worst moments in modern history: two world wars, a global depression, tyranny, genocide. That happened largely because the Western great powers hunkered down in the face of economic and geopolitical crisis, turning inward and passing the buck, each hoping that it might somehow escape disaster. But there was nowhere to run or hide, and catastrophe swept over them regardless. Reflecting on this afterward, Western policymakers swore not to repeat their mistakes and designed a postwar order based on mutually beneficial cooperation rather than self-interested competition. They recognized that foreign policy and international economics could be team sports rather than individual ones. So they linked their countries to one another in international institutions, trade agreements, and military alliances, betting that they would be stronger together. And they were correct: backed by extraordinary American power, the system they created has led to seven decades of progress, great-power peace, and economic growth So when Donald Trump chose “America First” as his presidential campaign’s foreign policy slogan, experts were appalled. Didn’t he realize that was the cry of pro-German isolationists who opposed American entry into World War II? Surely, embracing such a discredited position would hurt him, flying as it did in the face of everything U.S. foreign policy had stood for over generations. As usual these days, the experts’ predictions were wrong. But their reasoning was sound, because during his campaign, Trump did indeed offer a perspective on international politics closer to the nationalism and protectionism of the 1930s than to anything seen in the White House since 1945 If the new administration tries to put this vision into practice, it will call into question the crucial role of the United States as the defender of the liberal international order as a whole, not just the country’s own national interests. At best, this will introduce damaging uncertainty into everything from international commerce to nuclear deterrence. At worst, it could cause other countries to lose faith in the order’s persistence and start to hedge their bets, distancing themselves from the United States, making side deals with China and Russia, and adopting beggar-thy-neighbor economic programs.

Note: This argument is distinct from the previous one because the previous one impacts a simple US withdrawal from globalization. This card articulates the impact of protectionism on global leadership and integration.

US global economic leadership.  

US economic leadership critical to the US economy and global US leadership; Trade protectionism risks a great depression

Jacob Lew, US Secretary of the Treasury, Foreign Affairs April 21, 2016, America and the Global Economy; The Case for US Leadership

However, making this case is exactly what those who care about U.S. leadership in the world must do. History has shown that U.S. economic leadership is vital to the well-being of American workers and families, as well as to the ability of the United States to project its values and achieve its larger  foreign policy objectives. Sustaining U.S. leadership and adapting it to the challenges of our time remain indispensable. U.S. influence in a changing world will increase as the United States shares with emerging economies such as China both the benefits and the responsibilities of managing the global economic and financial system. FOLLOW THE LEADER The seven decades following World War II have produced the greatest gains in living standards in history. Globally, real per capita income has quadrupled since 1950, raising living standards for billions of people, extending life expectancies, and expanding access to education. The benefits of sustained growth have also been geopolitical. The dynamism of economies in North America, Western Europe, and East Asia was integral to the triumph of market-based democracies in the Cold War. Clear rules for global economic relations create opportunities and incentives to innovate, invest, and work-the critical drivers of economic progress. History shows that the absence of a durable framework not only squanders untapped potential during good times but also creates grave risks during turbulent times. The breakdown of international cooperation in the 1930s-when countries took unilateral actions to secure short-term parochial advantages to the detriment of others-perpetuated the Great Depression. The Bretton Woods system of cooperation, which the United States advanced in the postwar years, has evolved and endured by providing a foundation for mutual economic gains that would not be achievable by individual countries acting on their own. Such a system of rules and standards based on mutual responsibility does not automatically enforce itself; it requires leadership, a role that has historically been played by the United States. It also requires constant management and improvement, to raise standards and create better mechanisms to ensure that countries keep their commitments, refrain from unfair competitive behavior, and cooperate to confront new challenges. When the system is working, the stability and predictability it provides encourage countries-even commercial and geopolitical competitors-to adhere to a common set of norms and principles, because doing so is in their long-run economic interests. The United States was present at the creation of this ambitious system. And a long line of Republican and Democratic administrations with bipartisan support from Congress have been integral to adapting it to new challenges, as well as supplementing it with bilateral and multilateral tools, such as the G-7 and the G-20, to advance its underlying goals. The United States has worked with its partners to promote economic development, strengthen global financial regulation, and combat financial crimes from money laundering to terrorist financing. Using mechanisms such as the IMF and the G-20, in conjunction with U.S. legislation such as the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, this system has helped level the playing field in international trade and prevent unfair currency practices aimed at gaining commercial advantage. International economic cooperation has delivered benefits to the United States and other countries that would have been impossible to attain otherwise. A major reason that the global financial crisis that began in late 2007 never turned into a second Great Depression is that the United States and other countries coordinated their efforts through the IMF and the G-20. Avoiding the downward spiral of protectionism and predatory macroeconomic policies that characterized previous eras, the world’s major economies-the United States, the eurozone, Japan, and China-launched simultaneous economic stimulus programs and mobilized financial assistance to help vulnerable parts of the global system. The episode represented just one of many examples of how economic cooperation makes the American people and others around the world more prosperous and secure. BENEFITS AND RESPONSIBILITIES As the world’s leading economy, the United States has nurtured and strengthened this framework of economic cooperation. Over the past few years alone, it has used this system to work with partners to marshal billions of dollars in financial and technical assistance to advance important U.S. goals. The IMF, at the suggestion of the United States, was a first responder to the fiscal stress caused by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014. That same year, it was also the first responder in supporting a reform-oriented government in Ukraine with $17 billion in urgent support, the initial tranche of which was delivered within weeks of Russia’s aggression in Crimea. The scale and speed of this assistance simply would not be possible if the United States had to act alone or stitch together donor contributions in an ad hoc manner. The international financial institutions amplify U.S. influence on the global stage. By working closely with partners to implement financial sanctions, the United States has also demonstrated how to use the global financial architecture to persuade disruptive actors to abandon behavior that threatens peace and security. An unprecedented coalition imposed sufficient financial pressure to win major nuclear concessions from Iran, and the U.S. Treasury and other agencies are still working closely with allies to impose costs on Russia for its actions in Ukraine and to move against entities that are abetting North Korea’s nuclear violations. The effective use of these tools has given future U.S. presidents and other leaders more and better options for confronting security threats short of using military force. The ability of the United States to mobilize the international community and sustain the commitment of other nations to the global financial architecture requires the judicious exercise of power. In the years after World War II, it was natural for the United States, which had the world’s largest economy and the only currency that could command sufficient trust as a global reserve asset, to take on the mantle of global economic leadership. And although today there is still no immediate alternative, it would be a mistake to take this dominance for granted. The durability of U.S. leadership depends not just on the economic heft of the United States but also on the manner in which it wields power in international institutions, forges key relationships, and manages those occasions on which it must act unilaterally to protect its core interests. It is important to keep in mind how the United States has maintained its preeminence even as so much has changed since World War II. After the war, the United States accounted for the dominant share of global GDP and nearly all of the world’s hard currency reserves. Today, it accounts for less than a quarter of global GDP. Yet U.S. leadership has endured, in part because American principles and values are embedded in the international economic framework. The United States has encouraged other countries to have a stake in the success of this system and a voice in how it is managed, so that its institutions continue to meet the needs of a transforming global economy. That is why the Obama administration has made it a priority to modernize the IMF’s governance structure and to ensure the organization has sufficient resources. And that is why since becoming treasury secretary in 2013, I have held dozens of conversations with Republican and Democratic leaders in both the House and the Senate to secure congressional approval for these reforms. Key to making the case was explaining how the reforms were critical to sustaining the leadership of the United States on the global stage and its ability to pursue objectives in such places as Ukraine. By underscoring the U.S. commitment to an IMF that is evolving to reflect the changes in the global economy, the United States promotes incentives for emerging countries to remain committed to a system of norms that reflect American values. As other countries gain greater voice in the international system, they also must accept greater responsibilities. A major one is to engage in responsible foreign exchange practices. Currency fluctuations are a normal and even desirable attribute of the global economy. When the values of currencies are allowed to move according to market forces, the global economy can better adapt to changes in relative economic performance among countries. What is unacceptable, however, is intervention in foreign exchange markets in order to gain a competitive advantage in trade or impede adjustments in the balance of payments. Competitive devaluation represents a beggar-thy-neighbor fight for a shrinking global pie, not a pathway to stronger global growth. Strong multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the G-20 are important vehicles for reinforcing norms against predatory currency practices and for mobilizing multilateral pressure against countries that engage in them. At the G-20 meeting in Shanghai this February, members not only committed to using all tools of policy-monetary, fiscal, and structural-to boost economic growth in a time of weak demand. They also committed to refrain from competitive devaluation and, for the first time, to consult on foreign exchange markets to avoid surprises that could threaten global financial stability. The manner in which the United States has discharged its own responsibilities across the span of global obligations is reflected in the ongoing preeminence of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. By maintaining a capital market of unparalleled depth, transparency, liquidity, and openness, the United States continues to provide the safety net that global investors value most. It is incumbent on U.S. policy­makers not to take for granted the reserve-currency status of the dollar but rather to ensure that the country’s economic policies and stewardship of U.S. capital markets sustain this track record of trust and reliability. This also entails using financial sanctions judiciously-as against Iran, Russia, and North Korea-to support critical national security objectives while designing such sanctions with care and precision to target hostile actors and limit collateral damage to other countries and markets. THE DOMESTIC AGENDA Sustaining U.S. leadership in the global economic system begins at home. The United States must lead by example, as it did by bouncing back from the financial crisis. During the crisis, many were questioning the place of the United States in the global economy. But the U.S. government’s forceful and prompt response-using all available tools-ultimately demonstrated the underlying resilience of the American economy. The U.S. Federal Reserve took aggressive action on the monetary front, while the president and Congress adopted a powerful fiscal stimulus that combined government spending with temporary payroll tax cuts that put money directly in the pockets of American workers. The result has been the longest streak of uninterrupted private-sector job growth in U.S. history; as of early 2016, the economy had experienced over 72 consecutive months of job growth, with 14 million jobs generated in the private sector and the unemployment rate falling to 4.9 percent. Between 2009 and 2015, the budget deficit declined from nearly ten percent of GDP to 2.5 percent. Meanwhile, improved financial regulation has helped address the causes of the crisis, producing a better-capitalized and more stable financial system. But along the way, there were a number of moments when the world wondered whether political conflict had rendered the American system incapable of meeting the challenge. Government shutdowns and the threat of government default heightened global anxieties. U.S. Treasury bonds define the risk-free rate of return around the world, and the chance that political turmoil could lead to any form of default left lasting scars, wounds that would be reopened immediately at the first sign of a repeat episode. Moreover, Washington’s inability to reach a consensus on domestic issues such as rebuilding aging infrastructure, reforming the broken business tax code, and passing immigration reform-issues on which there is in fact the potential for bipartisan consensus-raises questions about the country’s future economic strength. The United States needs to address these issues for domestic reasons, and when it does, it will be more capable of achieving its international objectives, as well. Last summer, when Congress approved legislation granting the president trade promotion authority, it demonstrated yet again that, working together, both sides of the aisle can tackle difficult issues. The move also opened a pathway for the approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed in February, which will level the global playing field for U.S. workers and firms while getting other countries to meet a high bar on environmental, labor, and intellectual property standards-yet another example of the United States promoting its values in global economic institutions. Similarly, when Congress reauthorized the Export-Import Bank last year, it leveled the playing field for U.S. firms, including small businesses, and gave the United States leverage to prevent other governments from unfairly subsidizing their exporters through artificially cheap financing. This February, the president signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, which gives the U.S. Treasury new tools to fight unfair currency practices. By enumerating objective criteria that would automatically trigger enhanced scrutiny of a country’s currency practices-such as a significant bilateral trade surplus with the United States, a sizable current account surplus, and persistent one-sided intervention in foreign exchange markets-the legislation put governments on notice that such practices will be caught and subject to a U.S. response. Just days after the act became law, the Treasury made it clear to U.S. trading partners that the United States will vigorously apply these criteria, which-in tandem with existing multilateral mechanisms through the IMF and the G-20-will be a strong deterrent to would-be currency manipulators. Without congressional partnership, many of these important steps would have been impossible. Likewise, it will take congressional action to address the underlying concerns of many Americans that make international commitments difficult. Congress and the executive branch must work together on domestic policies that can assure anyone willing to study and work that they will have the opportunity to advance in a changing economy. And it is critical that Congress support policies to help workers dislocated by global competition, such as Trade Adjustment Assistance (a federal program for which the president secured a six-year reauthorization last year), not only when trade agreements are pending but also during the long periods in between, when anxieties are no less pronounced but Washington is too often silent. Although the power of American ideas and values remains a pillar of the global system, the continuing financial commitment of the United States to the international financial institutions is also essential. This includes having Congress appropriate the funds required to meet U.S. pledges to the multilateral development banks. As director of the Office of Management and Budget in the 1990s, I was personally involved in the effort to clear unmet U.S. commitments to the UN at a moment when that institution was addressing key U.S. security priorities in southeastern Europe and Africa, as well as Iraq. Today, Washington is again accruing unmet pledges to many organizations to which it will turn at moments of crisis or to pursue other goals. To put it bluntly, the United States must pay its bills. The return on investment in terms of sustaining its influence and advancing its values is enormous. And if the United States does not lead, others will act without it. The world’s future economic challenges will require the United States to invest a great deal of effort, time, and financial resources. Making the case for sustained U.S. leadership is not always easy. Unilateralism or isolationism often make for better sound bites. So it is incumbent on everyone who believes in the benefits that international cooperation has brought to the United States to be vocal in articulating the economic and geopolitical case for an ongoing U.S. commitment to global economic engagement.

Debaters may also want to add other hegemony good impacts.

Democratization.   Russia and China have used declining Western support for globalization to support the construction of their own, anti-liberal world orders

Robin Niblett, Chattham House, January/February 2017, Foreign Affairs, Liberalism in Retreat,

Trump’s victory, the decision by a majority of British voters to leave the EU, and the rise of populist parties in both the prosperous north and the poorer south of Europe represent visible symptoms of this deep unease with globalization. So, too, does the collapse in popular support in the United States and the EU for expanding international trade, whether through the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the United States or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Europe. In a 2014 Pew Research survey, 87 percent of respondents in developing economies agreed that trade benefits the economy, whereas around half of all respondents in France, Italy, and the United States said they believed that trade destroys jobs and lowers wages.  Across Europe, resistance to deeper political integration has grown. For the past 60 years, the willingness of the EU’s member states to pool their sovereign power in supranational legal structures provided a benchmark for other countries that sought to cooperate more closely in their regions. As the political scientist Simon Serfaty put it in 2003, Europeans had transformed their systems of political governance from city-states to nation-states to member states. Now, this process has ground to a halt—and it may well reverse.  The British vote to leave the EU will likely prove an outlier: the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community, the EU’s predecessor, only in 1973, 16 years after its founding; the United Kingdom has a long history of Euroskepticism; and it opted out of the single currency and the Schengen area of open borders. Other countries will probably not follow the United Kingdom out of the EU. But few European leaders appear willing to continue relinquishing their countries’ sovereignty. Many European states have rejected EU requests that they accept a quota of refugees. The richer members of the eurozone are refusing to pool their financial resources in a common deposit insurance scheme to ensure the long-term viability of the single currency. Today, many European politicians are demanding more national sovereign control over the application of existing EU laws and the design of new forms of integration. In this context, the hope that the EU might provide a template for liberal regional integration elsewhere seems increasingly lost. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, South America’s Mercosur, the African Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council remain mechanisms for only limited political and economic cooperation among governments. China and Russia, meanwhile, have used this period of Western self-doubt to modernize their militaries and assert their regional and geopolitical interests. They have built institutions, including the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, that have helped them coordinate and legitimize a parallel political order that challenges Western norms of democratic governance and that rejects any external interference in support of human rights.  AMERICA IN RETREAT  For the past seven decades, the United States has provided the security umbrella under which the liberal international system has flourished. But today, the United States is more inward-looking than at any point since World War II. After the costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the chaos that followed the intervention in Libya, Obama has recalibrated the United States’ international role, consistently encouraging allies in Europe and the Middle East to take greater responsibility for their own security. In his presidential campaign, Trump twisted this argument into an explicitly transactional bargain: the United States should become a mercenary superpower, protecting only those countries that pay, so that it can focus on making itself great again at home. In so doing, he ignored the hard-won lesson that investing in the security of U.S. allies is the best way to protect the United States’ own security and economic interests. How exactly Trump will govern, however, remains unclear.  Rightly or wrongly, the United States’ allies, from Europe to Asia, now fear that the superpower may no longer be an engaged and committed partner. These fears come at a dangerous time. A Europe hobbled by institutional and economic weakness is more vulnerable to the diverse forms of pressure that Russia is currently applying, including financial support for European populist parties and threatening military maneuvers on NATO’s eastern borders. Despite Russia’s own economic weakness, Putin’s advocacy of a new European order based on cultural and national sovereignty appeals to Europe’s increasingly vocal nationalist parties, from the UK Independence Party to France’s National Front and Hungary’s Fidesz, whose leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has publicly advocated building an “illiberal state.” Many of the United States’ other allies and democratic partners around the world are also on the back foot. Japan and South Korea are struggling to manage the twin challenges of aging populations and economies that are overly dependent on exports, and his-torical antagonisms prevent them from presenting a united front to promote liberal democracy in their region. Large emerging-market democracies, such as Brazil, India, Nigeria, and South Africa, have so far failed to overcome entrenched obstacles to sustainable economic growth and social cohesion. And the perception that U.S. global power is waning and that the Washington consensus does not guarantee economic progress has bolstered strongmen in countries as diverse as the Philippines, Thailand, and Turkey, who have undermined the institutional checks and balances that underpin liberal democracy.

There are a number of reasons that trade protectionism is bad that are independent of the benefits of globalization.

Total failure. Imposing tariffs just shifts the source of production to another country, and if we put tariffs on all countries, it will cause another depresion

Douglas Irwin, June 13, 2016, John Sloan Dickey Third Century Professor in the Social Sciences in the Department of Economics at Dartmouth College and the author of Free Trade Under Fire, The Truth About Trade: What Critics Get Wrong About the Global Economy,

Like undoing trade agreements, imposing selective import duties to punish specific countries would also fail. If the United States were to slap 45 percent tariffs on imports from China, as Trump has proposed, U.S. companies would not start producing more apparel and footwear in the United States, nor would they start assembling consumer electronics domestically. Instead, production would shift from China to other low-wage developing countries in Asia, such as Vietnam. That’s the lesson of past trade sanctions directed against China alone: in 2009, when the Obama administration imposed duties on automobile tires from China in an effort to save American jobs, other suppliers, principally Indonesia and Thailand, filled the void, resulting in little impact on U.S. production or jobs.

And if restrictions were levied against all foreign imports to prevent such trade diversion, those barriers would hit innocent bystanders: Canada, Japan, Mexico, the EU, and many others. Any number of these would use WTO procedures to retaliate against the United States, threatening the livelihoods of the millions of Americans with jobs that depend on exports of manufactured goods. Trade wars produce no winners. There are good reasons why the very mention of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act still conjures up memories of the Great Depression.

China trade war. Economic protectionism will be targeted at China.

Kerry Brown, December 2, 2016, The Diplomat, China in the Crosshairs of the Antigloalization trend,

Hovering behind both these different examples of public anger expressing itself through the ballot box, there is the role of China and the emerging world, and the ways in which these countries’ desire for greater economic growth, and a better deal for themselves, are starting to impact the developed world. In the past, the deal was that China at least manufactured goods that were cheap and affordable for Westerners. But now China is moving into direct competition, in services, technology, and the production of highly qualified, well-educated migrants. China has been clearly one of the great beneficiaries of globalization. This is the prime reason why it remains a supporter of free trade deals. It has used the World Trade Organization and other norms-based regimes not only to get market access and trade with the outside world, but also to enforce positive change domestically. No wonder that in the era of Trump and protectionism, it will be Communist China, not free market Washington, that will be the most vocal supporter of free trade deals. The irony could not be more complete. Since China is only likely to continue winning the great battle of globalization, at some point, the current targets that attract electoral rage – like the EU and its claimed bureaucracy, or the Washington administration – will fade as another target looms into view. That target? China, who is able to flood the world with steel through subsidies to state enterprises , and to export its overproduction to regions dressed up with the harmless sounding title of the “Belt and Road Initiative.” Growing economic anger will happen as China maintains its one-party system, making it even more qualified as an object of fear, misunderstanding, and prejudice. The Chinese government under Xi has become much better at communicating its intentions to the rest of the world. But it remains ill-suited to trying to deflect an international chorus of claims and criticisms over what will be seen as self-centered, mercantilist behavior. We will soon live in an era of rising demands demand for trade wars with China, boycotts of Chinese goods and services, and  government action against China economically. The problem is, of course, that any actions will have a deleterious effect more on those proposing such protectionist measures than their ostensible objects. China talks about going for “win-win” outcomes. But the perception is rising that this is all too often means China winning twice. China now needs to adopt a more generous, sympathetic attitude toward countries it perhaps sees as sunk in self-induced conflict and decline, rather than acting overly victorious. In the long term, this will serve China well, lest Beijing risk replacing the current targets of public anger as the prime object of frustration and discontent.

US-China clash wrecks the global economy and trigger war with the US.

Ronce Alond, December 12, 2016, The Diplomat, Finding Balance in the US-China Relationship, Roncevert (Ronce) Ganan Almond is Partner and Vice-President at The Wicks Group, based in Washington, D.C. His practice is devoted to U.S. regulation and policy, international law, and government relations involving aviation, aerospace and national security matters. He has advised the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and governments in Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America on issues of international law.

In weighing its options, the Trump administration must recognize that the tenets of the post-Cold War order are being buffeted by strong headwinds. The stability provided by the Atlantic community is being replaced with the uncertainty of the Asia-Pacific. In shared domains like the South China Sea and cyber space, China and Russia are unwinding various strands of the international rules-based order. A precarious populism is sweeping across the West, a fact Donald Trump can appreciate. According to the World Trade Organization, trade grew only 80 percent as fast as the global economy in 2016, the first reversal of globalization since 2001 and only the second since 1982. Wild gyrations in the U.S.-China relationship will only further weaken a sputtering global economy, and potentially lead to conflict between the world’s most significant powers. Failing to see and comprehend the shifting ground in international relations will prevent the president-elect from taking the necessary steps to sustain American leadership and the global commons.

The Value of Trade

There are a number of reasons that trade is good.

One, trade increases overall economic efficiency.

Russell Roberts,EconTalkhost, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Huffington Post, Trump Says the World is Too Focused on Globalization. Is He Right? September 26, 2016,

The whole idea of free trade is to give people in different nations the opportunity to buy and sell freely with each other. Because the people in different nations have different skills and desires, that is going to mean a rearrangement of economic activity relative to what it would be without free trade. It will generally make both nations richer, though it will not necessarily make every individual in each country better off. If you lose your job because your factory moves to Mexico or China, you are going to have a tough time for a while, and maybe a long while, depending on how long it takes you to find another job that is nearly as good or better. 

War.  Global integration through trade reduces the risk of war because countries have an economic incentive not to go to war.

Larry J. Obhof, J.D., Yale Law School, 2003; B.A., Ohio University, 2000. “WHY GLOBALIZATION? A LOOK AT GLOBAL CAPITALISM AND ITS EFFECTS”. University of Florida Journal of Law & Public Policy. Fall 2003. Pp. 116-17

Perhaps the strongest argument in favor of global capitalism is based on another “externality”: conflict prevention. Many have speculated that international investment may inhibit conflict by promoting economic growth and interdependence. Conflict becomes relatively less attractive as a country reaches higher levels of economic development. As one scholar put it, “[F]ree trade makes nations too busy and too rich to fight.”   Increasing economic interdependence compounds this effect. Indeed, the more a country’s economy depends on foreign trade or investment, the more self-damaging it is to engage in aggression.  This idea is certainly not new. As Montesquieu penned in 1752: “Peace is the natural effect of trade. Two nations who traffic with each other become reciprocally dependent . . . and thus their union is founded on their mutual necessities.”  The wisdom of Montesquieu’s statement has become even more apparent in recent years. As the now-famous “Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention” by Thomas Friedman makes clear, there is a point at which the desire of a country for trade and investment restricts the capacity for war-making by its leadership. n149 Economic integration places strong constraints on countries “plugged into the system”: investors may withdraw billions of dollars, not merely retarding economic growth, but in some cases dispatching it altogether. Any chance of a conflict is inhibited by the direct investments that natives have in foreign countries, and the investments that foreigners have in the home country. n150 Perhaps the simplicity of this argument makes it easy to dismiss. Its importance is not lost, however, on world leaders. In 1996, as the first fully democratic elections of Taiwan were approaching, columnist Thomas Friedman travelled Beijing to observe the growing tensions between China and Taiwan. China was threatening to invade if Taiwan sought total independence from the mainland. When Friedman interviewed a senior economist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, he asked if China could in fact afford to attack Taiwan. The economist answered, “No – it would stop investment in China, stop growth, stop our last chance to catch up with the rest of the world.” With 20% of its total annual investment   coming from foreign sources, and exports to America making up 40% of the total exports of China, the Chinese economy simply could not withstand the shock that a war would cause. The economist was admitting “that China could not attack Taiwan without devastating its own economy.”  The rest, as they say, is history. Tensions continue, but the Chinese government, eager for growth and aware of the consequences of its actions, remains in check.

Answering Objections to globalization free trade

Nationalist/Racist backlash. This is a very strong argument that we will continue to work on answers to.  To be honest, most of the evidence is Negative.  I wills start with the two answers I’ve found so far —

– This can’t be solved by economic improvements and reductions in inequality because it also driven by racism, something that will continue even if inequality is reduced

Case Muddle, Associate Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at the University of Georgia and Researcher at the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) at the University of Oslo, August 9, 2016, The revenge of the losers of globalization?

But for all the intellectual and personal comfort the “losers of globalization thesis” provides us, it is almost as stereotypical and simplistic as the populist discourse we abhor. First of all, in objective terms, there are not that many losers of globalization in most western countries. Almost everyone has profited in some way. Moreover, as several people have pointed out for the case of the US, but hardly anyone for Europe, many of the real losers of globalization are not the white working class, but the non-white underclass, of African Americans in the US and immigrants (and their descendants) in Europe. The thesis probably is more accurate when we look at relative rather than absolute deprivation, i.e. if we define the losers of globalization as those that perceive themselves to be losers. These are people who might have objectively profited from globalization, but who feel (often correct) that they haven’t profited as much as others. They will be actually correct: in the past decades, a small minority (sometimes referred to as “the 1%”) has profited disproportionally from the globalized economy. And, yet, populist radical right parties attract only a small part of these relative losers of modernization — even Brexit attracted “just” 52 percent of the people (just over half of “the 99 percent”!). Another problem with the thesis is its theoretical underdevelopment. Why would the losers of globalization vote for Donald Trump, who doesn’t fundamentally oppose neoliberal globalization, instead of Bernie Sanders, who does (as least much more fundamentally)? If this truly was about a fairer redistribution of wealth and bringing back good-paying working class jobs to Europe and the US, the populist left is a much more authentic voice of the losers of modernization than the populist right. And yet, even after almost a decade of Great Recession, the populist left is quite marginal, outside of Greece and Spain, while the populist right has reached unprecedented heights in many more countries. The past years have taught us that a predominantly socio-economic anti-globalization discourse is only successful in countries that experience severe economic crises and/or economic inequality — such as Greece, Venezuela, and the United States. In most countries, it is the socio-cultural translation of socio-economic grievances that fuels the rise of the populist right. While people might be frustrated or worried about their socio-economic situation, it is the link to socio-cultural threats — from China to the Middle East and from (Muslim) immigrants to “femiNazis” — that mobilizes them to voice support a radical alternative — rather than exit with a non-vote or expressing loyalty by voting for the mainstream alternative. In short, support for right populist politics is not a matter of either economic woes or xenophobia, it is both, wrapped up in a boiling hot blanket of anti-establishment anger.This also means that populist right politics will remain viable after the Great Recession has ended, as we can see in the largely post-recession US. Hence, simply providing a more fair redistributive socio-economic policy is not going to get rid of populist right politics — although it will undoubtedly limit its success. First of all, part of the population is Islamophobic and even racist, irrespective of their socio-economic position. They might never support liberal democratic politics within a multi-ethnic society. Second, many others are deeply suspicious of the political establishment, which includes academics and journalists, and will have to be convinced, over a long period of time, that these new policies are indeed profitable for them and that “others” are not profiting (much) more. That is the real challenge for the future: to create a politics that is more fair and inclusive to all, both the (mostly white) relative and the (mostly non-white) absolute “losers of globalization”.

It’s inevitable — automation means that people will inevitably loose their (jobs) — see below

Unemployment. Some research demonstrate that trade threatens the jobs of middle class Americans because goods are cheaper to produce overseas. While it is impossible to deny that trade causes some unemployment in the US, low cost goods  free up money to invest in other parts of the economy and the loss of certain industries provides competitive incentives to invest in other industries.

Russell RobertsEconTalk host, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Huffington Post, Trump Says the World is Too Focused on Globalization. Is He Right? September 26, 2016,

The whole idea of free trade is to give people in different nations the opportunity to buy and sell freely with each other. Because the people in different nations have different skills and desires, that is going to mean a rearrangement of economic activity relative to what it would be without free trade. It will generally make both nations richer, though it will not necessarily make every individual in each country better off. If you lose your job because your factory moves to Mexico or China, you are going to have a tough time for a while, and maybe a long while, depending on how long it takes you to find another job that is nearly as good or better. 

And it is bad to focus on bringing back jobs that will just be eliminated through automation. Instead,we should focus on developing new, meaningful jobs.

Thomas Newell, Founder, Leadership for a Responsible Society, December 8, 2016, Huffintgon Post, The Future, Jobs, and Work,

Globalization has outsourced jobs (think manufacturing, apparel and services) to cheaper, foreign labor. In their enlightening book, Race Against the Machine, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee highlight the impact of technology. Robotics has eliminated assembly jobs, and machines have eliminated jobs such as tellers and toll booth operators, to cite just some examples. Artificial intelligence will begin to replace even more jobs. Truck, cab and Uber drivers may not be able to compete with self-driving vehicles. Amazon is launching amazon.go, a self-service grocery store that eliminates the need for check-out clerks. Jobs at the higher end of the economic ladder will not be immune. Paralegals, medical technicians, and some jobs in education and financial services could find themselves threatened by cognitive computing. This is the bad news. The good news is that new jobs will be created. If we are smart about it, we can replace jobs that are low pay and low in work satisfaction with those that provide both more pay more and more meaningful work. This will require investment in technologies and partnerships that will dramatically increase the rate of innovation and the associated job creation needed to put the nation at the forefront of new kinds of jobs. In that respect, trying to retain or bring back jobs that are dying because of foreign competition, that are personally or environmentally unhealthy or that can, should or will be automated anyway is a palliative not a cure. Even raising the minimum wage, while an important matter of equity, may just incentivize automation of low-skilled jobs, hastening the day when those who have finally earned a living wage find themselves without any wage at all.

Manufacturing. On a related note, some argue we need to protect the US manufacturing industry to protect jobs, long-term growth, and even national security.

There are three problems with this argument. One, as just noted, protectionist measures will result worker dislocation as exports decline, increasing unemployment.  Two, there are plenty of open manufacturing jobs in the US. Many US workers simply don’t want them and others are not qualified to take them.

Amparna Mathur, December 21, 2016, Making Manufactuing great again will require a two prong approach, (Aparna Mathur is a resident scholar in economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland,)

Today, there are 322,000 vacancies that are unfilled. Clearly, manufacturing jobs exist, and employers are ready to hire, but for some reason workers and firms are not matching up to fill these jobs. What could explain that? As a recent study in the Journal of Economic Perspectives shows, there has been a global shift towards the value added by high skill workers in manufacturing and a shift away from low and medium skill workers. As manufacturing has become more technologically advanced, the demand for skilled workers to occupy positions has grown, but many companies appear unable to find people with the requisite skills. As per a recent report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 70% of companies reported shortages of workers with adequate technology, computer and technical skills, despite their willingness to pay higher than the market wage in their area. As a result, nearly 2 million jobs will go unfilled over the next decade due to this skills gap.


A significant problem facing companies is also the lack of demand for these jobs amongst workers with skills. Many workers are simply no longer interested in manufacturing jobs, and there appears to be a stigma attached to manufacturing work.survey on the Public Perception of Manufacturing shows that while most Americans perceive manufacturing as the backbone of a strong domestic economy, few parents want their children to work in this industry, and manufacturing is the last career choice for people between the ages of 19 and 33. To overcome this challenge, companies are increasingly using apprenticeship programs to recruit workers at younger ages from community colleges and high schools. There is also an effort to target workers who would traditionally face discrimination in the labor market, including the long-term unemployed, single mothers or ex-convicts. Companies are using innovative means to attract millennials and convince them that manufacturing jobs are high-tech, well-paying and challenging, not “dirty, grimy, repetitive or dangerous“. All of this suggests that to make manufacturing great again, we need a two-pronged approach. We must encourage workers to upgrade their skills with training in math, science and computing. For younger workers, paid apprenticeships with companies could produce big results. But aside from the skills gap, we also need to tackle the “image-gap”—the unwillingness of some workers to take up these jobs because of their inherent bias against working in jobs that they perceive as similar to the factory jobs of the past. Bringing jobs back from overseas makes for a promising campaign pledge. But filling domestic jobs through skill upgradation and changing the image of manufacturing to make it a more appealing career choice can be a more practical and achievable jobs policy.

Race to the bottom.  Others argue that free trade encourages a “race to the bottom” when business and governments lower environmental and safety standards in order to lower costs and attract trade. The problem with this argument is that we need trade to address it through global cooperation, not to ignore it.

Lawrence H. Summers is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and president emeritus at Harvard University. He served as chief economist for the World Bank from 1991 to 1993, secretary of the Treasury Department from 1999 to 2001 and director of the National Economic Council from 2009 to 2010., December 5, 2016, New York, Times, It’s Time for a reset,

In recent years we have also commenced a race to the bottom in areas like labor standards, environmental protections and capital requirements for banks. Businesses evade stiffer rules by moving elsewhere, hindering national aspirations to improve in these areas. The remedy is international dialogue directed at establishing global minimum standards, harmonizing approaches.

Three, more exposing US companies to the pressure of globalization means more innovation and more stable jobs:

Jim Erickson, November 30, 2016, US Needs More Globalization, Not Less: Report:

The U.S. economy, beset by stagnating middle-class incomes and slowing productivity growth, can recover its dynamism if more companies begin participating in global trade and there is faster adoption of technology by American industry. These are key recommendations from a briefing paper recently published by the McKinsey Global Institute think tank—and they are bound to raise a few eyebrows. Trade globalization and technology, the latter in the form of industrial automation, are commonly viewed not as economic boosters but as job killers, contributing to income inequality while fomenting “a great deal of economic anxiety and job churn” in the U.S., according to the report. But it is the uneven and sluggish adoption of global trade and technology (what McKinsey analysts refer to as digitization), not these activities in themselves, that in recent years have contributed to lackluster U.S. GDP growth and the feeling among the country’s workers that they have been left behind, said Gary Pinkus, a McKinsey managing partner and co-author of the paper. “There’s a disconnect between the jobs we have and the location and skillsets of the workforce,” Pinkus said. Rather than trying to fend off globalization and technology, the U.S. ought to “embrace them as necessary ingredients of growth in the new global economy, while retooling its policies and labor market accordingly,” McKinsey analysts wrote. “Getting more Americans to participate in the opportunities associated with digitization and foreign trade and investment will allow them to share the productivity and growth benefits that can result—and stepping up efforts to support the workers who are caught up in industry transitions will ease the economic and societal stresses.” McKinsey’s briefing paper—entitled “The US economy: An agenda for inclusive growth”—identifies five areas for investment and policy action in order to stimulate the economy. In addition to digitization and trade globalization, the authors encouraged investment in infrastructure in U.S. cities; improvements in education and job training for “a more dynamic and efficient labor market;” and a responsive regulatory approach that speeds the allocation of capital to the most promising emerging energy and resources technologies.

Environment.  There is good evidence that free trade increases the economic growth that makes environmental protection possible.

Washington Times, October 6, 2014, “Economic Globalization Boosts Asia, bogs down US Middle Class,” DOA: 1-2-14

Expanding trade is not merely compatible with high standards of environmental quality but can lead directly to their improvement. As a country sees its standard of living rise through economic liberalization and trade expansion, its industry can more readily afford to control emissions and its citizens have more to spend on the “luxury good” of improved environmental quality, above what they need for subsistence. And as economic growth creates a growing, better- educated middle class, the political demand for pollution abatement rises. Today the most restrictive environmental laws are maintained in developed countries that are relatively open to trade. This helps explain the so-called Environmental Kuznets Curve, where environmental quality in a developing nation initially deteriorates as the economy begins to industrialize but then improves after its citizens reach a certain standard of living. Research by Alan Krueger and Gene Grossman indicates that the turning point occurs at about $ 5,000 per capita: “We find no evidence that environmental quality deteriorates steadily with economic growth. Rather, for most indicators, economic growth brings an initial phase of deterioration followed by a subsequent phase of improvement.” By $ 8,000 per-capita income, the authors found, almost all the pollutant categories had begun to improve.20 The United States itself is a classic example of the benign effect of trade and growth on the environment. It has simultaneously one of the most open economies and one of the cleanest environments in the world. In the past decade, the United States has continued to open its economy further, signing the North American Free Trade Agreement and shepherding the creation of the World Trade Organization. Meanwhile, two-way trade and foreign investment continue to climb as a percentage of GDP. This liberalization of international trade and investment has been accompanied by ever-rising environmental standards. According to the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, mean ambient concentrations of both sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of the United States have dropped by nearly 40 percent since 1988. During that same period, the annual number of “bad air days” in major U.S. cities has dropped by two-thirds. The direct discharge of toxic water pollutants is down dramatically as well. Since the early 1970s, during a time of growing globalization of the U.S. economy, real spending by government and business on the environment and natural resource protection has doubled.21 Despite the rhetoric heard on the streets in Seattle, expanding global trade has not spurred a race to the bottom on environmental regulation or quality. In fact, the evidence points in the opposite direction.

China power.  Some argue that globalization has disproportionately benefited China, leading to a “China rise” at the expense of the US.  I included more answers to this in the release, but the basic problem is that globalization is now making it more costly to produce goods outside of China, meaning that China won’t continue to be the beneficiary.

Among blue-collar workers, a structural shift in China’s economy, from labour-intensive manufacturing to higher-tech industries and services, is fuelling job insecurity. In 2013, for the first time, the contribution to GDP from services, such as transport, shops, restaurants and finance, pulled ahead of industry, including manufacturing, mining and construction (see chart). In the past couple of years, jobs in manufacturing have been declining, partly because globalisation is beginning to play the same sort of role in China as it does in developed countries. Some factories have been moving to cheaper locations abroad.

The impact is pronounced in many of the hundreds of towns that specialise in making certain products. Datang, China’s “sock city” near Hangzhou, is a good example: in 2014 it made 26bn pairs of socks, some 70% of China’s production, but many factories are closing as garment-making moves to cheaper countries in Asia. As a local boss explains, “People simply won’t pay more for a pair of socks.”

China trade deficit. While the trade deficit with China has expanded, this doesn’t account for the fact that most of the value of goods exported from China is captured in the United States. For example, the  full value of the iPhone is credited to China since China exports the final product, but it is the US the gains most of the revenue.

Stephen G Brooks, Associate Professor of Government @Dartmouth, and William C Wohlforth, Daniel Webster Prof of Government @Dartmouth, 2016, America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century. Kindle edition

Economic globalization creates a key statistical problem for GDP because so many goods are no longer made in a single country but instead are constructed using global supply chains. As an OECD/ WTO analysis concludes, “With the globalization of production, there is a growing awareness that conventional trade statistics may give a misleading perspective of the importance of trade to economic growth and income and that ‘what you see is not what you get.’  ” 43 This matters greatly for GDP, as Zachary Karabell underscores: Well into the twentieth century, there was little ambiguity about who made what where [and] the process of assigning something to a particular country wasn’t that challenging. … Developments after World War II, especially after the 1990s, shattered that simplicity. As a result, the neat formula of GDP that assumes a basic accounting of exports minus imports and then a plus or minus for the “economy” began to fray. Categories became more fluid, even as there was no change at all in the basic formula we use to calculate GDP and in the way in which we draw conclusions from these numbers. 44 Estimating China’s economic weight on the world stage is now especially difficult because MNCs direct so much of how that country engages with the global economy. As we noted above: (1) the majority of China’s exports consists of processing trade, (2) the vast bulk of this processing trade (84%) is directed by MNCs based outside of China, and (3) foreign MNCs based in China are responsible for around a third of China’s nonprocessing trade. A recent WTO report underscores that “the notion of ‘country of origin’ [is] losing much of its significance, since the total commercial value of a product is attributed to the country in which it last underwent processing, regardless of its relative contribution to the value-added chain.” 45 A telling, well-documented example is the value of the Apple iPhone and iPad, which are both assigned to China because they undergo final assembly there. In their careful analysis of the iPhone’s and iPad’s global supply chains, Kenneth Kraemer and his coauthors conclude: While these products, including most of their components, are manufactured in China, the primary benefits go to the U.S. economy as Apple continues to keep most of its product design, software development, product management, marketing and other high-wage functions in the U.S. China’s role is much smaller than most casual observers would think. … Only $ 10 or less in direct labor wages that go into an iPhone or iPad is paid to China’s workers. So while each unit sold in the U.S. adds from $ 229 to $ 275 to the U.S.-China trade deficit (the estimated factory costs of an iPhone or iPad), the portion retained in China’s economy is a tiny fraction of that amount. 46 The more general point is that the significance of globalization must be taken into account when analyzing the relative economic heft of the most powerful countries. The premise of Sean Starrs’ 2013 study is indeed that a fundamental limitation of recent discussions about the changing distribution of power is “not taking globalization seriously. With the rise of transnational corporations (TNCs), transnational production networks, and the globalization of corporate ownership, we can no longer give the same relevance to national accounts such as balance of trade and GDP in the twenty-first century as we did in the twentieth. Rather, we must summon data on the TNCs themselves to encompass their transnational operations.” 47.Statistics on the stock of outward foreign direct investment (FDI) give some sense of the degree to which firms based in various states have sought to disperse their production activities geographically. As Table 2.8 shows, the outward US FDI level is far beyond that of any other state. For MNCs, the typical guiding motivation for dispersing production is to take advantage of locational differences and thereby reap various efficiencies. 48 If US MNCs are at the forefront of the geographic dispersal of production activities, then we might expect to find that they are highly competitive in most key sectors. Starrs’ study shows that this is indeed the case. Through an analysis of the top two thousand corporations in the world, he finds that “American corporations account for by far the most dominant profit-shares across the most sectors than corporations for any other country, especially in sectors at the technological frontier.” 49 Tables 2.9 and 2.10 reproduce Starrs’ data but organize it in a different way; Table 2.9 shows that US MNCs have the dominant share of global profits in eighteen of twenty-five sectors, while Table 2.10 shows the seven sectors where US MNCs are not dominant in profit shares. Strikingly, not only are US MNCs ahead in eighteen of the twenty-five sectors, but in many of them they are extremely far ahead: US MNCs account for a majority of the global profit share in eight sectors and at least a third of global profit share in fourteen sectors. A recent OECD report underscores how China is in a fundamentally different competitive position: Although China has indigenous technological capabilities to produce competitive products in labour intensive sectors such as apparel, this capability is still limited in high technology sectors where it relies heavily on imported inputs. … China’s competitiveness within GVCs [global value chains] is still concentrated in processing and assembling activities. However, its role as the world’s assembler allows China to generate only limited value added compared to other countries engaging in more technology and knowledge intensive activities within GVCs. Starrs notes further that these profit-share data reported in Tables 2.9 and 2.10 actually significantly underestimate the extent of US dominance in the global economy, because they are based on the assumption that US investors own only US firms. Yet as Table 2.11 shows, US investors also own very sizeable amounts of shares of corporations in other countries. The fact that “American firms combined own 46% of all publicly listed shares of the top 500 corporations in the world,” Starrs notes, “signifies how globalized American economic power has become. Chinese capital, by contrast, is almost entirely nationally contained. … Chinese ownership of non-Chinese-domiciled firms in the top 500 is negligible.” 51 In turn, he finds that not only are US shareholders far and away the top owners of US corporations, but Americans are also top owners of the twenty largest European firms. 52 Because American firms own such a large percentage of many of the world’s top corporations and because American citizens own the vast majority of the shares of American firms, Starrs finds that 41% of all global household assets are held by Americans— something that he argues demonstrates “how globalized American capital, American ownership, and American economic power has become. We cannot rely on national accounts to meaningfully assess power in the global political economy.” Brooks, Stephen; Wohlforth, William. America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century (Kindle Locations 821-822). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

NAFTA Bad.  Some Negative debaters will argue the North American Free Trade (NAFTA) agreement has hurt US workers.  There are more answers to this in the release, but here are a couple points to make:

One, NAFTA has benefitted many US border towns.

AP, December 15, 2016, Bonner County Daily Bee, Border Cities Worry that ending NAFTA would hurt economies,

Donald Trump’s only visit to the U.S.-Mexico border while running for president was a stop in Laredo that lasted less than three hours. On some days, that’s not long enough for 18-wheelers hauling foreign-made dishwashers and car batteries to lurch through the gridlocked crossing. Trump’s campaign promise to tear apart the North American Free Trade Agreement helped win over Rust Belt voters who felt left behind by globalization. But the idea is unnerving to many people in border cities such as Laredo and El Paso or Nogales in Arizona, which have boomed under the 1994 treaty. About 14,000 tractor-trailers cross the border daily in Laredo, the nation’s busiest inland port. Local officials say roughly 1 in every 3 jobs benefits from international trade. “We are NAFTA on wheels,” Mayor Pete Saenz said. Free trade across the border, he explained, is the “backbone” of this city of 255,000 people. The Democrat endured a backlash from his party for welcoming Trump in July 2015 after the then-candidate called immigrants from Mexico criminals and rapists.

Two, the resolution doesn’t have an actor or a perspective, and it is easy to find evidence that NAFTA has benefitted Mexico. Pro teams should argue that repealing it is unjust because it would devastate the Mexican economy and increase poverty.

Foreign investment bad.  Some people argue that foreign investment, including buying up property in the US is bad, but this foreign investment benefits the economy:

Chris Matthews, November 17 2016, Here’s How Donald Trump Can Fight Globalization, Fortune,

There is a tendency on the right to fear-monger about Chinese or other foreigners buying up U.S. real estate, companies and other assets. Donald Trump has been making hay on this issue since the 1980s, when he complainedabout the Japanese buying up Manhattan real estate. But foreign direct investment supports U.S. jobs, lowers trade deficits, and announces foreigners’ confidence in the strength of the the U.S. economy. Outside of protecting against foreign ownership of industries that are key to national security, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to fight this type of globalization. In fact, fighting it could very well hurt more workers than it helps.

Overall Benefits

Teams should be prepared to argue that things are improving overall.

Harvey 13 Philip D., “How the World Is Getting Better” [] February 20

We humans thrive on bad news; we’re pre-programmed to respond to threats, and predictions of apocalypse. Good news bores us, so we don’t hear much about the remarkable improvements in the human condition in recent years. Here’s a quick review of significant developments.¶ * Life expectancy, perhaps the most objective indicator of human wellbeing, has been rising dramatically. When people live longer it means they have more of life’s necessities, and are freer from disease and fatal violence. A few hundred years ago, the average human lived less than 30 years. When I was born, my life expectancy, right here in the U.S., was 63. Babies born today can expect to reach the age of 79, a 25 percent improvement, and more than three times the average life-span in Julius Caesar’s time. Worldwide, including all the poorest countries, life expectancy at birth has gone from 46 years in the 1950s to 70 years today. Adding 24 years to the longevity of our species in a mere 60 years is remarkably good news.¶ *Despite food shortages in some places, there’s more food for everyone today than ever before. For most of human history the daily struggle for food dominated life. People rarely had enough to eat. But even as the world population climbed to 7 billion, daily food supplies per person have gone from 2,250 calories a day in 1960 to 2,800 in 2002. The English, who survived on 2068 calories a day in the late 19th century, consume 3412 today. In India, calories per capita were below 1700 as recently as 1950. Today, the figure is 2459. For comparison, consider the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations: 2000-3000 calories per day for adult men; 1600-2400 for adult women. In many countries, including the U.S., poverty is now characterized by too much food rather than too little.¶ * The world’s wealth has increased enormously. For tens of thousands of years humans existed at bare subsistence, on the equivalent of $400 or $500 per person per year (in 1990 dollars). But wealth skyrocketed worldwide, starting around 1800 with the Industrial Revolution, and growing with the widespread use of electricity; it was $1500 per capita in 1913 and $10,700 in 2010. Deprivation has not been eradicated, of course, but this kind of economic growth is new to human history.¶ In the U.S., where income per capita zoomed from $5300 in 1913 to $48,112 today, large numbers of Americans are still classified as poor, but everyone’s living standards have improved markedly. Surveys show that 83 percent of the poor say that they have enough to eat; 63 percent have cable or satellite TV; 80 percent have air conditioning; 43 percent have Internet access. But instead of celebrating this progress, we’re inclined to find things wrong with it.¶ * There is much less violence than there used to be. Harvard’s Steven Pinker, who has researched this subject exhaustively, recently concluded that “today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species’ time on earth.” Wars used to kill millions; now the numbers are way down. In World War II, U.S. forces wiped out hundreds of thousands of civilians as part of our military strategy. Now we pay reparations for accidentally killing civilians. Not long ago witches were burned at the stake, slavery and public hangings were commonplace. Cats were burned alive for entertainment. Those practices are gone for good.¶ What are we to make of the fact that good news is all around us, but we determinedly dwell on the not-so-cheerful? Some blame attaches to politicians, who want us to be afraid of unseen dangers so they can protect us, and some attaches to the media, which revel in violence because it draws eyeballs.¶ But we seem eager to embrace the dark side. Rather than being glad we lead more comfortable lives than our parents or our grandparents did, we tend to grouse that things are worse than they were last year, or last week.¶ It turns out that there’s a built-in reason for that. Attention to trouble has been vital to our survival. In a recent essay Marian Tupy of the Cato Institute points out that the information entering the amygdala, the part of our brain responsible for emotions like rage, hate and fear, “gets our first attention because the amygdala ‘is always looking for something to fear.’ Our species has evolved to prioritize bad news.” In the struggle for survival, those who constantly feared danger survived; optimists did not.¶ So the evening news will always lead with violence. There will always be enough bad news to go around. We even create our own bad news with deaths and injuries in many sports and other entertainment.¶ But have a look at the good news once in a while. I know it’s boring, but even as we resist, things are likely to keep right on getting better and better.