The Economics of Trade and Globalization

Aug 25, 2004Aug 27, 2004


Session One: Wednesday, 25 August 2004
Fundamentals of International Trade 
Dr. Russell Roberts 

Professor of Economics
George Mason University

Click Here to listen to audio archive.

Session Two: Thursday, 26 August 2004
Trade, Labor, and Deficits
Dr. Russell Roberts

Professor of Economics
George Mason University

Click Here to listen to audio archive. 

Session Three: Friday, 27 August 2004
Recent Developments in Trade
Dr. Russell Roberts
Professor of Economics
George Mason University

Click Here to listen to audio archive. 

In recent years, the world has seen an increased mobility in people, products, and capital; countries have more interaction with one another than ever before. As the United States plays a larger role in the global economy, it becomes more important to understand the economics that drive trade and globalization.

But what exactly is "trade and globalization?" Is there such a thing as "free trade?"  Aren't "protectionists" simply trying to defend national economic interests and jobs?  Many Americans are so concerned about the global economy that they organize demonstrations at international trade negotiations. Some argue that trade deficits are bad for American workers and that American companies exploit cheap foreign labor and weaken environmental laws for short-term gains. Still others apply their "free trade" philosophies in a selective industry-by-industry manner - always with an eye to public opinion polls. 

Such concerns must be addressed if we are to gain a richer understanding of the national and international impact of globalization. This examination of global interaction will also help in analyzing the often-complex U.S. and international trade laws.

To explore the fundamental economics of trade, the Mercatus Center's Capitol Hill Campus designed a convenient three-session course featuring noted economist Russell Roberts. Participation in this program will allow you to better address the following questions:

  • How does trade create wealth? Who gains and who loses from international trade? Are poor nations and low-skilled workers getting their fair share?
  • Do trade deficits threaten our standard of living? How do trade deficits affect different sectors of our economy?
  • Does international trade benefit poor countries or exploit them? Should there be a level playing field in wages and environmental and safety regulations, and how might we achieve it?
  • What are the economic fundamentals of the outsourcing debate? Is "outsourcing" the real problem - or is it symptomatic of more significant trends or problems in international trade? Who benefits and who is harmed by the movement of jobs between nations?

Course participants will leave with an appreciation for the economics that underlie trade policy, as well as a deeper understanding of what trade and globalization means for national economies, workers, and consumers.