Tricks of the Trade: The Fundamentals of Trade and Globalization

Aug 29, 2007Aug 30, 2007
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building


Dr. Russell Roberts
Professor of Economics
George Mason University 

Click Here to listen to an Audio Archive of day one of this course.

Click Here to listen to an Audio Archive of day two of this course.

Click Here to view the Trade Deficit handout.

Click Here to view the Income Inequality handout.

The world has seen an increased mobility in people, products, and capital as globalization makes nearly all things accessible. As the United States shares its prominence in the global economy with newcomers China and India, 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"?  What about trying to defend national economic interests and jobs?  Some argue that trade deficits are bad for American workers and that American companies exploit cheap 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 two-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.