Forced Labor, Tariffs, and Buybacks

We remember the Tariff Act of 1930 because it included the infamous Smoot-Hawley tariffs. But we should remember it for something much more important: it prohibited imports made with forced labor.  Back in the day, slave labor was seen principally as unfair competition, rather than as a matter of human rights. So the law included a “consumptive…

Tariffs, Wine, and Shoe Salesmen

On December 12, the United States Trade Representative announced plans to hike the tariffs on imports of certain European products as a result of the seemingly endless Boeing/Airbus dispute. Capitol Hill was immediately inundated with the usual panoply of hyperbolic claims that tariffs spell doom for {fill in the blank} industry on the target list.…

Vox Populi, Vox Dei

If you are struggling to understand the rise of economic populism in the United States, and the resulting chasm between populists and elites, then Matt Stoller’s new book Goliath will enlighten you. Goliath is focused on antitrust, but it tells a much broader story of the way the intelligentsia has been led, through a combination…

Restoring FDR’s Vision for Global Trade

The following is an executive summary of a paper submitted to the Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance Conference A New Deal for a New Century: Making Our Economy Work for All.  Papers for the conference, including the full version of the summary below, can be found here.   Too often, the debate over trade devolves into tribalist…