Debunking Economic Nationalism

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on September 1, 2011

So, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis decided to go out and show everyone just how devoted she is to American companies, American manufacturing, and the “Made in America” label by purchasing a crossover SUV from Chevrolet (the Equinox).

The problem is that the car is made at two Canadian plants, and features parts from Canada. Oops.

Of course, it might have been better for all involved if instead of engaging in economic nationalist showboating, the Labor Secretary–and the rest of the Obama Administration, for that matter–used this opportunity to teach people that the world economy is interconnected, that goods and services have a distinctly transnational aspect to them, and that as a consequence, it would be counterproductive (to say the least) to use economic nationalism as an excuse for destructive policies like protectionism, or the imposition of tariffs that lead to a trade war.

But we are not likely to hear any such edifying lessons from this Administration. Not while it remains in thrall to the very protectionists who have given the White House every political incentive imaginable to botch trade policy.

UPDATE: This probably won’t be enough to stop trade-related Sinophobia, but it should be.

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