The Trump administration continues to move on its campaign promise to restructure the North American Free Trade Agreement, with round five of NAFTA negotiations starting last week.
In the heat of the discussions between officials from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, it’s easy to lose sight of the benefits that free trade affords all Americans.
Milton Friedman—one of the most influential economists of the 20th century—summarized it best. In an interview with talk show host Phil Donahue, Friedman stated:
In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that.
So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.
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