March 27, 2012

Adlai Stevenson - even in the 50's, our Foreign Trade Policy was confusing, but for different reasons

In an interesting twist, the world of Trade and our Foreign Trade policy had more to do with our lack of imports than our ability to export overseas. We were exporting roughly twice what we were importing.

Obviously, that's not the case today. The picture former Governor and twice-Presidential candidate paints is one where our Foreign Trade is out of balance and that we are danger of becoming isolated as the result. Stevenson calls for a relaxation of tariff's in order to stimulate competition among imports. And since our workforce is healthy, based on the amount of exports we send, the potential lower prices of imported goods would provide a stimulant for economy.

The world in 1958 wasn't about High-tech, we were still mostly about raw materials. Our Agricultural output was still the largest in the world. The technical revolution hadn't happened yet. And the rest of the world was still rebuilding from the effects of World War 2.

In contrast today our imports no doubt far outstrip what we're exporting. The whole concept of Multi-national companies and outsourcing weren't even heard of when Stevenson made this address.

So it's interesting to draw comparisons to the world now versus the world then. Would it have become any different if the circumstances and the technology were any different. Hard to tell.

Did our de-regulation mania, begun with the Nixon Administration help or ultimately hurt our economy, or work force? Hard to tell.

But at any rate, here is what Adlai Stevenson had to say on the subject, from an address given on March 27, 1958.

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