Harvard University professor Nicholas Mankiw, world-renowned economist known for his book “Principles of Economics,” has criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade policy item by item. He said there are (clear) evidence on benefits of international trade, but he did not expect to be able to persuade President Trump with such academic achievements. Instead, he cited the case of a golf club in Scotland, which President Trump might be interested to know about.
Mankiw made the argument in his op-ed piece entitled “Why economists are worried about international trade” published on Sunday in The New York Times. Even though benefits of free trade are clear, there are growing pieces of evidence suggesting that the Trump administration is disregarding free trade, he said. As examples, he took Washington’s safeguard against imported washing machines and solar panel products, and hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
While introducing trade theories of classical economists including Adam Smith and David Ricardo, Mankiw explained positive impact that free trade has on improving individual and national productivity, as if giving a lecture to students who learn economics for the first time. When a closed economy removed trade barriers, it could achieve faster growth, citing as real examples the cases of Japan in the 1850s, South Korea in the 1960s and Vietnam in the 1990s, the professor explained.