Keeping The “Free” In Free Trade

It seems to me…

David Ricardo (1772-1823) was an English economist who developed the free-trade theory of comparative advantage. He stated, “If each nation specializes in the production of goods in which it has a comparative advantage and then trades with other nations for the goods in which they specialize, there will be an overall gain in trade, and overall income levels should rise in both countries”.

Free trade is beneficial to the U.S. which has a high well-educated population percentage. The market for knowledge-based workers increases when the market expands (as opposed to the market for manual labor which normally either does not expand or even decreases). Production of goods requires only so many manufacturing positions but there is an unlimited market for idea-generating positions.

In a free-market economy, the lower the worker skill level, the more likely the impact. Employment opportunities are improved by having some specific skill or ability (entertainers, athletes…), specializing (legal, medical, economics, architecture…), services (sales, food, education…), or knowledge (adaptable, flexible, life-time learning…). It will be increasingly important in whatever career field you choose to be special. Everyone must plan on having numerous careers rather than remaining in the same field through out their life. Basketball or baseball were traditional American sports but foreign players have become increasing skilled in these areas. Many sales and service areas now are considered opportunities for new immigrants. Even education now is available online. Required skill levels are becoming increasingly competitive with the required skill-level moving to ever higher levels.

Instead of attempting to hold back the on-coming tide, we need to increase educational opportunities for everyone, especially for those to whom it currently is denied. Let’s concentrate on moving more people higher on the skills ladder and not concern ourselves with the migration of manufacturing or processing opportunities to other less-developed countries. We need to improve what we do well and not worry about the rest.

That’s what I think, what about you?


About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
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