I'd put it like this: in the old days, when GATT negotiations were mainly with other advanced countries, the groups hurt tended to be highly specific and local - the left-handed widget makers of Northern South Dakota, worried about competition from their counterparts in Upper Lower Swabia. Economists could in good conscience argue that while individual groups were hurt by trade liberalization in their specific sector, the great majority of Americans benefitted from general trade liberalization. And politicians made trade deals by packaging together the interests of exporters, to offset the parochial interests of import-competing industries
But now we're talking about broad swaths of the population hurt by trade. It's a good bet that almost all US workers with a high school degree or less are hurt by Chinese manufactured exports, at least slightly. You could in principle put together win-win packages - say, trade liberalization together with an increase in the EITC paid for with higher taxes on high-income Americans, who come out winners from trade. But the reality is that we don't make those deals.
For those who like their jargon, by the way, I'm basically saying that the right model for thinking about this has gone from many-good specific factors to Heckscher-Ohlin.
Bradford De Long, en tanto, sigue aferrándose al Santo Grial, y cree que aun con perdedores tan dispersos es posible la combinación de libre comercio y compensación económica para los que pierden:
Well I think I have answers:
* The kinds of win-win deals that Paul says we don't make are in fact deals that Democratic presidents do make--when they aren't blocked from making them, that is.
* In an American family, both potential workers have to be working in export or import-competing manufacturing for the family as a whole to be injured by imports of manufactured goods from China. Construction workers benefit from expanded trade with China both through higher relative wages and through lower relative prices. Service-sector workers benefit through lower relative prices.
Dos buenas noticias: una es que para Argentina ver aparecer a China fue como para los de Viven oír el aleteo del helicóptero de Nando Parrado (Ethan Hawke). Ver que para otros no es así de alguna manera nos reconforta: mal de muchos consuelo de todos, y mal de otros felicidad nuestra. La otra buena noticia es que no sabía por dónde arrancar la clase del miércoles y ahora ya sé -- hablaré de blogs.