I really thought David Ricardo settled this a long time ago when he discussed wheat trading. But I see this poll from the end of 2010 and I feel concerned -
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 69 percent of Americans believe free trade agreements with other countries have cost jobs in the United States, while just 18 percent believe they have created jobs. A 53 percent majority—up from 46 percent three years ago and 30 percent in 1999—believes that trade agreements have hurt the nation overall.
I guest host a radio show in Alaska, and I did an entire segment on free trade and I had conservatives calling my show saying I was a fool. I remember people calling in claiming free trade is what killed our manufacturing base, which is a simple position to take on a much more important issue of globalization and competitiveness. Someone called and said that I "really drank the ricardian kool aid" and I remember thinking how much of a compliment I was just paid.
Every chance I get I show people the TED video of Matt Ridley's 'When Ideas Have Sex' (which is also the title of his great book). He very succinctly and clearly articulates the benefits of free trade.
I learned about free trade during my college economics courses, from some very free market professors. I mean, even Paul Krugman supports free trade. And remember Milton Friedman's oft told story of Leonard Reed's "I, Pencil" Or the segment on trade tarriffs in Chapter 11 of Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson?
I am sure there are some contributors and members here who oppose free trade, and I would love to know why.