Free Trade and the Crisis of the Exporters
Editor, This Week in Geopolitics
Economic advantage can take many decades to show itself. The critical working lifespan of an individual is perhaps two decades. What he becomes between the ages of 20 and 40 determines who he is, and the loss of those years to the slow turning of the economic wheel inevitably creates political friction. This was well known to the classical economists and not always apparent to contemporary free trade advocates.
Australia, the Persian Gulf, and South Korea assumed that China would resume prior levels of production. And now, the world is assuming that the tertiary effects—the collapse of oil prices and crises in secondary exporters like South Korea—can be managed. The geopolitical system, of which international economics is a subset, grinds slowly, but it grinds fine.