Rodrik’s straight talk

This piece in ‘Project Syndicate’ published by Professor Dani Rodrik is worth reading in full. In fact, it is hard to cherry pick his arguments and post them here. The full piece, a short one, is worth reposting.

I shall stick to the first and last paragraphs, however:

Are economists partly responsible for Donald Trump’s shocking victory in the US presidential election? Even if they may not have stopped Trump, economists would have had a greater impact on the public debate had they stuck closer to their discipline’s teaching, instead of siding with globalization’s cheerleaders.

In short, had economists gone public with the caveats, uncertainties, and skepticism of the seminar room, they might have become better defenders of the world economy. Unfortunately, their zeal to defend trade from its enemies has backfired. If the demagogues making nonsensical claims about trade are now getting a hearing – and, in the US and elsewhere, actually winning power – it is trade’s academic boosters who deserve at least part of the blame.

I cannot help pointing out that this mirrors the sentiment that I had expressed in my piece published in in response to the open letter that some 370 academics had written to the American public, urging them not to vote for Trump:

The learned economists must train their ire at the winners of trade liberalization who conspicuously chose to omit to implement the compensation part and adopted a ‘winner take all’ approach to the benefits from trade liberalization. Policymakers and economists are guilty of direct or indirect association. They are still attacking the consequent fallout without taking aim at those who caused the fallout. Had they done so with a sense of fairness, the Trump phenomenon may not have arisen at all. [Link]

No surprise that the public rejected them.



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