Trading on Ideas, Review of Douglas A. Irwin's Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade

Irwin has attempted to write an intellectual history of free trade. The book divides into accounts of the origins of the doctrine and the controversies it has aroused--fifteen sections in all, examining in detail the ideas of leading theorists fro

Issue: Fall 1997

Review of Douglas A. Irwin's Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).

Free trade is, as always, in trouble--the best tribute to its power and effectiveness. But, also as always, the centers of support for and opposition to free trade are shifting. Ross Perot focused his 1988 campaign on resistance to free-trade doctrine. Even the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, long a sanctuary for openness, was headed in the first Clinton term by Mickey Kantor, who said publicly that Americans had never been keen on the idea and tried to act accordingly. His successor and ex-deputy, Charlene Barshefsky, a classic example of the bookkeeper taught to read, busies herself with the theology of bilateralism while running interference for America's most vested interests in the name of anti-dumping.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!