Friday, August 25, 2006

Bernanke on Globalization

In A Letter to Ben Bernanke (published in the May 2006 AER), I wrote:

You should be willing to explain the views of professional economists when there is a consensus. For example, like Greenspan, you should remind us about the benefits of free trade when the protectionists in Congress get restless—which they do often.

Today, in a talk at Jackson Hole, Ben does just that.

The talk gives a great historical overview of globalization and its critics. Ben quotes Martin Luther in 1524:
But foreign trade, which brings from Calcutta and India and such places wares like costly silks, articles of gold, and spices--which minister only to ostentation but serve no useful purpose, and which drain away the money of the land and people--would not be permitted if we had proper government and princes.
I never knew Lou Dobbs was a Lutheran.