Daily Clips: January 29th, 2016

What economists got wrong about free trade: A new paper suggests that the downsides of free trade have been downplayed by economists and politicians alike. There has been a long standing assumption within these circles that workers’ main recourse against the disruption of free trade is their “desire and ability to pack up and move to a new city with more jobs.” The problem? That assumption doesn’t have a very firm basis in reality. They look at an example in Tennessee where “few workers within the commuting zone of struggling plants moved away after their work prospects declined.”

A lot of this is highly unsurprising. For right now, however, we know that free trade is a staple of our current economic system. It’s not going away anytime soon. So how do we deal with this?  How can we ensure people have the economic means to move if their jobs become redundant?

Weekly look at a David Brooks article: It’s articles like these that make me get up in the morning. FOR ONCE, Brooks has written a truly brilliant column on the state of American conservatism. He laments how far to the right “conservative” ideology has meandered and he takes a look across the Atlantic to see what conservatism used to looked like. He quotes, at length, a speech from Prime Minister David Cameron where he addressed the state of poverty in the UK:

The welfare state and the market are important, but, [Cameron] argues, “talk to a single mum on a poverty-stricken estate, someone who suffers from chronic depression, someone who perhaps drinks all day to numb the pain of the sexual abuse she suffered as a child. Tell her that because her benefits have risen by a couple of pounds a week, she and her children have been magically lifted out of poverty. Or on the other hand, if you told her about the great opportunities created by our market economy, I expect she’ll ask you what planet you’re actually on.”

How beautiful is that? That’s a self-reflective conservatism I can relate to.

Colbert roasts Trump:

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Nick Cassella
Nick Cassella graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2014. After graduating, he worked on the Initiative 594 campaign before joining Civic Ventures, where he now manages Civic Skunk Works' social media presence.