Book Review Number 29

Open:  The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital –  Kimberly Clausing

The author is Professor of Economics at Reed College. She is one of the nations leading expert on taxation of multinational corporations. In this book she promotes the value of international trade, liberal immigration, and free flow of global capital.

Dr Clausing makes the case that international trade is critically important to the long term health of the US economy in general and good for the American middle class in particular. Similarly she defends the free flow of capital across international boundaries as good for business and labor. At the same time she promotes the national benefit of liberal immigration policy.

While supporting relatively open trade, capital, and immigration strategies she makes clear that US trade terms as well as tax and immigration policy must be re-designed for and adapted to global economic reality. That means providing support for workers displaced by international trade, implementing policies that reduce income inequality, and adopting tax policies that prevent multi-national corporations from hiding income in offshore “tax havens”. She also endorses income protection and retraining programs for workers hurt by international trade.

The author provides the statistical data that supports each of her positions. However, the thing I liked most about this book is that the author offers workable solutions for the myriad challenges facing our nation in this time of increasing globalization. They are common sense, many are imaginative, and all should appeal to both left and right leaning citizens and politicians. Of course it doesn’t hurt that her views are almost identical to my own!!


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