I wish more voters had intro to International Relations. Trump kept his promise on trade and it has had predictable results. Guy was brpetrayed by his own ignorance https://t.co/tROnwa4GoX— Steve Saideman (@smsaideman) January 7, 2019
I didn't spend a lot of time on International Political Economy in my Intro class (I don't teach it anymore as my Carleton course load is purely grad student stuff, but I miss it--twas a fun class to teach). IPE is not my strength, but I did get the basics across:
- free trade is the story of concentrated pain and diffuse benefits: that consumers benefit but not obviously so by lower trade barriers but less competitive sectors get hit hard. And politics often means that smaller groups actually have louder voices because they can organize. Hard to organize all consumers to care a lot about paying too much for their sugar.
- reciprocity is a thing. It can lead to cooperation or conflict, as the strategy of responding to what the other country did can lead to gains over the long term or unending rivalry. The key: don't expect your nasty moves to go unpunished.
- finally, I basically sold them Helen Milner*: that because many firms rely on exports or rely on importing components, they will not want tariffs as they hurt their sales abroad (due to retaliation) and they hurt their sales at home because their stuff gets more expensive since they have to build the cost of higher inputs, as the tariffs are indeed a tax they must pay stuff they import, into the price of their goods.
Thus, I wish that more Americans had a basic knowledge of International Relations. They don't get that in high school civics classes (one reason I avoided that class and happened to discover by accident in college that Poli Sci includes IR). At the college level, American Politics may be required, but IR? Probably not. Too bad.
* That book is also a great demonstration of how to turn a dissertation into a good book.