Friday, February 28, 2014

Don't Cry For The Failure Of The Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Negotiations

Paul Krugman is a self described free trade economist.  He explains why the breakdown in the TPP is no big deal.  In the first place, there is no need to reduce the impact of tariffs on free trade.  That has already been done.  The impact of any further reductions in tariffs would be minimal.  So what is the TPP all about?  It is primarily about protecting intellectual property rights.  Drug companies and movie producers would be the primary beneficiaries of the legal monopoly provided by patent and copyright protection.  We grant patents and copyrights as temporary monopolies (which are becoming less temporary as we grant extensions) to encourage investment but social welfare would not be greatly improved by TPP. 

There is not a lot of support for TPP even in the Democratic Party.  The party leaders in the House and the Senate have not supported TPP.  Krugman cannot really understand why Obama has invested so much political capital in TPP.  The president has received a lot of support from the movie industry so it may make some political sense.  On the other hand, it is no big deal according to Krugman.

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