Kash at Angry Bear has an interesting post on free trade. He puts forth 7 observations, and then comes to this conclusion:
So now to the real question: Why do economists like me, who profess to care about individuals, continue to think international trade is generally a good thing? (Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to get into this… but let me make just one point…)
Here’s the reason: The negative or positive impact of trade is ultimately an empirical question (see point #2 above), and the evidence I’ve seen in my years of researching this subject suggests that the negative effects are outweighed by the positive. Actually, to be more precise, the evidence I’ve seen mostly suggests that the effects of trade are pretty small in a country like the US. Some people win from trade, and some lose from trade (just as is the case with any new technology)… but overall, though the effects are small, trade seems to make life better for most people. Not just for corporations: for people.