Is America better served by a free trade agenda or protectionist measures? That’s a question being addressed in a discussion at the Russell Special Collections Library on Tuesday afternoon.
Author, Director Emeritus of the Dean Rusk Center and former U.S. Congressman, Don Johnson is discussing his new book, "The Wealth of a Nation: A History of Trade Politics in America.” Johnson says two and a half centuries have shown that a liberal economic system, or open market, works best for the nation.
"The reason it covers such a long period is because the subject doesn't change that much and the politics haven't changed that much. Throughout the last two centuries it's been a very populist argument. It's a war quite often between industry and the working class. And that's what it is to this day," said Johnson.
Johnson says the discussion is particularly timely with increased interest in trade, new tariffs and a potential trade war, the Russell Special Collections Library is welcoming an author to discuss the history of trade in the U.S.
"We've got a rules based system that has worked for us very well. And the fear that many of us have is that we're moving away from that and trying to go back into the trade war era. Trade wars unlike what President Trump has said are not easily won and they are not good," said Johnson.
The lecture is free and open to the public. A light reception and book signing will follow the program.