Originally Posted by sound dropouts
Globalization in economics increases every country's economic surplus. You are actually doing Canada a favor by buying Chinese goods, by allowing Canada to specialize in production that it is good at.
Sounds nice in theory, but it doesn't work that way in reality as long as there are national borders being enforced. Trade is not free if labor is not as free to move around as the products of their labor.
When something is produced more cheaply in another country due to most of their citizens being captives within the country's borders (due to their government not letting them leave, and/or other countries not allowing them to immigrate at will), that can decrease
one or both country's surplus, with only a select few extracting wealth from it.
For example, we could make corn from Iowa cheaper by passing a law that prevents Iowans from moving to other states. Their wages would get pushed down because they can't leave the state for better-paying jobs. The end result is that corn becomes cheaper for us, but placing that sort of restriction on labor movement is not a net gain for Iowa and other states. Iowans would have to live with lower wages, jobs would be lost in other states that can't compete with Iowa's artificially-depressed wages, and other states would lose the potential production of Iowans who want to move where they can do something more suitable for their skills, like being an engineer in Silicon Valley or an executive in New York.
However, when something is produced cheaper elsewhere as a result of the other place being more efficient at it, or the workers voluntarily
accepting lower wages for personal reasons, that is a true comparative advantage that benefits both sides.
The idea that consumers and laborers are hurt by free trade is a conspiracy propagated by corporations who wish to dupe the common people into forcing the government to restrict trade.
Consumers and laborers are not hurt by free trade; they are hurt by the type of business that currently masquerades as free trade. Producing something cheaper in Puerto Rico to ship to the US is true free trade. Producing something in China to send to the US is not. The latter usually results in a decline in quality, because the location of production was not chosen based on efficiency, it was chosen based on artificially depressed labor costs (note that China not only has exit controls from the country, they also have internal controls that restrict people from migrating within the country).