Margaret Scott

Les œillères du libre-échange

CAMBRIDGE - J'ai été récemment invité par deux collègues de Harvard à faire une intervention dans leur cours sur la globalisation. «amp#160;Je dois vous dire, m'a averti à l'avance l'un d'entre eux, que c'est une foule plutôt favorable à la globalisation.amp#160;» Lors de la toute première réunion, il a demandé aux étudiants combien d'entre eux préféraient le libre-échange aux restrictions sur les importations ; la réponse était de plus de 90%. Et c'était avant que les étudiants n'aient été instruits des merveilles de l'avantage comparé !

Nous savons que quand la même question est posée dans de vrais sondages à des échantillons représentatifs - pas simplement à des étudiants de Harvard - les résultats sont tout à fait différents. Aux États-Unis, les personnes interrogées préfèrent les restrictions du commerce à deux contre un. Mais la réponse des étudiants de Harvard n'était pas entièrement surprenante. Les personnes interrogées hautement qualifiées et plus instruites ont tendance à être considérablement plus favorables au libre-échange que les cols bleus. Peut-être que les étudiants de Harvard votaient tout simplement en pensant à leurs propres portefeuilles (futurs).

Ou peut-être n'avaient-ils pas compris comment fonctionne vraiment le commerce. Après tout, quand je les ai rencontrés, j'ai posé la même question sous une autre forme, en soulignant les probables effets distributionnels du commerce. Cette fois, le consensus sur le libre-échange s'est évaporé - encore plus rapidement que je ne l'avais prévu.

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