Argument: Free Trade enables people to specialize

Issue Report: Free trade

Supporting Evidence

  • Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, at the Montana Economic Development Summit 2007, Butte, Montana, May 1, 2007 “At the most basic level, trade is beneficial because it allows people to specialize in the goods and services they produce best and most efficiently. For example, we could conceivably all grow our own food and provide our own medical care. But because farming and medicine require special knowledge and skills, a far more efficient arrangement is for the farmer to specialize in growing food and for the doctor to specialize in treating patients. Through the specialization made possible by trade, the farmer can benefit from the doctor’s medical knowledge and the doctor can enjoy lunch. The opportunity to trade allows everyone to play to his or her own strengths while benefiting from the productive skills of the whole community. Indeed, economists have demonstrated that trade between two people can be beneficial even if one of them is more skilled than the other at every task, so long as the more-skilled person specializes in those tasks at which he or she is relatively more productive.”