comparative advantage

Search for comparative advantage or free trade and you find nothing about social security


If a country has a social security system, its goods will be more expensive. More obscure is the fact that countries without social security systems tend to get a population boom among the poor, who remain poor however rich the other people in their country become. There's probably a reason for it. It's hard to sound expert from a distance, but the first point is so obvious that it shouldn't need stating until Google reveals a strange silence about it.


Econlib

The first on my search was rather quaint in quoting the exact paragraphs from classic textbooks in the 1820s when workhouses were in fashion:
https://www.econlib.org/library/Topics/Details/comparativeadvantage.html
I haven't read the text but can be sure that it didn't mention social security or national insurance, which first popped-up Prussia in the 1880s.

Investopedia came next, calling for free trade with China because labour is cheap there, and then this...

Say, for example, the producers of American shoes understand and agree with the free-trade argument but they also know that their narrow interests would be negatively impacted by cheaper foreign shoes. Even if laborers would be most productive by switching from making shoes to making computers, nobody in the shoe industry wants to lose their job or see profits decrease in the short run.

This desire leads the shoemakers to lobby for, say, special tax breaks for their products and/or extra duties (or even outright bans) on foreign footwear. Appeals to save American jobs and preserve a time-honored American craft abound, even though, in the long run, American laborers would be made relatively less productive and American consumers relatively poorer by such protectionist tactics.

This looks like a bit of an insult to anyone who disagrees, rather than a list of reasons why anyone disagrees.

Seventy-three million people voted for Trump, some of them in revolt against these ideas as far as I can tell, but the page is still there, oblivious to other views; it's wrapped-up in the ideas of middle-aged men with spectacles who taught at US universities over the decades.

Eonomics Help

Economics help was about number three on the search results and a bit more polite and reasonable. There are no deliberate pretended misunderstandings and insults to anyone who disagrees, but there is nothing about them either. There is no mention of social security. Nor anything else that's good but makes one country more expensive than another. It says that international trade can be difficult because countries are a long way from each other, and comments of that kind, but misses the obvious point.

Wikipedia

There's some number-wang and a list of other views by accredited economists, who pretend they have not heard of social security. I hope this changes.


Core-econ

Search for a better economics text book and you finally find something like this, which I have skim-read. It uses the simple phrase "race to the bottom" about employment, environmental, and any other rights that are given-up to make exports cheaper. It quotes someone who has built-up a some kind of theory about it and says that the system can't please everybody.
https://www.core-econ.org/the-economy/book/text/18.html#189-globalization-and-anti-globalization
This is a long way from the Investopedia view that anyone who disagrees is dishonest and that this comparative advantage thing is a law of nature. The difference is so great that begs the question of why economists can pretend not to know things. Maybe they're so wrapped-up in the idea of working for a private university in the US, and finding something that follows-on from their Economics 101 diagrams, that social security doesn't occur to them as a problem. Maybe they deliberately miss the point because they're the kind of people who don't like social security.

This is odd thing to read on the web site of a shoe shop; maybe more shoe shops should do the same.