Competitive markets are a social good in which individuals are likely to under-invest. But attention in a political campaign is a private good: highly rivalous and excludable. Some of the best-funded poltical advertising in the United States is right now being used to create private value at theexpense of the public interest (and not the public interest of the US alone). bq. …the Democratic Party has now picked up the protectionist baton. Its leading candidate for the presidential nomination, John Kerry, talks about how “Benedict Arnold CEO’s” betray America by outsourcing jobs. Kerry’s remaining competitor, John Edwards, talks about how the gap on trade between him and Kerry is wide and deep — with Kerry on the free-trade side.(Brad DeLong in the “Korea Herald”:http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2004/03/02/200403020026.asp) Of course, the Republican advertising campaign has not yet started …
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher