At age 85, Jagdish Bhagwati has defended free trade for decades. The professor of economics and law at Columbia University even wrote a 2004 book called In Defense of Globalization. He doesn’t like the way things have gone lately. “My worry is basically that around the world, there are very different reasons why people are beginning to despair about free trade,” he says.
As economists such as Bhagwati never tire of saying, international trade lowers prices and increases variety by allowing producers in different nations to specialize in what they do best. It promotes productivity and innovation. The entry of China and India into the world trading system has lifted hundreds of millions of people from destitution.