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The Wealth of a Nation

A History of Trade Politics in America
Written by: C. Donald Johnson
Narrated by: David Stifel
Length: 27 hrs and 6 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Ambassador C. Donald Johnson's The Wealth of a Nation is an authoritative history of the politics of trade in America from the Revolution to the Trump era. 

Johnson begins by charting the rise and fall of the US protectionist system from the time of Alexander Hamilton to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930. Challenges to protectionist dominance were frequent and often serious, but the protectionist regime only faded in the wake of the Great Depression. 

After World War II, America was the primary architect of the liberal rules-based economic order that has dominated the globe for more than half a century. Recent years, however, have seen a swelling anti-free-trade movement that casts the postwar liberal regime as anti-worker, pro-capital, and - in Donald Trump's view - even anti-American. 

In this riveting history, Johnson emphasizes the benefits of the postwar free-trade regime but focuses in particular on how it has attempted to advance workers' rights. This analysis of the evolution of American trade policy stresses the critical importance of the multilateral trading system's survival and defines the central political struggle between business and labor in measuring the wealth of a nation.

©2018 Oxford University Press (P)2019 HighBridge Company

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  • Ryan Young
  • 2019-08-08

Good, but Doug Irwin's Book Is Better

A useful complement to Doug Irwin's Clashing Over Commerce. Johnson is light on the economics side, often citing magazine articles rather than academic research. But he shares some of his Washington experience as a staffer, Congressman, and part of the USTR office to give valuable political insights that more rigorous books often overlook.

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  • PCDB
  • 2019-03-17

A good history of a subject of interest to...

...those already interested (a rather specific set). It does betray a somewhat superficial liberal engagement with the complexities of trade policy at times - but not universally, and is pretty open when it does so. A very solid history overall.