Trade shocks can hurt – they create many winners but a few big losers
There is no doubt that many economists underestimated the shock that resulted from trade liberalization in the 1990s, especially with China. In most economic models, more trade is good. When countries specialize in the production of goods and services for which they have a competitive advantage and then trade with each other, everybody wins. And while this is obviously true, the actual picture is a little bit more nuanced.
On the one hand, increased trade with Southeast Asia (and China specifically) drove down the price