FILOSOFIA UNISINOS, vol.11, no.2, pp.130-140, 2010 (AHCI)
One of the powerful arguments against free trade is that it is a zero-sum game. Due to differences in the cost of production, capital tends to concentrate in some countries and gains accrued as a result of this process in one region of the world are obtained at the expense of another region. That is, free trade might have some positive effects on the welfare of people in one place, but this is because it leads to a reduction in the welfare of people in another place. In this paper, I argue that on conceptual grounds the alleged causal link between liberalization of international trade and its negative impacts on the welfare of people is hardly tenable, even though the ongoing trade relations among nations display a zero-sum picture. Freedom of trade might be advocated on the basis of producers' equality of opportunity to enter the market and consumers' freedom of choice in buying goods and services in addition to considerations about efficient use of resources.