International Trade Hits a New Group

There an interesting discussion going on on Brad DeLong’s blog about outsourcing to foreign countries.

DeLong discusses international trade in general in a nice way, and tries to convince people that trade is good for them. For the record, I generally agree with him about the benefits of international trade. What I find really interesting about the discussion, though, is that there are so many comments from blog readers who are up in arms about international trade — now that it’s hitting them for the first time.

What I conclude is that outsourcing to India and China of IT services, programming, call-centers, etc. is actually affecting internet users, who I think have only benefited from trade up to now. All of a sudden they’ve started to worry about international trade, as they see their own jobs potentially moving overseas. It’s a natural reaction, of course, and I don’t at all blame anyone for feeling nervous about losing their job — I would, too. But I would guess that most of those anti-trade commentators would have felt very differently (and much more pro-trade) just a few years ago.

I wonder if this phenomenon could breathe new life into the forces of protectionism in the US?