Does the Market Fail to Respond to Localized Demands?
Don Boudreaux, over at CafeHayek, quotes Roger Scruton’s criticism of the “globalized form” of the free market. Here’s the quote:
Although I’m very much in favor of the free market, I’m very suspicious of the globalized form of it, and the way in which it does not respond to the demands of local communities and local forms of value. So this is a problem for real conservatism – to develop an economic doctrine that does not menace the local communities on which we all depend.
Don is in the top 5 worldwide defenders of international trade and so his response is, as always, quite good. He focuses on the disruption that new suppliers bring to local communities and points out that there’s nothing special about the suppliers being foreign: Walmart is just as capable of bringing disruption.
But I think–and this is rare–that there is a response to Scruton that he missed. Well, he didn’t exactly miss it–it’s implicit–but I think it should be explicit.
Suppliers, whether domestic or foreign, succeed in any community by providing goods and services that people want. Precisely because we in the United States are relatively free to buy goods from other countries, local communities get served better.
As I sit here writing, I’m in my Altra shoes in which I played pickleball Saturday morning. I believe that they were made in either China or Vietnam. As one person in the Monterey community, I find the makers have nicely responded to my local demand for shoes that help my plantar fasciitis rather than make it worse.