An articulate and conscientious critique of free trade that should be read by anyone with serious interest in the subject.




An economist and adjunct fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council argues that continuing a program of unregulated free trade is bad for America and proposes a solution that will benefit the U.S. economy in the long term.

Employing a typical economist’s rationality in this methodical and nonpartisan book, Fletcher takes to task the commonly held assumption that free trade is an inherently and inarguably good system for America, as well as the notion that challenges to this assumption are reactionary and mercantilist. Citing massive trade deficits—the fact that America imports much more than it exports—he argues that American primacy is waning as the dollar becomes less valuable. Fletcher undertakes a systematic approach to debunking free trade, beginning with clear-eyed explanations of free trade as it currently stands and the negative consequences it increasingly has on America. He devotes much of the book to his opposition’s arguments, deconstructing them so as to give free-trade detractors cogent rebuttals on the subject (a particularly favored whipping boy is the idea of comparative advantage). However, he saves the real intellectual wrath for the economists who either actively or tacitly support free trade. While politicians and powerful corporations do hold some sway, it will always be theories that dictate trade policy. Fletcher is of the opinion that any theory that supports free trade is the result of unrealistic assumptions about how trade works in today’s world as well as antiquated ideas about perfectly sound economies. His reasoned answer as to how trade should operate in America comprises the book’s third section. In short, he favors what is called a natural strategic tariff, one that is simple in implementation (he offers a 30 percent rate) but complex in effect, as different industries would be inherently more sensitive to a tariff. Such a system would promote some manufacturing to move back to America (indeed, the industries that would be affected are the very ones Americans want back on their shores) while leaving untouched other goods that the country would still happily import.

An articulate and conscientious critique of free trade that should be read by anyone with serious interest in the subject.

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2010

ISBN: 978-0578053325

Page Count: 346

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2010

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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