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Henderson and Horton on Whether China is an Economic Threat

Summary:
Scott Horton is a well-informed foreign policy analyst who interviews people mainly about foreign policy. Because of the potential foreign-policy implications of my recent Defining Ideas article on China, Scott interviewed me last week. His interview is titled, “David Henderson on the Supposed Economic Threat from China.” It goes about 42 minutes. There are two things I like consistently about being interviewed by Scott: (1) his energy and (2) the fact that I always learn something from him. Here are the highlights with approximate times: 2:47: Gains from trade don’t stop at the border. 4:00: The asymmetry in the gains and losses from trade and what that means for the discussion on economic policy. 9:45: Tariffs fell gradually after the war. 10:15: The Box bought

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Henderson and Horton on Whether China is an Economic Threat

Scott Horton is a well-informed foreign policy analyst who interviews people mainly about foreign policy. Because of the potential foreign-policy implications of my recent Defining Ideas article on China, Scott interviewed me last week. His interview is titled, “David Henderson on the Supposed Economic Threat from China.” It goes about 42 minutes.

There are two things I like consistently about being interviewed by Scott: (1) his energy and (2) the fact that I always learn something from him.

Here are the highlights with approximate times:

2:47: Gains from trade don’t stop at the border.

4:00: The asymmetry in the gains and losses from trade and what that means for the discussion on economic policy.

9:45: Tariffs fell gradually after the war.

10:15: The Box bought down costs of international trade across oceans more than small reductions in tariffs did.

11:30: The role of improvements in technology in losses of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

14:45: Obama economist Jason Furman’s comment about the gains for the average U.S. family from Walmart.

16:50: The role (or not) of regulation in moving jobs to China.

17:40: The Economic Report of the President under Trump and its analysis of where the U.S. stands in degree of regulation relative to Western Europe and other advanced economies.

19:50: China’s economy and why it has done so well. [HINT: It’s not mainly slave or prison labor.]

21:15: TikTok.

22:40: “You didn’t dance well?”

23:30: How the U.S. feds made it easier for the Chinese government to blackmail federal employees.

24:40: Much of intellectual property is handed over to Chinese firms contractually.

26:25: Are “we” in competition with “them?”

27:40: One thing that Trump is most sincere about and most wrong about.

28:30: Increase in size of Chinese military.

31:30: The Blob: They make a good living by stirring the pot.

32:30: Scott teaches me something about Colin Powell and his role in getting George W. Bush to respond moderately to China after the Chinese government forced a U.S. Navy EP-3 airplane to land on Hainan Island.

34:00: The report of one of my students who was on that airplane.

About 4 or 5 minutes in which we discuss nuclear war.

41:00: Are there interest groups in U.S. business that want the U.S. government to restrain its hawkish actions toward China?

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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