Trade deals and the debate
As you know from reading this blog, the real story is that the need for human labor is shrinking, because computerization, automation, and other technological advances are able to create more product with fewer human workers.
There is also the issue of how much stuff we need. More food than we need to eat only makes us fat (and low-cost food explains the so-called “obesity epidemic” a lot more than the ridiculous idea that poor people are fat because they can’t afford to buy “healthy” food). One modern high-definition TV showing the greatest new TV series like Game of Thrones is far better than a dozen CRT TVs from the 1970s showing only the kind of dreck that was on TV in the 1970s.
There is a surplus of labor that is only able to do physical work like working on a farm or in a factory, while only a small number of high-IQ people are needed to create better agricultural technology and new television shows.
Neither Hillary nor Trump addressed this issue. Both, at least publicly, and probably privately as well (because politicians have little imagination), believe in the conventional idea that most people should have a job that is a voluntary contract between a private employer and the employee, with the rest working for the government. While there is disagreement between Republicans and Democrats about the percentage of people who should be working for the government, it’s actually a pretty narrow disagreement.
Additionally, SWPLs believe in the idea that a self-actualizing career is the most important goal in life, and you can’t have a self-actualizing career without the sort of labor market described above (although it’s one with few winners because the number of high-quality self-actualizing jobs is small compared to the total number of jobs).
Within this framework, Trump’s ideas on trade make more sense, because he wants to keep jobs in the United States while the Democrats, as well as other Republicans who hate Trump, support the globalization that is sending such jobs overseas. Economists, who also believe in the sort of labor market described above, furthermore believe that globalization will result in more value created for everyone, and they mock Trump’s zero-sum thinking. But in fact, because the need for human labor is shrinking, Trump’s zero-sum approach to jobs is actually more correct. It’s more correct until we can develop a new economy that’s not based on the type of labor markets described above.