May 5, 2017


What if we were wrong about free trade and globalization?


Widely-held notions of a win-win from trade and globalization don’t stand up to the evidence, says author of new book. 


Frustrated by a lack of full and unbiased information from governmental and academic sources, attorney and former Capitol Hill staffer James A. Stuber set out to find out “what is really going on” with trade, globalization, and their effects on the U.S. and world economies. 


After nearly three years of original research into Labor Department and Census Bureau databases, the economic literature, and investigative reports, Stuber provides his answers, in the recently published book, What if Things Were Made in America Again: How Consumers Can Rebuild the Middle Class by Buying Things Made in American Communities (Current Affairs Press, 2017).  His conclusions can be disconcerting.


Beginning with the question “Why does it seem that everything is made somewhere else?” the book provides –

  • A highly readable telling of the story of our seventy years’ failed experiment with free trade and globalization.
  • An exposé of each of the failed theories applied in pursuit of this path, and why they didn’t work. 
  • An accurate accounting of just how many dollars we sent overseas, to whom, and for what products. 
  • A unique compilation of our experience under each of our free trade agreements. 

The book also provides new insights into a second question, “Isn’t that causing a problem?” The book –

  • Gives an accurate accounting of just how many manufacturing jobs have been lost, and in which industries
  • Provides proof that many of those manufacturing jobs went to China. 
  • Debunks the idea that U.S. manufacturing is doing well.
  • Shows how globalization is failing, with a handful of nations growing their economies at the expense of others, the United States being the biggest loser:
  • Describes the hollow, harsh economy we have created, and the even bleaker future we face on our present course,
  • Provides a chilling description of China’s future course, as it wreaks havoc with overcapacity in steel, aluminum, and other industries and uses the trade surpluses we send it to engage in economic, cultural, and military imperialism.
  • Calls out the academic and political elites who have been offering up individuals, families, and entire communities on the altar of free trade in the pursuit of lower prices or solving poverty abroad, meanwhile destroying our industrial base. 
  • Calls out each of us as complicit when we go for the low-priced foreign product, and asks:

Who will stand up for the ordinary American?

Stuber points out that our current course is both immoral and against our self-interest, and asks

What about the Children?

Noting that high-skilled jobs now are being swept offshore with the blue-collar work, “In the end,” he says, “I concluded that we are trading away our children’s future.” 

Stuber challenges us --

  • to recognize the immorality of “volunteering” ordinary Americans to the project of low prices or fighting poverty abroad, destroying families and communities in the process,
  • to break from the thrall of free trade and globalization, and
  • to envision a better future, with the American dream restored.

Finally, the book addresses a third question, “What can be done?”  This book has the distinction of having a final chapter offering a practical solution:

bring home $500 billion in consumer spending, enough to balance trade, create six million jobs, take the slack out of the economy and get a virtuous circle going again. 

And so, the book’s subtitle: How Consumers Can Rebuild the Middle Class by Buying Things Made in American Communities.

Stuber brings a real-world perspective to his writing, hailing from an extended family working in the steel mills of Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Ohio.  Thoroughly researched and meticulously documented, the book nevertheless is written in an accessible voice, with easy-to-understand illustrations. 

Stuber makes a strong case that policy must be accompanied by consumer action.  A wake-up call with hope for the future, this book is must reading for every American. 

To arrange an interview with Jim call (610) 608-5074 or email Jim at  

For further information, visit

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