Recently, workers at an Indianapolis plant operated by Carrier, an air-conditioning manufacturer, came to work like any other day. Except it wasn’t like any other day. Instead, they got to hear a speech explaining that they were losing their jobs because the company was moving the factory to Monterrey, Mexico, to save money. Carrier is owned by United Technologies Company, which made $7.6 billion last year.
You can watch the ugliness here:
What’s amazing is both that this executive manages to escape with only a few expletives shouted at him and–even more so–that he patronizingly demands the workers quiet down multiple times. He may have just told them their jobs are disappearing, but he’s still writing the checks until then (and don’t you forget it).
When economists discuss the benefits of free trade, they explain it’s an overall positive for the global economy: More people have jobs! More goods can be made and sold! But there is always a caveat: There are short-term issues with workers losing their jobs. In an ideal world, the government would help deal with those losses. We do not, generally, live in an ideal world. When people wonder why the American electorate somehow supports Trump’s or Sanders’s various plans to fight free trade–despite free trade being empirically better for the economy–they should watch this video and see how the numbers in macroeconomics actually turn out to be real people.