A few days ago, I visited the shiny headquarters of the Peterson Institute for International Economics on “think tank row” in Washington — basically, the locker room of the Team Globalization and Free Trade cheering squad.
I was there to take part in a discussion of an old friend’s outstanding book on the subject, Steven R. Weisman’s “The Great Tradeoff: Confronting Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization.”
...Then I went rogue and uttered two blasphemous words: “Ross Perot.” He had a point, I said heretically, when he campaigned in 1992 against the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement, saying that it would result in a “giant sucking sound” of jobs headed south to Mexico.
A cool breeze drifted toward me.
As I looked out at my audience, I realized that the room was filled with winners — folks who, from all appearances, earned their livings from intellectual labor. Neither their jobs nor their wages were in jeopardy as countries ranging from Vietnam to Colombia became more competitive with us.
PIIE is certainly one of free trade and globalization's biggest proponents, and it always has been.
While at PIIE (formerly known as the Institute for International Economics), the scholar John Williamson coined the term "Washington Consensus," which is often seen as synonymous with globalization and neoliberalism.
Just last month the think tank came out with a study on the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and bashed a competing study by Tufts University that did not support its findings.