Economics commentator argues international trade conflicts are driven by domestic class conflicts

12/23/20

Matthew Klein, an economic commentator at Barron’s, says that international trade conflicts are largely driven by domestic class conflicts. 

Klein told Hill.TV’s “Rising” that people tend to misunderstand the trade conflict between China and the U.S., thinking it revolves around geopolitics or “incompatible national interests,” which he said is “not really right.”

“What we want people to understand is that trade conflicts between countries are driven fundamentally by class conflicts within them,” he said. 

“So if you’re an American worker, Chinese workers are not your enemy, just as if you’re a Chinese worker, American workers aren’t your enemy,” he continued. “Rather, American and Chinese elites often working together do things that hurt ordinary people in both China and the United States.”

Klein said when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic and the production of medical supplies, experts see manufacturing has relocated to places where employees are underpaid such as in China from higher paying countries such as the U.S. 

“That’s bad for Americans, but it’s also bad for Chinese who are fundamentally not able — they’re not getting paid as much as they should,” he said. “And therefore, they are able to buy fewer things than they should.”

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