Forum to examine ‘free,’ ‘fair’ trade

June 4, 2014

Claude BarfieldWhat practice actually helps the poor: “fair trade” or “free trade?”

Dr. Claude Barfield That will be the topic for a Commoner Forum Wednesday, October 24, when Dr. Claude Barfield comes to Bryan to discuss the issue in a meeting open to all who are interested.

Dr. Travis Ricketts, professor of history and host for the forum, said Dr. Barfield has studied the question extensively and has come to the conclusion that free trade – letting the market set the price of goods – actually offers significant benefits over fair trade – artificially inflating the cost of goods to aid the poor.

“Two summers ago the American Enterprise Institute invited me to bring four students to Washington, D.C., for a workshop,” Dr. Ricketts said. “They wanted to start a conversation on Christian college campuses about the confluence of faith and economics. Last year, we brought a scholar to Bryan to talk about economic cycles, booms and busts. This year, with all the talk about social justice and distribution of wealth, we have an opportunity to bring a scholar here to talk about what really helps the poor.”

Dr. Barfield, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is a former consultant to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, researches international trade policy, the World Trade Organization, intellectual property, and science and technology policy.

The Commoner Forum, sponsored by the Department of History, Politics, and Government, will be held on the second floor of the library beginning at 7 p.m.