This has been on my mind for some time. I took a course in international economics many years ago, at Harvard University’s Extension College. I believe it was in that course that I learned about “liberal” economics – that lowering barriers to international trade improves the efficiency of supplying goods to markets. However, there are a couple of problems with our current economies and liberal economics. Liberal economics assumes open markets, but also free movement of labor – which we do not have in our part of the modern world. But, the second problem is more basic. We as humans tend to be prejudiced.
For some reason, we seem to be able to distance ourselves from and have a prey-like focus upon other people (or animals, or plants, or minerals). If others are not like us (for example, women if you are a man, Hispanics if you are Trump), we can put that class of people in a place in our minds, disassociate ourselves from them, and do ugly things to them – like discriminate against them in employment. I suspect discrimination is pervasive through human society because of this inherent ability and tendency.
I suspect we have this quality because, in the wild, we had to hunt to live. If you are going to kill something for food, you have to be able to distance yourself from your prey and see the prey as an “other”. In our modern world, we compete for jobs. For all of our American belief in equality and freedom, and the many years of public disapprobation of prejudice, we still have a hard time accepting, hiring, etc., those whom we have classed as different. And there lies the rub, the free movement of labor of liberal economics runs up against mass prejudice. I am not sure what the answer is.