All of the econ blogs have been talking about this article by Paul Rubin. He discusses the evolutionary philosophy behind the lack of free trade support. He ascribes it to an assumption of a zero-sum game combined with distrust of outsiders, but I think he’s missing the boat. Most of the opponents of free trade feel that we are being cheated in our deals and that we should only sign these deals if we get something in return. That is a hard-wired response. We are trained evolutionarilly to reject something offered as a free lunch as a trap. We are conditioned to believe that to get something you must give something up. Therefore people hear that we are removing tariffs and want to know what we are getting in return. When people hear that we are getting nothing they see it as giving something up for nothing and instinctively reject it. People easily understand the benefits of trade, but not one way trade.
Are we irrationally hardwired