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Originally posted by cassandranova
While history will tell the final story, I personally believe that should the dominance of democracies fall to the rising autocratic powers in the next century, historians will point to the free trade policies that devastated local manufacturing in the U.S., Europe, and other areas, transferring not just wealth but key infrastructure abroad to regimes with markedly different ideologies, as the critical source of funding for their growth and the key source for autocratic stability. Having cheap goods of questionable quality in many cases at the price of having national self-sufficiency is a dangerous bargain to make, especially should conflict arise in the future.
But not knowing the future, I'd ask two questions to push this thread forward:
1) Do you believe free trade leads to democratization?
2) Do you think the political benefits of free trade from democracies to autocracies outweighs the liabilities?