By Dustin Massengill–

The World Affairs Council is a non-profit, member-based organization.

Foreign relations expert Edward Alden discussed America’s role in the global market on Jan. 24.

Sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, the presentation acted as a forum to promote understanding and discussion on what America has been doing in the growing global market and its effect on the national economy. Alden related the presentation to President Donald Trump, focusing on his recent handling of trade deals and relationships with other nations.

Alden applauded Trump for removing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“This is the first time in a long time since the U.S. started a trade deal and then turned around and backed out,” Alden said. “The U.S., 1950-1960, was a very efficient country…but has dropped quickly in the last century.”

After being a reporter on trade issues for 25 years, Alden is now a Bernard L. Schwartz Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he focuses on economic competitiveness. Along with books on economics and public relations, he has an international relations degree from the University of California, Berkley.

Edward Alden spoke with the World Affairs Council at the University of Louisville.

“Globalization is like aspirin, it’s good for you but it comes with warning labels,” Alden said.

One of the advantages we enjoy due to globalization is reduced prices of goods. The average household in America now spends about three percent on clothing compared to six percent in the past, with Alden citing his clothing for clarification.

However, there is a fine print, Alden said. The modern globalization can make the job market a little more hectic, and can lead to trade wars when countries artificially build up or push down the value of their currency which can make for a loser in trade. If provoked enough, trade wars can leave multiple countries poorer than if the relationship was healthy.

One audience member asked, “What is the brightest and darkest scenario for us on trade?”

“My darkest idea would be that we end up in trade wars, which could result in a recession,” Alden said. “My bright opinion would be that Trump reminds U.S. companies where their allegiance should be (U.S. workers).”

Alden said corporate taxes are too high which is helping to push employers away and we should push for a much stronger safety net for our workers.

“Look at Denmark,” Alden said. “Not saying they should be our model, but the unemployment in Europe is much higher and they have a much better safety net for retraining and helping the unemployed.”

“Not a lot can be done, but students shouldn’t worry unless we enter another recession,” Alden said. “We are entering a new era in America.”

Photos by Dustin Massengill / The Louisville Cardinal