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Trade Wars And The Batman Problem

Adam West brings out his alter ego, Batman, for the filming of a 1967 road safety ad for children.
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The United States and China have started their trade war, and it's not clear how long it will last or how it will end.

Economists largely agree that the tariffs used to fight trade wars are destructive, and that the destruction is amplified by the retaliations and escalations of each side.

What if there had been a way to avoid this trade war well before it started, a strategy that would have addressed the conditions that led to the trade war before they became problematic.

Today on the show, we speak with Joe Gagnon, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who argues that not only did such a strategy exist, but the same strategy could still be employed now to avoid the trade wars of the future.

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Cardiff Garcia is a co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money podcast, along with Stacey Vanek Smith. He joined NPR in November 2017.
Stacey Vanek Smith is the co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. She's also a correspondent for Planet Money, where she covers business and economics. In this role, Smith has followed economic stories down the muddy back roads of Oklahoma to buy 100 barrels of oil; she's traveled to Pune, India, to track down the man who pitched the country's dramatic currency devaluation to the prime minister; and she's spoken with a North Korean woman who made a small fortune smuggling artificial sweetener in from China.