But you're arguing for placing pre-emptive barriers on what you think are "the right level of local". I'm saying, if you have open trade borders and price in the cost of externalities (like a carbon tax), then the market will work itself out in terms of where the "right level of local source" is.
That's exactly what I'm saying. That distance and cost of transportation should matter more. The only reason we have global trade at this scale is that a log of the costs are outsourced and externalised. The economic impact of global trade is incredible, easily dwarves private cars, for example.
I don't know if I buy that. Employment participation rates vary from decade to decade.
You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts. When my father finished schools, company representatives were waiting in front of the schools to catch young men (mostly, at that time) immediately and offer them contracts. We were literally importing foreign workers because we didn't have enough people to fill all the available jobs.
but that's not full employment.
That's semantics. Nobody cares how many people have a job or not. What matters is if those who are looking for a job can find one or not. Employment as a percentage of population makes no sense at all (children, pensioners, etc.).
And I don't think impeding progress Luddite-style is the answer. Nor do I think impeding progress "anti-trade" style is the answer either.
We know that globalisation isn't the answer, either.
But here's the thing: The more self-sufficient you are, as a country or continent or just ill-defined local region, the less you will be dragged down when some men in suits made a bad gamble at the casino called stock exchange, which by all rights should have zero effect on the real economy.
what if every city was to produce their own crops of every type instead of importing/exporting from other areas? Would that be more or less efficient?
Once you price in long-distance trade at something resembling the real cost to the planet, local crops are suddenly a lot more efficient. Ignore money and prices for the moment, argue just with natural resources, working time, etc. - things that are real. Now explain me how eating meat from cows bred in South America on wheat brought in from Russia can by any means you choose be more efficient than meat from local cows fed local wheat.
Expand that idea to a global scale and you have your answer to why shipping from China or Brazil for certain things can be better.
For certain things, sure.
For everything? Not without a distortion factor, which is the monetary system.