This article by the CATO Institute says that as the COVID-19 virus spreads across the U.S., some Americans have highlighted the economic consequences of the crisis, particularly the disruptive drop in production of goods destined for U.S. manufacturers. This has led to calls to use the crisis as an opportunity to decouple the two nations economically, one reason for such being to protect U.S. companies and consumers from supply disruptions.
There always is a case for diversification, says the CATO Institute article, as well as domestic production of narrowly defined essential goods. Yet autarky long has been recognized as a strategy of economic impoverishment. The benefits of international trade remain great, ensuring the ability to acquire goods that are better, cheaper, and varied. The diversity in product, process, and location offer important alternatives to sometimes limited domestic supplies. Further, the increased prosperity that results from economic specialization generates a long‐term cushion to temporary disruptions. Countries forced to practice veritable autarky because of foreign sanctions, such as Iran, become desperate when faced with a healthcare crisis like the present.