Show of HandsShow of Hands

veritas1 April 23rd, 2016 12:18am

It's easy to identify who is hurt by free trade agreements but the benefits are far more broadly spread across a larger number of people, which makes forming anti-trade coalitions easy & pro-trade messages harder, regardless of the economic reality.

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OhTheIrony Learning from you
04/23/16 11:50 am

Agree, well said. I believe the anti-free trade movement from the left is harmful to global economic prosperity.

However, I think it is important to recognize that there are some potential benefits of using protectionism as leverage against other countries.

If the US had no tariffs on foreign goods entirely, free trade negotiations wouldn't exist and the US wouldn't have nearly as much bargaining power to establish labor standards and worker's rights in other countries. The US would have rely on sanctions, which are not ideal because they cause international backlash and prevent the countries affected from modernizing and growing (See:Iran).

So yes, free trade is ideal, but I think there is some level of utility to be gained by implementing economic barriers in moderation. Unfortunately, the arguments that I usually hear in opposition to free trade are not this nuanced and often are just blind opposition to what they feel is unregulated corporatism.

JHawk3205 MD
04/23/16 10:58 am

The benefits come at a greater cost at some point or another. You look at globalization and you can see how maybe a bunch of starvation wage employees can work in truly unsafe conditions for long hours, feeding our

JHawk3205 MD
04/23/16 10:59 am

Mass consumerism machine, but it still comes at a cost, whether it's in US jobs, or environmental impact. We absolutely have the power to have trade deals that can be beneficial, but corporate greed had that tendency to cut

JHawk3205 MD
04/23/16 11:01 am

Corners if the deal doesn't benefit the companies involved. Nobody cares about the workforce or what they have to deal with, so cut funding. Anything to protect profit margins and risky short term investments..

EquaISideEcon more conservative than u
04/23/16 2:15 pm

Hypothetically of the company leaves the area of the low income earner how do they make up for lost income?

JHawk3205 MD
04/24/16 1:22 am

It depends on how you mean that, in regards to who exactly is getting the money. Do you mean profits to appease shareholders, or for just the executives in the company, or the company as a whole?

JHawk3205 MD
04/24/16 1:23 am

Using quarterly sales analysis has been shown to be overtly costly and time consuming, while not necessarily delivering much more than what can be achieved in larger time intervals. Many companies are tremendously wasteful

JHawk3205 MD
04/24/16 1:25 am

Of one resource or another, and usually for very extended periods of time. Often times money is huddled together at the top, when it should be more evenly spread. This comes back to the idea of investing in the workforce. It saves money

JHawk3205 MD
04/24/16 1:26 am

On hiring costs, training costs, because of lower turnover rates, so you have more experienced employees, who are much more likely to be happier, more productive employees, who do better at their jobs, compared to people making

JHawk3205 MD
04/24/16 1:27 am

Starvation wages. If done across the board, you have more people with more spending power (discretionary), low income earners already spend most of what they earn, and that generates more sales, creating higher demand.

JHawk3205 MD
04/24/16 1:29 am

Plus, it generates more tax revenue thru sales, and higher income tax, and decreases spending on government assistance programs, all with negligible (natural) inflation. There are more than enough ways to save money, or make up

JHawk3205 MD
04/24/16 1:30 am

What's lost, but quarterly reports just show how companies operate in the short term, ad mostly to appease shareholders, instead of investing in a sure long term bet, that gives higher steady economic stimulation

EquaISideEcon more conservative than u
04/24/16 8:45 pm

I'm not sure I'm following your answer. If a company paying "starvation wages" in low income country how do the former employees make up the income they lose?

JHawk3205 MD
04/25/16 10:37 am

Former employees as in people who lost jobs to outsourcing, or something else?

Squidboy Snarkapottamus
04/23/16 5:18 am

We really can't afford protectionism anymore it's a moot point. Free trade has benefited me personally by providing access to cheaper products. I've also adapted my career to work with multi-national companies. I work in sales and probably 80% of my income is from selling to US companies with foreign workers. I've managed to make free trade pay off handsomely for me.

04/23/16 4:33 pm

Good for you. I'll be sure to tell all the laid off factory workers about your success to cheer them up.

Squidboy Snarkapottamus
04/23/16 5:41 pm

Tell them this.....I'm on my 3rd career. My military career effectively ended when the Soviet Union fell and I took an early discharge. The Internet killed my journalism career pretty quickly. I looked around to see what was next. NAFTA, ecommerce, the Internet, and started over. I didn't sit around complaining about something that was gone and not coming back. It was difficult and humbling....and worth the effort.

04/24/16 6:19 am

That really is impressive. Not everyone can do that though unfortunately.

MurrayHitchens The Truth Wins Out
04/22/16 8:54 pm

Yep, diffuse costs and concentrated benefits makes way for protectionism along with a few other things.

Amaranth Iowa
04/22/16 7:14 pm

Agree, but only with respect to truly free trade agreements. Not this Nafta and Tpp bullshit.