Impact of Free Trade
Will free trade benefit third world countries? Does it harm developed countries? Could it serve a universal good? Is free trade a realistic goal?
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
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Being interlocked through trading relationships decreases the likelihood of war. If you are engaged ...
Being interlocked through trading relationships decreases the likelihood of war. If you are engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship with other countries then there is no incentive to jeopardise this relationship through aggression. This promotes peace, which is a universal good.
Free trade does not promote the universal good of peace. Trading countries have gone to war against each other. If there is anything in that argument at all it holds good for any good natured trading relationship, not necessarily just a tariff free one.
Maximum global efficiency, and the cheapest prices, can only be maintained by a tariff free internat...
Maximum global efficiency, and the cheapest prices, can only be maintained by a tariff free international economy. The more efficiently allocated are the world’s resources the less waste there is and the more affordable goods will become for consumers.
International economics isn’t as simple as increasing the efficiency of global resource allocation above all else. Tariff revenue is a perfectly legitimate and useful source of government income. Second, without tariffs governments cannot protect the job security of their citizens. US steel companies might not be able to provide steel as cheaply as other companies, but the US has a clear interest in protecting its own jobs.
Free trade might lead to domestic redundancies, but the universal good of efficiency out-weights thi...
Free trade might lead to domestic redundancies, but the universal good of efficiency out-weights this. We shouldn’t subsidise wastefully uncompetitive industries, we should redeploy those workers in another field. Subsidising inefficiency is not sound economic practice. Moreover, the jobs we subsidise in the West are more needed in the developing world, whence they would inevitably flow if free trade was observed.
Job security is a legitimate value to want to protect – the destruction of job security in such a competitive arena would be a clear case against free trade serving a “universal good.” Pro-free trade arguments which condone domestic job losses fail to factor into the equation the very real consideration of political power; a starkly utilitarian conception of the “universal good” may dictate that theoretically the best thing to do is let jobs flock to the developing world, but political action is constrained by domestic opinion and its conception of the “good” will invariably be much more localised.
The growth of the developing world is a universal good, because the improvement in the quality of li...
The growth of the developing world is a universal good, because the improvement in the quality of life of millions of people is clearly a moral imperative. Free trade helps countries by maximising their comparative advantage in free trade circumstances.
Defending pure, unadulterated free trade is a pointless exercise. The ideas of the text-books are always mediated by practical constraints. The reality of free trade is that the conditions and criteria developing countries must meet just to join the “not quite free trade” WTO are severe and cost the equivalent of an entire humanitarian budget for a year. There are pressing priorities that must be addressed first.
It is not only free trade in goods that can benefit the developing world. Developing countries gain ...
It is not only free trade in goods that can benefit the developing world. Developing countries gain ready access to capital in liberalised international financial markets. This gives them the opportunity to finance projects for growth and development.
If capital were rational in its flows it would be beneficial. In practice liberalised capital flow can destabilise developing countries, which are prone to fickle speculation, based on investor whim rather than economic fundamentals.
What do you think?