View Poll Results: Has free trade been good for the United States

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Thread: Has free trade been good for the United States?

  1. #1
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    Has free trade been good for the United States?

    Economists have advocated the notion of comparative advantage to advance the cause of free trade. The idea is that group A can produce a commodity B more efficiently than group C. C can produce commodity D more efficiently than A. Therefore A and C should trade B and D instead of trying to produce it themselves. It sounds good in theory, but when applied on a global level between nations, problems can arise.

    Today we see the United States runs a huge trade deficit with China as a result of the implementation of such ideas. In fact the United States does not have sufficient commodities or manufactured goods to trade with China. The deficit is only maintained because China is willing to accept US dollars as payment for it's goods.

    This arrangement has resulted in the loss of US jobs to other countries which has hurt many Americans. Not only that but it has increased the debt of individual Americans and the US government.

    So the question is, has free trade been good for the United States?

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    Re: Has free trade been good for the United States?

    So I was a protectionist until some time ago and I still am to some degree but I shall elaborate.

    Free trade is good if you trade with nations that will not screw you over by being unfair participants in the trade. However, the USA has no such free trading partners. Contrary to a lot of rhetoric, the USA has no free trade agreements with China. It has no FTAs with most of asia and with most of Africa and with most of south america.

    The FTAs that the USA has is with Canada, Mexico, Israel, Aussieland and a few more latin american and south american countries.
    You don't even have an FTA with Japan, a longtime ally. You don't even have a FTA with the EU or hell, even the UK, a longer time ally and former master :P

    What the USA doesn't have, and really no nation that is part of the WTO, is unresponsible tariffs. So tariffs that are of such a nature that would be against WTO rules. It's a grey area and each nation makes its case on where it hurts the most. For instance, Japan had to give up rice tariffs on US rice to be accepted in the WTO.

    So.

    if by Free Trade you mean FTAs that the USA has, that's not the case. You don't have FTAs with the countries that steal the jobs in manufacturing.
    If you mean that the USA doesn't put huge protectionist tariffs on stuffs from other places... well overall I think it's a good thing. After all, who wants low wage manufacturing jobs in your country? this is a failure in policies and unions. If automatization were allowed to happen, the country that develops the best automatization robots and technology will become the new industrial capital of the world or have a chance at least to compete with low cost labor in countries like India and China.
    And free trade has mostly been beneficial. Cheaper goods is a good way to stimulate the economy. What you don't realize is that Walmart makes the most money, not China. Walmart buys the goods from China for cheap, puts a huge sales markup on them and sells them at an amazing profit.

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    Re: Has free trade been good for the United States?

    The idea of free economic trading zones arose from Neoliberalist theory that once two nations were economically entangled, the chances of those nations engaging in war with each other would be dramatically reduced. Such policies were pursued by Nixon, Reagan, both Bush's, Clinton and now to some degree Obama.

    Now while it is obvious that trading partners have not went to war with each other, it is obvious as well that they do not have to. China has taken advantage of US corporate greed and used it to position itself to eclipse the US as the largest world economy. American presidents have refused to do anything to counter the unfair trading practices of the Chinese due to corporate lobbying and the cries of "you'll hurt job creators and the economy." Thus, the US economy suffers trade deficits and the lack of manufacturing jobs at home.

    So no, I do not think that free-trade agreements have been good for the US. It has been good for US businesses and Wall Street, but not so much for the nation as a whole.

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    Re: Has free trade been good for the United States?

    I don't like the false dichotomy of the poll. It's hurt us in some ways and helped us in others.
    "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons." --Hillary Rodham Clinton
    "Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections." --Mitt Romney

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    Re: Has free trade been good for the United States?

    i'm for free trade with nations which enact OSHA-type worker protections and pollution controls similar to the laws our corporations are expected to observe. if not, an appropriate tariff should be put on the exports of non-compliant nations.

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    Re: Has free trade been good for the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phys251 View Post
    I don't like the false dichotomy of the poll. It's hurt us in some ways and helped us in others.
    Let's get at it this way. What exactly are the ways it has hurt and what exactly are the ways that it has helped?

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    Re: Has free trade been good for the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    i'm for free trade with nations which enact OSHA-type worker protections and pollution controls similar to the laws our corporations are expected to observe. if not, an appropriate tariff should be put on the exports of non-compliant nations.
    So you don't have a problem with US workers being put at a wage disadvantage?

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    Re: Has free trade been good for the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by tlmorg02 View Post
    The idea of free economic trading zones arose from Neoliberalist theory that once two nations were economically entangled, the chances of those nations engaging in war with each other would be dramatically reduced. Such policies were pursued by Nixon, Reagan, both Bush's, Clinton and now to some degree Obama.

    Now while it is obvious that trading partners have not went to war with each other, it is obvious as well that they do not have to. China has taken advantage of US corporate greed and used it to position itself to eclipse the US as the largest world economy. American presidents have refused to do anything to counter the unfair trading practices of the Chinese due to corporate lobbying and the cries of "you'll hurt job creators and the economy." Thus, the US economy suffers trade deficits and the lack of manufacturing jobs at home.

    So no, I do not think that free-trade agreements have been good for the US. It has been good for US businesses and Wall Street, but not so much for the nation as a whole.
    I agree with you. Do you have a reference to support your assertion with regards to trading nations being less likely to war? That's very interesting. Actually, I think their is some merit to that idea.

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    Re: Has free trade been good for the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman05 View Post
    If you mean that the USA doesn't put huge protectionist tariffs on stuffs from other places... well overall I think it's a good thing. After all, who wants low wage manufacturing jobs in your country? this is a failure in policies and unions. If automatization were allowed to happen, the country that develops the best automatization robots and technology will become the new industrial capital of the world or have a chance at least to compete with low cost labor in countries like India and China.
    First of all, many of the jobs that were sent overseas were good paying manufacturing jobs. Not only that, but those types of jobs are necessary because not everyone has the capacity to be an aerospace engineer. That is a big flaw with comparative advantage. It assumes that everyone will be able to engage in the production of the goods that are produced most efficiently in a particular area.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman05 View Post
    And free trade has mostly been beneficial. Cheaper goods is a good way to stimulate the economy. What you don't realize is that Walmart makes the most money, not China. Walmart buys the goods from China for cheap, puts a huge sales markup on them and sells them at an amazing profit.
    I don't think it's been mostly beneficial. What's the point in having cheaper goods if it means a loss of jobs and the resultant income inequality? The economy can't work with extreme income distribution at the top. Yeah, the Walton family is doing great. I hear that five of them are worth over 120 billion dollars. A worker at Walmart would have to work 8 million years tax free and save every penny to have that type of money.

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    Re: Has free trade been good for the United States?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    I agree with you. Do you have a reference to support your assertion with regards to trading nations being less likely to war? That's very interesting. Actually, I think their is some merit to that idea.
    You may be able to find more books on the subject than news articles. I first learned of it in graduate school.

    https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/copeland.htm

    Never at War

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