Questions to those opposing free trade

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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#41  Postby byofrcs » Sep 24, 2010 8:09 am

Byron wrote:
chairman bill wrote:My preference is for Fair Trade. There is no such thing as a free market, and no free trade.

The problem with the common understanding of free trade is disparity between difference sources of labour. Ie, labour in a country with a minimum wage is more expensive than that in a country with none. The answer isn't, as some libertarians say, to abolished minimum wages and let the market set its own rate, but to set tariffs and other protectionist measures up against countries with an unfair advantage, To allow countries with no worker protection to compete on equal terms is de facto unfree trade.

I admit that capitalism is the best economic system yet devised, but I don't go in for market worship. That way lies the Victorian industrialists & MPs who argued that the most rudimentary worker protection was a dastardly infringement on free trade.


Sounds idealist but it's got a flaw - what they would do to bypass this is mechanise is eliminate the human workers from the workforce. Voila - free trade again. Lots of unemployed workers but that's not what you are using your tariffs and other protectionist measures against.

You cannot use tariffs and other protectionist measures to stop trade with a country because you want to extend your domestic social policy into that other country. It's utterly stupid - all it does is hurt the workers in the country you are targeting.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#42  Postby Paul G » Sep 24, 2010 10:04 am

Paul G wrote:
Hugin wrote:
Paul G wrote:

Stop copying my style.

Do you believe otherwise, is free trade really achievable? If it is, what if the outcome is worse than if trade had taken a different form?


Duh, there is free trade within the EU, you have NAFTA, and so on. There is also free trade between the American states.

Please learn something before making up your mind.


Answer my questions.


Please.

Suppose there was "free trade" within Europe. How does this work out for countries outside of the EU? Are they at a disadvantage because of a government agreement within the EU?

The answer is yes. Setting up a "free trade" agreement is great when it includes you, but not for everyone else.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#43  Postby chairman bill » Sep 24, 2010 10:17 am

Free trade is a fantasy. What is more, it is undemocratic & anti-democratic. Don't take my word for it, ask Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations)
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

And just in case the archaic form defeats some folks' English comprehension, what he is saying is that people in the same trade, even when they meet for social reasons, eventually end up in conversations that effectively conspire to raise prices / sell more produce. The inferrence is that when they meet outside of social settings, specifically to discuss business, they go at it with even more vigour. The truth of what Smith wrote is behind the various controls, tariffs & regulations that governments, on behalf of the people, enact to regulate the so-called Free Market.

The point is, the Free Market isn't free, and even if it were (free from control), it wouldn't be free from devious manipulation based on greed.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#44  Postby Strontium Dog » Sep 24, 2010 10:26 am

chairman bill wrote:Free trade is a fantasy. What is more, it is undemocratic & anti-democratic. Don't take my word for it, ask Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations)

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.


In that passage, Smith isn't criticising free trade, he's advocating it! :doh:

chairman bill wrote:The truth of what Smith wrote is behind the various controls, tariffs & regulations that governments, on behalf of the people, enact to regulate the so-called Free Market.


Here, you demonstrate that you don't know what free trade is, as you apparently cannot distinguish it from a lack of regulation. Free trade is NOT the same as laissez-faire.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#45  Postby NineOneFour » Sep 24, 2010 10:37 am

Byron wrote:
chairman bill wrote:My preference is for Fair Trade. There is no such thing as a free market, and no free trade.

The problem with the common understanding of free trade is disparity between difference sources of labour. Ie, labour in a country with a minimum wage is more expensive than that in a country with none. The answer isn't, as some libertarians say, to abolished minimum wages and let the market set its own rate, but to set tariffs and other protectionist measures up against countries with an unfair advantage, To allow countries with no worker protection to compete on equal terms is de facto unfree trade.

I admit that capitalism is the best economic system yet devised, but I don't go in for market worship. That way lies the Victorian industrialists & MPs who argued that the most rudimentary worker protection was a dastardly infringement on free trade.


Best summary I've seen in a while.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#46  Postby NineOneFour » Sep 24, 2010 10:41 am

Globe wrote:
Hugin wrote:
Globe wrote:
Taxed. Both within each country's borders, by exporting, by importing. No two companies are taxed the same within a country, no two items of import are taxed the same, imports from outside those areas are either taxed higher on import, or the countries of origin are subject to trade agreements. Subsidies to banks, struggling industries, subsidies from EU......

Oh look..... Free Trade just flew out the window.


As I said, you don't know what free trade is. Stop acting as if you do.

Free trade is when goods can flow freely across borders without the government discriminating against them. Like they can within the EU.

But they can't. :doh:

The Danish government subsidizes several industries in Denmark. Free Trade out the window, as they create discrimination against non-Danish companies in that industry.
Sweden does the same. As does Germany and every other country within the EU. And even EU create unfair competition within the EU area by subsidizing some companies in one part of the EU, while not subsidizing companies within the same kind of industry in another part of EU.

YOU are the one not knowing what you are talking about.
Simply because a term has been coined, doesn't mean it's practised.


I hate to say this, Hugin, but she has you there. To have truly free trade, there would have to be no subsidies, and the EU and American states are chock full of them.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#47  Postby Strontium Dog » Sep 24, 2010 10:48 am

I think the error is in seeing "free trade" as some kind of binary thing. Okay, Denmark's subsidies might mean that trade isn't 100% free, but there is mostly free trade between Denmark and its EU colleagues.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#48  Postby chairman bill » Sep 24, 2010 11:00 am

Strontium Dog wrote:In that passage, Smith isn't criticising free trade, he's advocating it! :doh:


No, Smith is pointing out the need for limits on 'Free Trade'.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#49  Postby Globe » Sep 24, 2010 11:00 am

Strontium Dog wrote:I think the error is in seeing "free trade" as some kind of binary thing. Okay, Denmark's subsidies might mean that trade isn't 100% free, but there is mostly free trade between Denmark and its EU colleagues.

Image
Right..... that's why we don't import the CHEAPER German milk and dairy products in Denmark.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#50  Postby chairman bill » Sep 24, 2010 11:02 am

Strontium Dog wrote:I think the error is in seeing "free trade" as some kind of binary thing. Okay, Denmark's subsidies might mean that trade isn't 100% free, but there is mostly free trade between Denmark and its EU colleagues.


Yes, let's move the goalposts. It's not really free trade, but we'll call it free trade anyway. Humpty Dumpty language. What the world needs is fair trade, not some fantasy of free trade, a trade that only benefits a part of society rather than society ovderall.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#51  Postby Peter Brown » Sep 24, 2010 11:38 am

chairman bill wrote:My preference is for Fair Trade. There is no such thing as a free market, and no free trade.


Absolutely Bill, anyone who thinks there is a free market obviously never heard of regional zones (DVD) price fixing, state subsidies, industry pressure groups, import taxes, etc etc etc.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#52  Postby Strontium Dog » Sep 24, 2010 11:50 am

chairman bill wrote:
Strontium Dog wrote:In that passage, Smith isn't criticising free trade, he's advocating it! :doh:


No, Smith is pointing out the need for limits on 'Free Trade'.


No, he's pointing out how special interest groups will try to hijack trade for their own nefarious ends.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wealth_of_Nations

Smith repeatedly attacks groups of politically aligned individuals who attempt to use their collective influence to manipulate the government into doing their bidding. At the time, these were referred to as "factions," but are now more commonly called "special interests," a term that can comprise international bankers, corporate conglomerations, outright oligopolies, trade unions and other groups. Indeed, Smith had a particular distrust of the tradesman class. He felt that the members of this class, especially acting together within the guilds they want to form, could constitute a power block and manipulate the state into regulating for special interests against the general interest.


You see? He's arguing AGAINST regulation that would favour special interests. This is a pro-free trade argument.

Globe wrote:
Strontium Dog wrote:I think the error is in seeing "free trade" as some kind of binary thing. Okay, Denmark's subsidies might mean that trade isn't 100% free, but there is mostly free trade between Denmark and its EU colleagues.


Image
Right..... that's why we don't import the CHEAPER German milk and dairy products in Denmark.


Er, yes you do :scratch:

http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Proc ... lk-imports

Arla under pressure from cheap German milk imports
05-Jul-2004

From this month, German milk will be available at Danish retailer Dansk Supermarked's stores, a move that could affect milk prices and production across Europe.

According to Danish press reports, the two Danish multiples owned by the Dansk Supermarked Group, Føtex and Bilka, began to sell cheap German milk on Friday. Sold under Dansk Supermarked's own brand "Engholm", the milk will be clearly marked "Produced in Germany."


chairman bill wrote:
Strontium Dog wrote:I think the error is in seeing "free trade" as some kind of binary thing. Okay, Denmark's subsidies might mean that trade isn't 100% free, but there is mostly free trade between Denmark and its EU colleagues.


Yes, let's move the goalposts. It's not really free trade, but we'll call it free trade anyway. Humpty Dumpty language. What the world needs is fair trade, not some fantasy of free trade, a trade that only benefits a part of society rather than society ovderall.


Nobody has moved any goalposts. You have a sliding scale from "free trade" to "unfree trade". Trade between EU partners is close to the "free" end. I don't really see how this can be argued with.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#53  Postby chairman bill » Sep 24, 2010 11:52 am

Oh, talk about missing the point
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#54  Postby Peter Brown » Sep 24, 2010 11:53 am

NineOneFour wrote:

I hate to say this, Hugin, but she has you there. To have truly free trade, there would have to be no subsidies, and the EU and American states are chock full of them.


Too true, but some seem worse than others. Ie US cotton states, who get their massive subsidies because they hold an unrepresentive numbers of senators per population/state size , and of course the French farmers who are the descendants of Napoleons Imperial guard when they feel threatened financially.

False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World by Alan Beattie is an interesting insight into how free trade isn’t all that free after all but highly influenced and managed. It is where I learned the above from.

Britain might have some subsidies too but I don’t think you tend to hear about your own dirty linen. But we Brits tend to think it is rip off Britain when it comes to comparing prices abroad.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#55  Postby Peter Brown » Sep 24, 2010 12:03 pm

Strontium Dog wrote:

Smith repeatedly attacks groups of politically aligned individuals who attempt to use their collective influence to manipulate the government into doing their bidding. At the time, these were referred to as "factions," but are now more commonly called "special interests," a term that can comprise international bankers, corporate conglomerations, outright oligopolies, trade unions and other groups. Indeed, Smith had a particular distrust of the tradesman class. He felt that the members of this class, especially acting together within the guilds they want to form, could constitute a power block and manipulate the state into regulating for special interests against the general interest.


You see? He's arguing AGAINST regulation that would favour special interests. This is a pro-free trade argument.



I forgot the source but it was a historical one regarding the USSR pre WW2. Large nation, diverse produce, but cursed in that if it didn’t expand communism would economically fail. Between the lines it was telling me that without the see saw of actual selling/buying prices the market suffers entropy and dies. China had a same like problem with food, and by adding a capitalist fringe to state farming they went from starving the nation to feeding the nation.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#56  Postby Paul G » Sep 24, 2010 12:14 pm

No, I'll talk to myself then.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#57  Postby NineOneFour » Sep 24, 2010 12:24 pm

Paul G wrote:No, I'll talk to myself then.


Sometimes it's the only way one can be assured of intelligent conversation.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#58  Postby Strontium Dog » Sep 24, 2010 12:37 pm

Paul G wrote:No, I'll talk to myself then.


Are these the question you want answering?

Is free trade really achievable? If it is, what if the outcome is worse than if trade had taken a different form?


My answers would be "yes" and "it won't be".
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#59  Postby Daan » Sep 24, 2010 1:19 pm

The question should be how free trade should be. Too much restriction is bad, and too free is bad as well. Now i sound like a taoist master!
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#60  Postby Paul G » Sep 24, 2010 1:20 pm

Strontium Dog wrote:
Paul G wrote:No, I'll talk to myself then.


Are these the question you want answering?

Is free trade really achievable? If it is, what if the outcome is worse than if trade had taken a different form?


My answers would be "yes" and "it won't be".


Oh wow, thanks.
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