Questions to those opposing free trade

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Questions to those opposing free trade

#1  Postby Hugin » Sep 23, 2010 8:58 pm

Among economists, there is a strong consensus (also check the actual table) in favor of free trade. Paul Krugman has compared opposition to free trade and globalization with opposition to evolution by natural selection. He has also stated that: "If economists ruled the world, there would be no need for a World Trade Organization. The economist's case for free trade is essentially a unilateral case - that is, it says that a country serves its own interests by pursuing free trade regardless of what other countries may do. Or as Frederic Bastiat put it, it makes no more sense to be protectionist because other countries have tariffs than it would to block up our harbors because other countries have rocky coasts. So if our theories really held sway, there would be no need for trade treaties: global free trade would emerge spontaneously from the unrestricted pursuit of national interest.".

I hope this illustrates that among economists, free trade is not a left/right issue. Paul Krugman, who is to the left of the average economist, supports free trade. For information on how left-wing and right-wing economists differ, look here.

It's not for bad reason that economists support free trade, as there is a field of research behind it, ongoing. I think this contains a reasonably good explanation to why free trade is good, even if some country is absolutely better at doing everything than another. An important point is that specialization or division of labor, decried by Noam Chomsky, is good for individuals and communities.

My questions to those opposing free trade are:

1. What do you see as wrong in the economic theory about free trade?
2. Why don't you think economists have discovered those errors that you have?
"If there were an Economist's Creed, it would surely contain the affirmations 'I understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage' and 'I advocate Free Trade'." - Paul Krugman
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#2  Postby chairman bill » Sep 23, 2010 8:59 pm

My preference is for Fair Trade. There is no such thing as a free market, and no free trade.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#3  Postby Sityl » Sep 23, 2010 9:00 pm

All I know is that Paul Krugman could win in a fight with a hurricane.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#4  Postby Hugin » Sep 23, 2010 9:09 pm

chairman bill wrote:My preference is for Fair Trade.


Free trade is fair trade.

chairman bill wrote:There is no such thing as a free market, and no free trade.


:picard:
"If there were an Economist's Creed, it would surely contain the affirmations 'I understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage' and 'I advocate Free Trade'." - Paul Krugman
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#5  Postby Beatsong » Sep 23, 2010 9:12 pm

Free trade is a bit like Ghandi said of western civilisation: "It would be a great idea."

As usual, you set up a naive, false dichotomy by suggesting that anyone who has a problem with the current state of so-called "globalisation" is "opposed to free trade". The reality is that what passes for free trade in the policies of many developed countries is really just a determined methodology of keeping the deck stacked against developing countries.

I don't know if you've read this or this, but if you haven't, you should. Written by an ex-IMF bigwig who is anything but opposed to free trade, but rather interested in examining honestly some of the self-serving prejudices and sleight-of-hand behind how some parties choose to define "free".
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#6  Postby Hugin » Sep 23, 2010 9:45 pm

Beatsong wrote:The reality is that what passes for free trade in the policies of many developed countries is really just a determined methodology of keeping the deck stacked against developing countries.


What do you mean by that?
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#7  Postby chairman bill » Sep 23, 2010 9:54 pm

Hugin wrote:
chairman bill wrote:My preference is for Fair Trade.


Free trade is fair trade.

chairman bill wrote:There is no such thing as a free market, and no free trade.


:picard:


Ah, ignorance is bliss, eh?
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#8  Postby Hugin » Sep 23, 2010 9:55 pm

chairman bill wrote:
Hugin wrote:
chairman bill wrote:My preference is for Fair Trade.


Free trade is fair trade.

chairman bill wrote:There is no such thing as a free market, and no free trade.


:picard:


Ah, ignorance is bliss, eh?


Are you sure I'm the ignorant one? :think:
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#9  Postby Paul G » Sep 23, 2010 10:10 pm

"Free Trade" is such a moronically simple minded idealistic bullshit idea. Trade can never, ever, be "free".
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#10  Postby Hugin » Sep 23, 2010 10:14 pm

Paul G wrote:"Free Trade" is such a moronically simple minded idealistic bullshit idea. Trade can never, ever, be "free".


:waah:
"If there were an Economist's Creed, it would surely contain the affirmations 'I understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage' and 'I advocate Free Trade'." - Paul Krugman
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#11  Postby Paul G » Sep 23, 2010 10:19 pm

Hugin wrote:
Paul G wrote:"Free Trade" is such a moronically simple minded idealistic bullshit idea. Trade can never, ever, be "free".


:waah:


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?
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#12  Postby Loke » Sep 23, 2010 10:21 pm

This is my answer:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gKX9TWRyfs[/youtube]

Its all about this sort of thing.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#13  Postby Hugin » Sep 23, 2010 10:22 pm

Paul G wrote:
Hugin wrote:
Paul G wrote:"Free Trade" is such a moronically simple minded idealistic bullshit idea. Trade can never, ever, be "free".


:waah:


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.
"If there were an Economist's Creed, it would surely contain the affirmations 'I understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage' and 'I advocate Free Trade'." - Paul Krugman
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#14  Postby Paul G » Sep 23, 2010 10:26 pm

Hugin wrote:
Paul G wrote:
Hugin wrote:

:waah:


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.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#15  Postby Byron » Sep 23, 2010 10:27 pm

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.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#16  Postby atrasicarius » Sep 23, 2010 10:39 pm

:popcorn:
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#17  Postby Strontium Dog » Sep 23, 2010 10:42 pm

Hugin wrote:
chairman bill wrote:My preference is for Fair Trade.


Free trade is fair trade.


:clap:
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#18  Postby Strontium Dog » Sep 23, 2010 10:52 pm

Byron wrote: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.


Free trade eradicates those disparities. That "unfair advantage" a country has in the labour market disappears as their economy develops and catches up to everyone else. In less than half a century, South Korea went from third world to first world and now it's a G20 economy where workers enjoy the kind of legal protections that we do. And all because of free trade. Just compare it to its neighbour to the north, where trade is about as unfree as you can get, and you'll realise opposition to free trade isn't just nonsensical - it's criminal.
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#19  Postby Festeringbob » Sep 24, 2010 3:25 am

carbon tariffs, we need em, 'nough said
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Re: Questions to those opposing free trade

#20  Postby blackarmada » Sep 24, 2010 4:59 am

Strontium Dog wrote:

Free trade eradicates those disparities. That "unfair advantage" a country has in the labour market disappears as their economy develops and catches up to everyone else. In less than half a century, South Korea went from third world to first world and now it's a G20 economy where workers enjoy the kind of legal protections that we do. And all because of free trade. Just compare it to its neighbour to the north, where trade is about as unfree as you can get, and you'll realise opposition to free trade isn't just nonsensical - it's criminal.


The question that Hugin keeps avoiding with his juvenile tactics is not whether free trade is good but whether that it is geninue free trade being offered, not one sided exchanges where the country in question must open its borders to Western imports and capital but only selected items can be exported in turn.

As illustrated by Father O'Reilly in this thread
post346614.html?hilit=globalization#p346614

He has already pointed that while South Korea benefits greatly from free trade with the developed countries, it has also implemented many trade protectionism measures in order to protect its local industries. Many of its advanced industries would unlikely gained its current status if South Korea had allowed Japanese and US technology imports right from begining.
Heavy tariffs and quotas are also charged on foreign beefs, rice, tea and coffee in attempts to protect its local market.

South Korea benefitted from free trade, that is true but it is hardly an explemary example of free trade by itself. The same as the US. Comparing it to North Korea is ridiculous because their differences could hardly be blamed on just the lack of free trade.
Last edited by blackarmada on Sep 24, 2010 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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