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Protectionism vs Free Trade Part I - The Worlds Economic Debate Today people throughout the world are aware that they depend for their daily bread on something called the economy and they are aware that they are vulnerable because the economy is vulnerable People are aware that their local economies are somehow inserted in international trading patterns and that what happens to them personally in their daily lives is affected by distant commerce However the importance of the global market for contemporary society is often underestimated and the distant trade is actually not so distant The idea that international trade can facilitate economic growth by expanding the size of the market is as old as the economics profession itself tracing back to Adam Smiths 1776 discourse on the gains from specialization of trade Nevertheless along with the idea of international trade another concept of commerce runs called protectionism A century and a half ago French economist and statesman Frederic Bastiat presented the practical case for free trade It is always beneficial he said for a nation to specialize in what it can produce best and then trade with others to acquire goods at costs lower than it would take to produce them at home Berdell 2 A case for protectionism must also be remembered when 1977 AFL-CIO President George Meany said Free trade is a myth Foreign countries subsidize their manufacturers which enables them to undercut United States companies and take the jobs of American workers This is not competition - it is a stacked deck stacked against the American worker If we pursue the policies that have gone on for the last few years were going to be a completely service nation Freshman 383 Part II - Protectionism Many advocators of protectionism including Patrick J Buchanan are always willing to claim that free trade is a myth Buchanan goes on to say It envisions a future that will never exist and
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