In an economic age in which speedy transactions of imports and exports are essential, is free trade a necessity for aiding worldwide economic development? At least John F. Kennedy thought so, he being the initiator of removing tariffs and other limitations on U. S. imports. His hypothesis was that by doing that, other nations would follow America’s example and leadership. However, that never happened because the other nations were more concerned with their own problems. Even today, the United States continues to support free trade, an example being NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement).
The problem is that America’s generosity has caused the foreign industry to take over the U. S. marketplace. This unfortunately has resulted in high unemployment rates just because consumers and firms can purchase foreign goods for a little less than domestic products. But with this country’s abundant resources, is free trade really necessary? From a conservative viewpoint, the only remedy to decrease unemployment and stimulate our own economic growth is to abandon the free trade policy and raise tariffs. Free trade has only crippled the American work force, increased poverty, and added to our national debt.
If the liberals in Washington D. C. need proof, look at the figures: today there are about 10 million unemployed citizens and 35 million Americans are living in poverty because of free trade. It’s obvious that the foreign industry is taking advantage of us. Just visit any clothing store and you’ll find that most of the apparel comes from South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. It’s simply not feasible for the U. S. apparel industry to compete with the extremely low production costs in Third World countries. Also, another example of an industry hurt by free trade is the lumber industry.
Even though our country possesses the largest supply of timber resources, the United States is the largest importer of wood products in the world. The reason: imported wood is less expensive, especially from Canada. Other examples of industries that have responded negatively to free trade are the U. S. textile, petrochemical, fishing, and auto industries. The temptation for consumers to buy cheaper foreign goods has only slowed production in U. S. industries and has caused unemployment levels to skyrocket. America needs to become less generous, more independent, and definitely more self-sufficient.
Free trade policies need to be discontinued if that it is to be accomplished. The liberal viewpoint, however, is somewhat different. In a world of ever-increasing global economic interdependence, the United States should accept the responsibility of leadership towards the approaching 21st Century by promoting free trade. We need to do so in such a way that builds and matures the economies of other countries. As technology continues to advance in areas such as computers, medicine, and communication, we need to prioritize the spreading of these advancements across the world in hopes for reaching worldwide economic stability and unity.
Free trade is the best way to allow for the sharing of valuable resources and technology, which in turn makes the world a better, safer, and more united place for all. Inhibiting free trade is a step backwards in politics that only made sense back in the days when communication was slow and wars were being fought. Allowing for the existence of free trade is a step forward in the right direction towards the necessary global interdependent ways of the nearing 21st Century. Having clarified the different perspectives of the two main political parties on the free trade issue, it is hard to determine which action would be the most advantageous.
Actually, both parties have come to conclusions on this issue which would allow for positive and negative results. The only problem is deciding which one would have the best overall effects. Should we put the immediate focus on our own economy and allow it to prosper, while other poorer countries suffer from the tariffs? Or, should we do away with all taxes on imports in hope that others will follow our bold lead? Only the near future can show which was the best decision. For certain, however, the results will be global.