America should strive toward self dependency
2. Raw materials should be the only thing imported.
3. I consider self dependency to be only 20% of finished goods should be imported.
4. Only raw materials not available in large numbers should be imported.
You may begin this round with any response that you see fit.
I thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate this topic. As a supporter of free trade, this should be a very interesting debate.
The burden of proof should be shared between both me and pro, as his resolution is "America should strive toward self-sufficiency" and mine will be "America should strive toward free trade internationally".
Self-Sufficiency: Able to provide for oneself without the help of others; independent.
Free trade: (Economics) international trade that is free of such government interference as import quotas, export subsidies, protective tariffs, etc. (1)
I believe these two ideas are at odds, as self-sufficiency as you describe it would only be attained through economic intervention by the government. This is evident in that the world is very diverse in goods and services, and a society as complex as our own wouldn't be as prosperous if it aimed toward self sufficiency as opposed to integration. People will always want goods from other nations, whether it be finished goods or raw materials.
One of the biggest reasons to support international free trade is because it is done through individuals. This country was founded upon the ability of people to own property and have the ability trade goods with others. When two people make a trade, it is done for the mutual benefit of both parties. Others should not have a say in this mutually beneficial agreement, so long as nobody's rights are being infringed upon.
For example, say an American business owner wishes to buy bananas from Guatemala, as bananas grow well there, and are therefore cheaper. The American sees the bananas as worth more than the money he would give, and the banana grower sees the money he would get from the trade as worth more than his bananas. They make a mutually beneficial trade, and both end up happier and economically better off than they were before. No one was hurt in the process and both people, and in turn both nations, end up a bit better off than they were before.
I ask you this: is this something you really want to prevent from happening? Does the idea of self-sufficiency really trump over man's ability to make mutually beneficial agreements?
I believe individuals should be able to use their money as they please, so long as no one's gets hurt in the process.
The opinions you state in the first round have major economic implications. They imply that the USA should not be trading with other nations, even if it is more profitable and more desirable to the individuals in both countries.
"1. All industry and agriculture should be domestic."
The biggest problems with this idea is that it is a lot of the time cheaper to buy these products from other countries. As I stated before, something like bananas aren't very good at being grown in the United States. Growing them here simply for the sake of having them grown in America would be a bad economic decision. Trading them is much cheaper, and it would prevent the prices of bananas from going up, which allows for people to use the money on other things.
This isn't only limited to bananas though. In 2010, the top agricultural imports to the United States include fruit juices (43k hectoliters), wine (10k hectoliters), malt beverages (31k hectoliters), and fruits, nuts, and preparations (11k metric tons). (2) This shows the sheer amounts of agriculture products that we import to the USA. Imagine how much more expensive these, along with many other products, would be if they had to be farmed here. We simply don't have the environments, land, or natural resources to sustain the amounts of agricultural goods that we get from all over the world.
Industry is another important part of the international trade in which we do. Industrial goods such machines, engines, and pumps make up 13% ($293 billion) of our imports, electronic equipment make up 12.5%($283 billion), and vehicles 9.1%($206 billion).(3) What this implies is that a ton of our money is being traded for goods that we use every day. These goods, which are definitely cheaper than what they would have been if made domestically, allow us to function effectively as a highly developed nation. I'd like to emphasize again that free trade gives us the ability to make huge profits off of industrial items while also allowing us to focus our abilities in America on other, more profitable jobs. If these things were made here, it would hit the pockets of every American citizen in affording the more expensive products. This causes a net loss in our economy.
"2. Raw materials should be the only thing imported."
"4. Only raw materials not available in large numbers should be imported."
Any raw materials that could be imported for less money than it would take to bring here in America should be done. This could only benefit people here as we need cheap materials to make cheap products. Cheap products benefit consumers, which would be the common citizen.
"3. I consider self dependency to be only 20% of finished goods should be imported."
What should be imported is anything that can make America more prosperous. As I have pointed out earlier, mutually beneficial trade agreements have a good effect on society. Whether it be between Americans, or between other countries is not important, so long as it is beneficial to people.
Other benefits includes the promotion of innovation and competition and disseminating democratic values. (4)
Innovation and competition occur because different individuals in nations will work to try to make better and cheaper products than those in other nations. For example, the competition between Sony and Nintendo brought about fantastic developments in the videogame industry, which increased the value of videogames both here and in other countries. Had there only been American companies involved in the new videogames industry, innovation and competition would have been much slower, as less people would be involved in the industry.
Disseminating democratic values can also result from free trade. "Free trade fosters support for the rule of law. Companies that engage in international trade have reason to abide by the terms of their contracts and international agreed-upon norms and laws. The World Trade Organization, for example, compels its member countries to honor trade agreements and, in any trade dispute, to abide by the decisions of the WTO's mediating body."(4) What this means is that when free trade is allowed, corruption in government slowly dies down as contracts are enforced internationally.
I'll let you respond now.
Yes, the banana industry may decrease. However, the United States has all it needs to continue producing food for its population.No, both nations do not end up better off. A guatemalan is employed to pick bananas, while a person in America looses their job picking oranges because people like bananas better. That person was put out of work by a Guatemalan and is now on unemployement.
One of the things you mentioned, nuts and fruits, actually helps my point. America has plenty of land dedicated to nuts and fruits. Imagine if what is imported stopped coming and nuts and fruit industries increased. Lowered unemployment(and fresher fruit).
While it may be cheaper, the US companies lay off people because Chinese people can work for pennies on the dollar. The US citizens lose their jobs and go on unemployment which causes tax surges. This causes people to have less money to spend on American goods. All this could be solved by simply making America self sufficient.
Again, think of employment opportunities for an Iron industry in America versus somewhere in Asia.
In addition, this will prevent the economic expansion of the competitors of the US. Especially China. The threat of China surpassing us would decrease dramatically when they no longer produce for the US.
"Think of employment. Factories will open up in America. People will be employed by these factories.
Factories are a bit different than growing banana trees, but I think you miss a key reason why we import and export agricultural products. We do it because it's an efficient reallocation of resources. When we have a lot of one food product, such as oranges, we export them because it is more profitable to the orange farmer to send the oranges overseas than to just sell domestically. It is more efficient to buy bananas from other countries than to make domestically.
Both nations do end up better off because greater wealth is generated in both. What you miss in your example of a orange farmer losing their job is the fact you are comparing "bananas and oranges". Economically speaking, the orange farmer is actually better off with international trade because he has the ability to grow more oranges for markets around the world. He won't lose his demand in oranges because some people also want bananas. What would be detrimental to the orange farmer is if we strived toward an isolationist economy. This would crush the orange farmer, because instead of focusing his farms on oranges for both domestic and international trade, he would be forced to either sell less (less demand) or sell other, now more expensive agricultural products. There is no net benefit to this policy.
On a broader scale, we mass produce things in America to sell to other countries too. The profit we get from this allows us to buy other mass produced things from these countries. The amount of value-generating employment we would get if this was cut off would be less. This is because people in America would then have to deal with making things that the other countries could make for cheaper, as opposed to focusing on our higher paying jobs.
The problem with this is that, if it was more profitable to make it at home, it would have already been done. People make products because they generate profit. The profit they would get doing this would be less than doing other jobs. If importation stopped, the prices would indeed go up on these products, allowing it to be more profitable. Except we then have to sell it for more as it would be more expensive to make here, which hurts consumers. The other problem is the jobs that it would produce would be less productive than other jobs the new nut and fruit farmers might have had if they focused their skills on other things.
Chinese workers working on pennies on the dollar is the reason we can have so much cheap products in America today. Many of the things that people buy, whether rich or unemployed, are made cheap enough so people could afford them and live better off than they would have been.
You bring up the idea that US citizens lose their jobs and go on unemployment. While unemployment is a problem, the worst way to fix it is by making things more expensive for everyone. It would basically be taking money from the rich, middle class and poor (through consumption), and giving it to the unemployed. This is basically equivalent to unemployment benefits, except that it isn't as obvious to people. I will get into this later.
This is a "what if China didn't exist" scenario. The implications of losing our biggest trading partner is tremendous. A large portion of our economy is dependent on buying and selling between the two countries. For example, "In the United States, 41 percent of our clothing is made in China (57 percent comes from elsewhere around the world, with only 2 percent made domestically)"(1). Imagine the amount of extra money everyone in America would have to spend on clothing if we didn't trade in China. Instead of paying a few dollars on shirts and pants, poor individuals may have to spend over $100. We simply don't have the ability to compete realistically with China when it comes to some industries.
We'd also lose a major buyer from the USA as well. In 2011, About $103.9 billion in products were exported to China(2). If this wasn't allowed, there would be huge losses to people all over America. It would cause a lot of unemployment as well, as companies would need to scale down their production to remain profitable. Less demand would mean the business would have to either lower the price of the product, or make less of it. If the company can't afford to make the prices so low, it is bound to reduce supply, and in turn fire unneeded workers.
This graph shows how this works(3).
"Again, think of employment opportunities for an Iron industry in America versus somewhere in Asia."
I would argue that employment is easy to solve. It's the generation of wealth that's the problem. The government could do various things to decrease unemployment, such as making government job creation programs, or increasing tax rates on imports. What you would advocate for is to shelter American industries from outside industries. In either case, the result is less money, as government doesn't create wealth, it uses it.
For an example of how government fails to create good jobs, see the video above.
One point that Professor Horwitz brings up is that "the story of human progress has been our ability to eliminate jobs by economizing on the scarcest resources of all, human labor, in order to make the things that we want." Another is "all technological innovation means that workers have to learn new skills and some are likely to be unemployed for a period of time. And while that unemployment is bad, the alternatives are worse. These labor transitions are the price we pay for economic progress. To prevent them would be to halt growth, innovation, and the reduction of poverty."
While much of his arguments were in defense of technology, all of them could be said the same for cheaper labor in other countries. Cheap labor and technology have the equivalent benefit in our society. Limiting either hinders our growth.
Since the 19th century, we've gone from agricultural jobs, to industrial jobs, to service jobs, to knowledge jobs. Market signals indicate what skills people should be investing in and where the new jobs of the future will be. To prevent our progress forward as a developed nation, by hindering our ability to have free trade, would be a horrible mistake.
As Pro never responded to my other arguments, such as individual freedom, innovation and competition, and dissemination of democratic values, I must assume he has conceded to these points.
In conclusion, people should not look to the government to create jobs. They should look at the free market to find out what jobs will generate the most wealth in the future. Wealth generating jobs are the jobs we need in America today, not government-generated ones.
2. I am not saying to stop exportation, just importation.
3. Though inflation may occur, more people would have jobs brought in by the new industries and agriculture. I also believe that the inflation would be temporary, eventually the farmers will get new ways of producing the crops. The increase in the sophistication of these industries would cause deflation.
4. My China comment was this:
We would continue exportation to China
We would virtually cease all importation from China
China would lose a major buyer and would start going out of business(analogy)
Consider it taking out the competion, legally
5. I am not even saying that the government should create jobs, I am just saying that the government should strongly tax imports. The government should also do a variety of other things to ENCOURAGE self dependency, like allowing the keystone pipeline. I am republican, not democrat. I am a supporter of Newt Gingrich's idea of independency.
6. There will continue to be competion, not in the world market, just in the domestic.
7. I would like to look at history for this point. In the late twenties and early thirties, the world went into a depression. Never before had that happened. The reason the entire world was affected was that trade was high. With self dependency, if China fell for some reason and went into a poor economic state, America would barely feel it. Thus, it would localize depressions.
"1. As far as farming goes, I was trying to pass the idea that people could eat home grown oranges INSTEAD of bananas. I would encourage eating only domestic goods."
Encourage all you like. You won't stop people from wanting bananas. It's ridiculous to think that people would stop eating bananas because of the false assumption that eating bananas hurts orange farmers here in America. The problem comes when you want to force it on other people, and take away their freedom of using their money on what they want.
"2. I am not saying to stop exportation, just importation."
When you say you want self-sufficiency, it means that you want to be able to have our economy based almost entirely on domestic trading. When companies in America depend on foreign trade to remain in profitable, America isn't self-sufficient. Also, when you put tariffs on imported goods, the other countries respond in return. This policy doesn't work in the real world, as I'll prove later.
"3. Though inflation may occur, more people would have jobs brought in by the new industries and agriculture. I also believe that the inflation would be temporary, eventually the farmers will get new ways of producing the crops. The increase in the sophistication of these industries would cause deflation."
You are basically taking it on faith that things will go back to normal in a fair amount of time, even as demand for more food goes up from population growth. The reality is America isn't a huge farmland. The world's arable land is much larger than just here. As a result, food will always be cheaper if the markets are open. This is especially important to help the hungry and starving.
Another problem with this idea is it prevents innovation and competition. When you take away the huge competitive world market, you take away a driving force toward new technologies and innovation that would result from America competing with these other countries. Also, without the competition, people would not be able to relate our high priced products to anything else in the world. This hurts our economy greatly.
When you put an embargo on a country, they don't take it lightly. In reality, China would not continue being a trading partner with us if we decided to try to destroy their economy. All the progress we've made in having good relations with China for the past few decades would be reversed. Taking out the competition hurts our economy too.
"5. I am not even saying that the government should create jobs, I am just saying that the government should strongly tax imports. The government should also do a variety of other things to ENCOURAGE self dependency, like allowing the keystone pipeline. I am republican, not democrat. I am a supporter of Newt Gingrich's idea of independency."
What you are trying to do is use the government's high tariffs to create domestic jobs by stopping competition, and making products more expensive. The keystone pipeline is something you are supposed to be fighting against, because it is trade with a foreign country (Canada)! This makes us more dependent on their resources in theory. Now would you consider this a bad thing? Of course not! The resources benefit us. I will get into Republican ideas in my arguments.
"6. There will continue to be competion, not in the world market, just in the domestic."
There will be competition, just much less of it. This doesn't mitigate the horrible effects it would have on the economy.
"7. I would like to look at history for this point. In the late twenties and early thirties, the world went into a depression. Never before had that happened. The reason the entire world was affected was that trade was high. With self dependency, if China fell for some reason and went into a poor economic state, America would barely feel it. Thus, it would localize depressions."
Yes, the Great Depression was felt across the world because of free trade. An alternative of a world composed of self-sufficient independent countries would have had much less prosperous and less developed. Remember, protectionism causes an inefficient allocation of resources. This is inherently bad for any group of people.
But the Great Depression is a perfect example of why your resolution does not work in the real world. "In the 1930s, many nations faced high unemployment, low production, and general economic misery. The United States was no exemption. In an effort to aid ailing American industries, Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley tariff, the highest general tariff the United States had ever had. Supporters hoped high tariffs on imported goods would increase the demand for goods produced in the United States and thus help the country out of the Great Depression. The exact opposite occurred. Other nations retaliated with high tariffs on American goods. Demand fell, intensifying the depression."(1) This is just one example of the consequences that common citizens have faced when the government limited international trade. There are many more.
Republicans and Free Trade:
You bring up that you are a Republican, and support Republican policies. I also noticed on your account, that you think "Anything from Ronald Reagans mouth is golden and is my favorite." If this is true, then you are fighting against the very things he fought for under his presidency.
The video above will explain his position on the issue.
As a result, I think you should welcome international trade and competition, and accept that it is an important driving force for economic prosperity everywhere. Ronald Reagan was a Republican that recognized the fantastic benefits of such policies. His free trade philosophy allowed the American economy to grow tremendously. If you support what he did, then you support international trade.
Pro's sole arguments for a protectionist, isolationist economy have been for more employment and to fight China. I believe I have proven that these policies have the opposite effects on employment, and even worse effects on economic growth. I also believe I have shown that China is a necessary trading partner if we are to have a strong economy today. Purposefully making China an enemy through trading tariffs is one of the worst things we could do to our growing relations with that country and our own economy.
Pro never responded to my points of individual liberty, increased competition and innovation from an international market, and dissemination of democratic values. I think these are all valid reasons to support free trade as well.
In conclusion, America should strive toward greater trade with all countries, as it could only benefit our growth as a nation. Free trade is one of the founding principles of our country, and is one of the key philosophies for almost every successful country/empire in history. With the problems that we face today, it is important to ensure our policies make us as productive and as successful as possible. I hope I have shown anyone who reads this that individual freedom can make things better.
1. Magleby, David, David O'Brien, and Paul Light. Government by the People. 22nd ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.
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