The Instigator
Con (against)
2 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
12 Points

Free trade should be valued above protectionism

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/9/2011 Category: Economics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,175 times Debate No: 14728
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (3)




I would like for this debate to take place in an LD format, but it is not necessary.
If my opponent accepts this then Debate will star in round two, and the last round Con and Pro will simply state "this round is excess"for our speech
If my Opponent disagrees, then the last round will not count and we will simply have three rounds. My opponent will put "This round is excess" in the last round

Also, this part is only a request, But I would like for this to be a Value based round, i.e. the arguments are Morally/Philosophically based as opposed to Evidence/Policy based.


As my opponent requested, I will save my arguments for Round 2.
Debate Round No. 1


Obs: The resolution uses the Word "Should" when saying that Free trade should be valued above free trade, this means that in the status quo, Protectionism is valued above Free Trade, and the Con has the power of Fiat.
if Pro cannot prove Free trade is better the Con wins, if neither side can prove their stance Con wins Pro will only win if they prove that indeed, Free trade should be valued above Protectionism-

which brings me to the two point will bring up for now

1:Free Trade Benefts only he weathy-
Cheap overseas Labor, inexpensive supplies, non-subject to US labor Laws, it makes perfect sense that Big business would want to promote Free trade. However this ultimately benefits only a small numberof individuals.
A recent article from the New York Times stated that, "Our trade deficit in manufactured goods was about $4.3 trillion during the last decade, and the country lost some 5.6 million manufacturing jobs." This has substansially hurt domestic industry, and the common man. We see the trend of rich getting richer, and the por getting poorer evident in this system, which in now way supports Utilitarianism.
The NYTimes article went on to say, "most policymakers agree that the Chinese currency is grossly and deliberately undervalued, that China fails to respect intellectual property rights and that it uses government subsidies to protect its own manufacturing base. Meanwhile, the movement says, the United States does virtually nothing in response."
This has benefited only the Upper class who benefit from not having to pay high employee sallaries.

2:Free trade is bad for the common man-
According to,, Millions of good paying middle class jobs have been outsourced, and are never coming back. The reaon for this? It is cheaper, and behooves the rich.
Secondly, The millions of American workers that have lost their jobs end up being supported by the government. The truth is that we pay for American workers one way or another. Either we buy the products and services they create or we support welfare payments to them.

I will as needed present more points toward the Con side, but as of this I hand the debate over to my Pro.
I eagerly await my opponent's response.


The abandonment of self-sufficiency, through the division of labor, is the foundation of all human progress and prosperity. Just as the first divisions of labor allowed hunter-gatherer tribes to settle down, increasing the standard of living, continued division of labor created all of the prosperity and wealth that exists today. By specializing in different tasks, individuals and groups do those tasks better than people who have to create everything they want themselves. The total amount of goods and services created increases, and through trade, everyone is better off. The benefits of division of labor do not end at arbitrary, economically meaningless borders. If Alabama were to stop buying goods produced elsewhere in the United States and try to produce everything it wanted within its borders, it would obviously be poorer for doing so. The people of Alabama would be better off producing what they are best at producing, selling those goods to the rest of the United States, and then using that money to buy things that the rest of the United States is better at producing. The same is true of any country that wishes to close its borders and become self-sufficient. The borders between countries are no more economically meaningful than the borders between states. Just as individuals benefit from specializing in different things, doing those things, and then trading the proceeds of that labor for the products others produce, countries benefit from doing the same. A country "losing" jobs in a sector because of free trade is no different from a person losing potential farm work they could have done because they buy their food at the grocery store instead. If a sector of a country is hurt because of free trade, then that can only be because consumers are buying cheaper foreign products instead. If consumers are spending less money on, say, cheap plastic toys by buying them from Chinese factories rather than American factories, then they have more money to spend on other things. Resources are moved away from the cheap plastic toy sector in America, but they don't disappear, they're just reallocated into a sector that America is more efficient at.

As for the uncited claims about losses of manufacturing jobs—that figure is extremely misleading. Jobs were "lost", yes, but manufacturing output has increased. [1] How is this possible? It's because 97% of those job "losses" are the result of technological advances, not trade. [2]

Claims out outsourcing are equally wrong. US companies invest more in the tiny countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg combined than China, India, and Mexico combined. [3] Why? Because when US companies invest overseas, they do so to create products that are sold overseas. Low-wage countries like China, India, and Mexico are cheaper for production, but they also don't have as much demand for these products. That's why American investment is concentrated in high-wage Western countries.

Not only is it false that free trade hurts the poor and helps the elites, but the exact opposite is true. The groups that lobby for protectionism are often large corporations that want the government to raise their profits by protecting them from competition.

Free trade not only doesn't cost poor people their jobs, it greatly benefits low-income workers by offering them cheaper goods. Some of the sectors that free trade increases competition and thus lowers prices the most are in food and clothing. Since poor people spend a much larger % of their income than rich people, tariffs increasing the prices of these goods act as a regressive tax, disproportionately hurting the poor. [4]



[3] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, "U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Capital Outflows Without Current-Cost Adjustment, 2007," International Economic Accounts,

[4] Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries: At a Glance 2008 Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2008. Print.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent immensely for his response.

So as for a brief road-map, I'll be going directly down the last speech my opponent gave. and giving clarifications at the end

In regards to lines 1-8, "The...Borders."
+My opponent claims that he division of labor benefits mankind more and allows for people to advance in society, and allows people to create more goods; but this is a two part argument, half is fallacious, and the other is not beneficial
The first half is the one referring to societal Progression when my opponent of Human progress and Prosperity. This would indicate that the outsourcing of jobs would be beneficial and a generally good thing right? it is not. this leads to the loss of jobs and the failure of multiple economies. Take this in direct reference to the recent bail-outs; the some 5-million Americans out of work; the 1.3 trillion deficit from importing so man products from China; and need I even mention the historical example of the great depression which was a direct result of unmediated free trade?

In regards to lines 8-10 "The...Producing"
+This is Protectionism if we're dealing with the example of Alabama in context with the united states. this will actually help support the Con!

In regards to lines 10-13 "The...Same"
+ Thank you again for helping support the Con case. as with my as before with my argument on lines 8-10, this supports the Con; this is Protectionism

In regards to lines 13-16 "A...instead"
+I fail to grasp either my opponent's point here or his warrant. The con case is speaking in relation to the exporting of jobs outside the country. therefore this point is irrelevant.

In regards to lines 16-19 ""
+Finally just the point I've been eager for my opponent to make. first of all, take this scenario as an opposing scenario to my opponent's regarding buying cheep plastic toys from china, if we buy a $1.00 toy from china, we save money momentarily, but that $1.00 is permanently lost to china. where-as on the opposing if we buy a $5.00 toy from American producers we lose money momentarily, but ultimately that $5.00 is put back into the U.S. Economy. while momentarily we lose money, that money is put back into our own economy which wills away any chance of debt. on the china toy we permanantly lose $1.00 on the american toy, we Permanantly lose nothing.

In regards to lines 20-22, ""
+that's nice, we have machines and more out-put. but if the american people are not benefiting from it it won't matter, we'll see the beginning of another great depression. just like in the 1920 we'll gain over-production (1920: wheat, now:toys and products) with no money to buy it and no-one to sell it to. the stock market will crash again, and America will plummet into poverty. Cuba, Russia, and the Middle East will see their chance, bomb us an the world will end in a nuclear holocaust.

In regards to lines 23-30, "Claims...Competition"
+Extend my attacks regarding the great depression and the nuclear holocaust.

In regards to lines 31-34, "Free...Poor"
+Extend my illustration of buying a toy from china and a toy from U.S.

So in conclusion you need to vote Con to
1. Keep people from starving to death
2. Prevent the Second Great depression
3. prevent a nuclear Holocaust

I eagerly await my opponent's response.
prevent a nuclear Holocaust


My opponent failed to understand or address my main argument. If protectionism for the US was beneficial, then it would also be beneficial for a state within the US to “protect” itself from trade. And if that were beneficial, it would be beneficial for a town within that state to enact protectionist laws. There’s no economic difference between the two situations, the borders are just lines in the dirt. The reason free trade between towns and states within the US is beneficial is because even if those places can produce everything they need themselves, they can’t do it as efficiently as they can through trade. New York probably could grow oranges with greenhouses or hydroponics or something, but it would be stupid of them to try. New Yorkers are much better off specializing in what they’re best at, selling that stuff, and then using the proceeds to buy oranges from Florida, where they can be grown much more efficiently. This way, fewer resources are used up for more total goods, because resources are allocated to wherever they can be used most efficiently. Countries work the same way. We can produce cheap plastic toys here, but our resources are allocated more efficiently if we focus on pharmaceuticals and then trade. Everyone’s richer—more efficient use of resources means more total goods are created at less cost.

Great Depression: The main problem with my opponent’s argument here is that he doesn’t actually make one. Simply asserting that the Great Depression was caused by “unmediated free trade” doesn’t make it so. In fact, protectionism contributed to the severity of the Great Depression. If it actually saved jobs, one would expect the rate of job loss to decline after the high Smoot-Hawley tariff was enacted during the Depression, but, instead, it increased.

Nuclear Holocaust: This argument is just too absurd. I’m not even sure where to begin. Again, simply asserting something doesn’t make it so. Claims, especially extreme claims, must be backed up with evidence and reason. This one is not. Not only is it silly to think that free trade could lead to war, but it is actually protectionism that makes war more likely. Because of trade, the US and China are very economically dependent on each other. This makes war much less likely, because each side has much more to lose by starting a war. Citizens and businesses will be much more resistant to war if war means losing buyers for their exported products, or losing their ability to buy cheap imports that they need to run their business.
Debate Round No. 3


After having debated this Topic all semester, I would like to assure my opponent that I do indeed understand, and that I have addressed my opponent's argument's greatly.

going on

In regards to lines 1-12 "My...cost"
+There is indeed a huge difference first of all, that being they are the same people and the money spent ill be pumped directly back into the economy. an argument my opponent does not touch from the Con stance.
+ Second there is protectionism among cities and states, take the american school system for example, in order to protect teachers and tax payers, Children are legally obligate to attend the schools in their own district,, this is protectionism

In regards to lines 13-16 "Great...increased"
+My opponent claims my attack should drop because it makes no sense, this argument will drop as I have indeed provided substantial proof in my last speech, and I will also provide further evidence

Herbert Hoover, President at the time strongly advocated free trade. He very much so emphasized low governmental interference in business practices. even described Hoover as the "Do nothing president"
Hoover was so against Government interference in business that he even gave food to starving animals before he did the starving American people because he believed that it would lower the American will to work if he gave handouts.
Because of free trade, Banks and businesses spend money they didn't have on stocks. Directly leading to the stock market crash. There where
The 20th century: the 1930's- the great depression
+In regard to my opponent's attack regarding the Smoot-Hawley tariff, this only Harmed America because of the the harm the Free trade instigated first (refer to my point prior)

In regards to lines 17-22
+ My opponent claims that I have no warrant, however if you will refer to my prior speech, all the arguments preceding this claim are the warrants. If not for this site's character limit, I would simply copy/paste the points my opponent has over looked

I eagerly await my opponent's response.


Contrary to my opponent’s claims, the people in New York and Florida are not the same people. Points about the money “being pumped back into the economy” are irrelevant, as my argument showed that free trade is beneficial to both sides regardless of what later happens to the money. My argument would be sound even if after New York and Florida traded, the money wasn’t pumped back into those two states, but into the other 48 states.

My opponent then claims that public schools are an example of protectionism. While this is an interesting argument, it really doesn’t help his case. His argument is not that protectionism exists, but that it is beneficial. Even if one believes that our public school system is a stunning success (lol), Con has done nothing to support this claim, so this in no way shows the success of protectionism.

Con claims that Hoover “strongly advocated free trade.” However, he fails to explain why someone who is supposedly so in favor of free trade signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff. Furthermore, contrary to the anonymous forum post my opponent uses as a source, Hoover was in no way a “do-nothing president.” He was, in fact, the most interventionist president in history at his time. A better example of a do-nothing president would be Harding, who presided over the Depression of 1920. Why haven’t you heard of that depression? Because thanks to Harding’s response to it (free trade, lower taxes, cutting spending, and the Fed raising interest rates) the depression was over in 12 months, even though the initial crash was about as severe as the 1929 crash. [1]

Hoover, on the other hand, favored heavy government intervention. His deficits, as a percentage of GDP, were as high as Reagan’s infamously large deficit spending. [2] He interfered in the labor market to keep wages high and invested in public works projects. [2] In fact, Hoover was so interventionist that even FDR, during his 1932 campaign, attacked him for his reckless spending and out of control deficits [3]

My opponent admits that the Smoot-Hawley tariff harmed America, but states that this is only so because of the damage free trade had previously done. This, of course, begs the question of how, if free trade is bad and protectionism is good, replacing free trade with protectionism could possibly be harmful.

As for Con’s nuclear attack argument, I did not overlook his claims, and I did not say that he didn’t make an argument. I merely pointed out that it was a bad argument, and that it is actually protectionism that leads to war.



[3] Samuel I. Rosenman, ed., The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt (New York: Random House, 1938), I, 648.

Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by LaissezFaire 3 years ago
Posted by Cobo 3 years ago
Whoa, i just read this, but False dillema, anyone?
Posted by Walrasian_Equilibrium 4 years ago
Best non sequitur ever
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 4 years ago
Yes, mother Russia has been waiting for this day for a long time. Once America is weakened by Capitalism, she shall strike!
Posted by J.Kenyon 4 years ago
"America will plummet into poverty. Cuba, Russia, and the Middle East will see their chance, bomb us an the world will end in a nuclear holocaust."

Posted by Cliff.Stamp 4 years ago
In regards to lines 8-10 "The...Producing"
+This is Protectionism if we're dealing with the example of Alabama in context with the united states. this will actually help support the Con!

Note this is very difficult to read.
Posted by LaissezFaire 4 years ago
The idea is to remind people to leave an RFD. Maybe keep the box there, but post the text to the comments section instead.
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 4 years ago
Btw, I think it's easier for everyone to leave RFD's in the comment section. The voter box is kind of hidden from the rest of the conversation it seems...
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 4 years ago
Just a quick point:

The depression of 21' did not turn around until after the Fed began loosening up the money supply.
Posted by Dakota-Hiltzman 4 years ago
@dinokill yes >.< yes, it's pretty awful
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by darkkermit 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con made no argument that was backed up by any evidence. PRO however uses historical evidence, economics, and superior logic over CON. CON's rebuttals were more of a lack of understanding then a dispute over facts.
Vote Placed by SuperRobotWars 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Well Con did use more resources, pro made much more convincing arguments.
Vote Placed by TheAtheistAllegiance 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro obviously had more cogent arguments, along with less spelling and grammatical mistakes and a better layout. Con relied too heavily on unsubstantiated claims and flawed reasoning. Both Pro and Con used a similar amount of sources, with both sets being mostly biased, so I gave it a tie.