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Why protectionism doesn't work

Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
While I can understand the US position needing time to restructure, I doubt its worth it if it will create such a tarriff war.
--Mark
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http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2003/11/11/nations_demand_us_drop_steel_duties/
Nations demand U.S. drop steel duties
By Naomi Koppel, Associated Press Writer, 11/11/2003
GENEVA -- European and Asian countries joined together Tuesday to demand that the United States drop its duties on imported steel or face the possibility of billions of dollars in retaliation against products ranging from oranges to Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
There is this idea that free trade benefits all in the long run. The cheapest producer does the work. So if first country says that emmission of sulfur most be below 250 parts per billion in the exhaust stack and second country says it must be below 2500 parts per billion, is the second country necessarily the cheapest producer? Does the law take these issues into consideration? Or does the market really force all producers who can't meet some least common denominator out of business?
US steel has certain standards for pollution, worker safety and corporate accounting. I have seen a lot of steel from India and China in my recent shopping experience. Recent google searches have shown that India and China are very polluted places. In reality, free trade is an exportation of work to places where some hidden costs are ignored.
While the EU and the Japanese are screaming the loudest at the US at the moment, are they really screaming at the problem?
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Well that is true in principle, given that the US was one of the only (if not the only) major nations not to sign the Kyoto Accords, I don't think arguing environment concerns is something we can do with a straight face--well, not as a nation anyway, the Bush administration is full of straight men.
--Mark
Joe King
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
To me it is a bit hypocritical of the US to be saying at one moment "You're either with us or against us" and "Come join us as our friends and allies" and then the next moment slap on illegal tariffs. The funny thing is that Bush doesnt seem to realise that he's the diplomatic equivalent of a bull in a china shop.
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Well that is true in principle, given that the US was one of the only (if not the only) major nations not to sign the Kyoto Accords, I don't think arguing environment concerns is something we can do with a straight face--well, not as a nation anyway, the Bush administration is full of straight men.
--Mark

Rufus was talking China and India. I think both where excluded from Kyoto to begin with. I also don't think you can hold Kyoto Accords up as some kind of shining example.
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Joe King:
To me it is a bit hypocritical of the US to be saying at one moment "You're either with us or against us" and "Come join us as our friends and allies" and then the next moment slap on illegal tariffs. The funny thing is that Bush doesnt seem to realise that he's the diplomatic equivalent of a bull in a china shop.

Absolutely. Just as it is "a bit hypocritical" for France to claim vast injury over US policies which are less protectionist than normal French policies which have been in place for 30+ years.
The important point about the US Steel tariffs is that they represent a change in US trade policy. Not that they are uniquely terrible, they are not. Virtually every other 'rich' country and many poorer ones practice the same and worse....


SCJP1.4, SCWCD
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

While the EU and the Japanese are screaming the loudest at the US at the moment, are they really screaming at the problem?

Yes. The US is invariably the problem. Has been since 1898 at the latest.
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
given that the US was one of the only (if not the only) major nations not to sign the Kyoto Accords

US voters love their SUVs and don't care about global warming so why join Kyoto. Bush administration, Chenney aka Mr. Bechtel, loves nuclear power but the voters don't. I expect a joint resolution from congress any day now outlawing or at least condemming gravity.
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

US voters love their SUVs and don't care about global warming so why join Kyoto. Bush administration, Chenney aka Mr. Bechtel, loves nuclear power but the voters don't. I expect a joint resolution from congress any day now outlawing or at least condemming gravity.

Kyoto has a few defects in conception, fairness, and results.
Conception: The concept of tying emissions targets to countries rather than population (among the developed nations) penalizes countries whose population is growing rather than shrinking (the US and UK). Kyoto doesn't allow for strategies other than carbon-emissions reduction aimed at reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (whether biological or technical). Moreover with current technology, implementation of the Kyoto treaty would require economic contraction in the developed countries of between 10 and 25% to meet it's targets. I.E. The worst global depression since the 30's. I therefore regard ratification of the Kyoto treaty as the purest cynicism or the equivalent of a treaty fixing the value of Pi at 3.0.....
Fairness: Kyoto specifies a baseline year of 1990. That year the US was in recession (relatively low emissions) and Europe was experiencing an economic boom (relatively high emissions). The US therefore would be required to cut radically from a lower base level than the European countries would. Let's not forget that the Kyoto treaty does not apply at all to countries like China, Russia, and other counties outside of the developed nations. Where pollution levels are far worse than in the developed world.
Results: Kyoto is projected to delay the onset of a specific level of global warming by 6 years. If one ignores the unintended consequences of inducing a deep global depression, it is not a solution.
The treaty could 'work' at the cost of inducing another Great Depression, as factory emissions in the US during 1932 were undoubtably much lower than emissions in 1928 or 29.... Shutting down entire steelmaking complexes (like Sparrows Point in Baltimore) will tend to have that effect.
Until low-emissions technologies such as fuel-cells are perfected and made readily affordable, radically reducing emissions by treaty will only work by inducing depressions. Making the world poorer will have the paradoxical effect of slowing the adoption of the new technologies when they are perfected. A poorer world won't be able to afford to invest at the same rate as a rich world.
Belief in Kyoto is the modern equivalent of the Flat Earth Society.
[ November 12, 2003: Message edited by: Alfred Neumann ]
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Rufus doesn't care about Kyoto. If he did he would complain about it not getting ratified under Clinton/Gore.
Like you said Alfred it is a bad plan.
Rufus BugleWeed
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
Bolderdash. I'm all for sensistivity to the environment. If China and India are not going to participate then could one deny it was not much of even a first start? After all the two countries must represent at least 33% of the worlds population. I read Sunday in the NYT that India is expected to surpass China in 2050 as the worlds most populace country.
I suppose that my point is that while Mark's assertion that protectionism does not work could be true, free trade does not work either.
Al Newman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:
Bolderdash. <...>
I suppose that my point is that while Mark's assertion that protectionism does not work could be true, free trade does not work either.

Bolderdash?!!!
Do you believe that what we have now is Free Trade? I rather doubt that the developing world would agree with that, particularly in reference to US farm supports and the EU Common Agricultural Policy....
 
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