Protectionism and Plunder

I touched on the trading policy of “protectionism” in my last post, but I wanted something a little longer to explain it. So my economically obsessed gifted friend was kind enough to oblige. So without further ado here is Protectionism and Plunder from Tyler Coleman…

protectionism plunder

Undoubtedly, many of you whom turn the television on in the evening after a long, hard days’ worth of work to watch the news will have heard annoying pundits and irritating politicians decrying the state of affairs within the country and the world, laying blame at the feet of many. Specifically, you will have heard of pundits and politicians bemoaning the actions of specific businesses and corporations for their selfish pricing on goods or their poor treatment of workers and the like. And yet, these same people are often times among the responsible for enacting policies that act to the detriment of workers and business alike, though they may do so with good intentions.

To give an example of such “well-intentioned” policies, consider the economic mantra of Protectionism. Protectionism is the art of using the power of government to dissuade foreign firms and business from selling goods and services into our country to be bought and used by us the citizen. The government might blockade such commerce through the use of various measures; most notably tariffs and restrictions on how much of a good(s) a firm can sell in the country (quantitative restrictions on imports). Protectionists seek to restrict foreign trade in order to benefit industries within our country, whatever these supposed benefits may be.

Every time the government chooses to pursue a policy that is “well-intentioned”, it always carries along with it unintended consequences that harm the rest of us. Protectionism is nothing more than another form of socialism, except it is the average citizen at large who is being robbed of their well-earned money to be given to the few. As the government dissuades foreign competition, the citizens are left either paying a higher price for an inefficient piece of domestic product that reaches nowhere near the quality or price of foreign product, or pay a higher price for the quality foreign product that is truly desired. The citizen at large is the object that is to be robbed. The forces of government join with poorly-managed business at home to force citizens into buying goods and services that they deem worthy, all in the name of “protection”. A more proper name for Protectionism should be armed robbery or thievery.

And what of this argument about tariffs boosting employment here at home? I say that is a half-truth at best. Suppose the government chooses to levy a tariff on cheap steel imports from some foreign country. It is true that employment in American steel will increase, but only at a cost paid by American manufacturers and the consumer. American manufacturers, whom are reliant on those cheap steel imports for manufacturing, will be forced to buy lower quality American steel for a higher price. In a nutshell, this means American manufacturing has less money to pay wages and invest, less employment, increased costs of production, and thus, increased prices on finished goods. The net result is higher burdens placed on the citizen and American manufacturing not nearly as productive as it could be. This is merely the government attempting to re-arrange the activities of citizens to its own “well-intentioned” whims, while making American industry less efficient and less productive.

Politicians with good intentions are often times the ones responsible for the reality they condemn as immoral. Perhaps they should take their good intentions and leave everyone else alone. People are not lab rats to be socially engineered.

 

 

 

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