Free trade

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search

Free trade is a policy followed by some international markets in which countries' governments do not restrict imports from, or exports to, other countries. Free trade is exemplified by the European Economic Area and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which have established open markets. Most nations are today members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) multilateral trade agreements. However, most governments still impose some protectionist policies that are intended to support local employment, such as applying tariffs to imports or subsidies to exports. Governments may also restrict free trade to limit exports of natural resources. Other barriers that may hinder trade include import quotas, taxes, and non-tariff barriers, such as regulatory legislation.

Quotes[edit]

Trade is simply too important for economic development to be left to free trade economists. — Ha-Joon Chang
Behind their fluffy rhetoric about free trade and free markets lurks a hostility toward freedom for ordinary people — and a love affair with police and prisons. — David McNally
  • The US is sort of the flag-bearer for capitalism and free markets, the US continues to be a very important part of a global industry that is interconnected, that is dealing with a fungible commodity which is crude oil. So having equalisation through free trade is very healthy for oil.
  • Inflation is being used as an excuse to destroy free trade union bargaining.
    • Tony Benn Speech in the House of Commons (Hansard, 7 November 1973, Col. 1015).
  • If soldiers are not to cross international boundaries, goods must do so. Unless shackles can be dropped from trade, bombs will be dropped from the sky.
    • Otto T. Mallery, "Economic Union and Enduring Peace," Annals 216 (July 1941): 125-134; p. 125.
  • Almost all of today's rich countries used tariff protection and subsidies to develop their industries. Interestingly, Britain and the USA, the two countries that are supposed to have reached the summit of the world economy through their free-market, free-trade policy, are actually the ones that had most aggressively used protection and subsidies.
Ha-Joon Chang, Kicking Away the Ladder, post-autistic economics review, issue no. 15, 1 September 2002, article 3
  • Britain and the US are not the homes of free trade; in fact, for a long time they were the most protectionist countries in the world. Not all countries have succeeded through protection and subsidies, but few have done so without them. For developing countries, free trade has a rarely been a matter of choice; it was often an imposition from outside, sometimes even through military power. Most of them did very poorly under free trade; they did much better when they used protection and subsidies. The best-performing economies have been those that opened up their economies selectively and gradually. Neo-liberal free-trade free-market policy claims to sacrifice equity for growth, but in fact it achieves neither; growth has slowed down in the past two and a half decades when markets were freed and borders opened.
  • As South Korea shows, active participation in international trade does not require free trade. Indeed, had South Korea pursued free trade and not promoted infant industries, it would not have become a major trading nation. It would still be exporting raw materials (e.g., tungsten ore, fish, seaweed) or low-technology, low-price products (e.g., textiles, garments, wigs made with human hair) that used to be its main export items in the 1960s.
  • The importance of international trade for economic development cannot be overemphasized. But free trade is not the best path to economic development. Trade helps economic development only when the country employs a mixture of protection and open trade, constantly adjusting it according to its changing needs and capabilities. Trade is simply too important for economic development to be left to free trade economists.
  • Free Trade! What is it? Why, breaking down the barriers that separate nations; those barriers, behind which nestle the feelings of pride, revenge, hatred, and jealousy, which every now and then burst their bounds, and deluge whole countries with blood; those feelings which nourish the poison of war and conquest, which assert that without conquest we can have no trade, which foster that lust for conquest and dominion which sends forth your warrior chiefs to scatter devastation through other lands, and then calls them back that they may be enthroned securely in your passions, but only to harass and oppress you at home.
  • Never was the military spirit half so rampant in this country since 1815 as at the present time. Look at the news from Rangoon...This makes 5400 persons killed by our ships in the East during the last five years, without our having lost one man by the butcheries. Now give me Free Trade as the recognized policy of all parties in this country, and I will find the best possible argument against these marauding atrocities.
    • Richard Cobden, 'How Wars are got up in India' (1853), The Political Writings of Richard Cobden (1903), pp. 457-8.
  • If I were five-and-twenty or thirty, instead of, unhappily, twice that number of years, I would take Adam Smith in hand—I would not go beyond him, I would have no politics in it—I would take Adam Smith in hand, and I would have a League for free trade in Land just as we had a League for free trade in Corn. You will find just the same authority in Adam Smith for the one as for the other; and if it were only taken up as it must be taken up to succeed, not as a political, revolutionary, Radical, Chartist notion, but taken up on politico-economic grounds, the agitation would be certain to succeed; and if you apply free trade in land and to labour too—that is, by getting rid of those abominable restrictions in your parish settlements, and the like—then, I say, the men who do that will have done for England probably more than we have been able to do by making free trade in corn.
    • Richard Cobden, Speech at Rochdale (23 November, 1864). — John Bright and J. E. Thorold Rogers (eds.), Speeches on Questions of Public Policy by Richard Cobden, M.P. Volume II (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1908), p. 493.
  • Free trade consists simply in letting people buy and sell as they want to buy and sell. It is protection that requires force, for it consists in preventing people from doing what they want to do. Protective tariffs are as much applications of force as are blockading squadrons, and their object is the same—to prevent trade. The difference between the two is that blockading squadrons are a means whereby nations seek to prevent their enemies from trading; protective tariffs are a means whereby nations attempt to prevent their own people from trading. What protection teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.
  • If Boeing got a big head start on the 707 from multibillion-dollar military contracts to develop an air force transport, is that a sin against free trade?
  • We are already well down the road toward a managed-trade regime. It would be far better to acknowledge that reality, and seek a set of reasonable rules, than to pretend that Ricardian trade is the norm and allow mercantilist states to overwhelm U.S. industry and ratchet down wages, in the name of free trade.
  • The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program, all we see it, is this: [...]
    3. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about: