Discussion: Absolute and Comparative Advantage

Respond to the following prompts in a post with a minimum of 250 words, then comment on at least TWO other posts. Respond to the posts indicating your agreement or disagreement with their position and why. Feel free to bring in additional references to these reply posts.

Many opponents of free trade use the following example to illustrate its negative effects:

Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6AM. While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA). After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) filled it with gas from SAUDI ARABIA and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB. At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day he checked email on his computer (MADE IN MALAYSIA) then decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered WHY he can’t find a good-paying job in America.

Discussion

  • Should America encourage free trade with its trading partners or seek a more protectionist approach? Take a stand on this issue. It is not enough to argue BOTH sides of the issue. Support your opinion with good economic reasoning. Who benefits from your approach and who loses? Why? Include impacts on both American citizens and the citizens of the other countries with whom we (U.S.) trade. If your home country is outside the U.S. indicate the possible impact of your stand (favoring either free trade or trade protectionism) on your country. Some common search topics include employment, tariffs, quotas, and free trade agreements.
  • Find a recent news article or editorial (past 12 months) that supports your point of view. Summarize the article, indicate how it supports your answer to #1, and include the URL.