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One final reason why economists often treat the national interest argument    skeptically is that almost any product can be touted by lobbyists and politicians as vital to national security. In 1954, the United States became worried that it was importing half of the wool required for military uniforms, so it declared wool and mohair to be “strategic materials” and began to give subsidies to wool and mohair farmers. Although wool was removed from the official list of “strategic” materials in 1960, the subsidies for mohair continued for almost 40 years until they were repealed in 1993, and then were reinstated in 2002. All too often, the national interest argument has become an excuse for handing out the indirect subsidy of protectionism to certain industries or companies. After all, decisions about what constitutes a key strategic material are made by politicians, not nonpartisan analysts.

Key concepts and summary

There are a number of arguments that support restricting imports. These arguments are based around industry and competition, environmental concerns, and issues of safety and security.

The infant industry argument for protectionism is that small domestic industries need to be temporarily nurtured and protected from foreign competition for a time so that they can grow into strong competitors. In some cases, notably in East Asia, this approach has worked. Often, however, the infant industries never grow up. On the other hand, arguments against dumping (which is setting prices below the cost of production to drive competitors out of the market), often simply seem to be a convenient excuse for imposing protectionism.

Low-income countries typically have lower environmental standards than high-income countries because they are more worried about immediate basics such as food, education, and healthcare. However, except for a small number of extreme cases, shutting off trade seems unlikely to be an effective method of pursuing a cleaner environment.

Finally, there are arguments involving safety and security. Under the rules of the World Trade Organization, countries are allowed to set whatever standards for product safety they wish, but the standards must be the same for domestic products as for imported products and there must be a scientific basis for the standard. The national interest argument for protectionism holds that it is unwise to import certain key products because if the nation becomes dependent on key imported supplies, it could be vulnerable to a cutoff. However, it is often wiser to stockpile resources and to use foreign supplies when available, rather than preemptively restricting foreign supplies so as not to become dependent on them.

Problems

You have just been put in charge of trade policy for Malawi. Coffee is a recent crop that is growing well and the Malawian export market is developing. As such, Malawi coffee is an infant industry. Malawi coffee producers come to you and ask for tariff protection from cheap Tanzanian coffee. What sorts of policies will you enact? Explain.

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The country of Pepperland exports steel to the Land of Submarines. Information for the quantity demanded (Qd) and quantity supplied (Qs) in each country, in a world without trade, are given in [link] and [link] .

Pepperland
Price ($) Qd Qs
60 230 180
70 200 200
80 170 220
90 150 240
100 140 250
Land of submarines
Price ($) Qd Qs
60 430 310
70 420 330
80 410 360
90 400 400
100 390 440
  1. What would be the equilibrium price and quantity in each country in a world without trade? How can you tell?
  2. What would be the equilibrium price and quantity in each country if trade is allowed to occur? How can you tell?
  3. Sketch two supply and demand diagrams, one for each country, in the situation before trade.
  4. On those diagrams, show the equilibrium price and the levels of exports and imports in the world after trade.
  5. If the Land of Submarines imposes an anti-dumping import quota of 30, explain in general terms whether it will benefit or injure consumers and producers in each country.
  6. Does your general answer change if the Land of Submarines imposes an import quota of 70?
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References

Kohut, Andrew, Richard Wike, and Juliana Horowitz. “The Pew Global Attitudes Project.” Pew Research Center . Last modified October 4, 2007. http://www.pewglobal.org/files/pdf/258.pdf.

Lutz, Hannah. 2015. “U.S. Auto Exports Hit Record in 2014.” Automotive News. Accessed April 1, 2015. http://www.autonews.com/article/20150206/OEM01/150209875/u.s.-auto-exports-hit-record-in-2014.

Questions & Answers

what is the cause of a country's population
Destiny Reply
what is producer surplus
Destiny Reply
is the excess earns btn wat a producer was willing to charge for e commodity and wat actually receives after selling it
rivan
OK good
Destiny
yeap
Bright
what is supply curve
Destiny Reply
are curve that do not obey the law of supply eg aren't +ve
rivan
half of 1%
Destiny
as in what do u mean by that
rivan
it simply shows the quantity of goods that a film is willing to supply at each price of a commodity
Destiny
OK what is the law of supply as u said
Destiny
It is the indifference curve that indicates the aggregate responsiveness of supply to the price of a commodity, and sometimes its demand of that same commodity.
Gh
nice
Destiny
pls explain how indifference curve connects to the aggregate responsiveness of supply to the price of a commodity
JOSHUA
law of supply according to me states that wen thea z higher price of commodity, the higher will be the supply and lower the supply will be for a commodity other factors remain constant
rivan
Joshua be clear to your QN plizzz
rivan
pls read Gh's comment and break down for me
JOSHUA
may be he can explain more because am am also not getting what he was meaning in that statement
rivan
plizzz GH explain to us
rivan
When demand and supply intersection
Pronoy
then it z called what
rivan
what is consumers surplus
Destiny Reply
is a difference btn consumers planned expenditure and actual experience on the commodity
rivan
OK good
Destiny
What exactly are factors that affects Demand and Supply?
Chandrapaul Reply
demand factors price o commodity size o population level o advertising season 4 commodity testes and preferences price o other related commodity level o consumers income government policy on taxation
rivan
supply factors general price level natural factor level o taxation technology political climate cost o production number o producers aggregate demand working conditions
rivan
yea___ Demographical psychographical geographical factors also account for determination of demand and supply
Gh
definition of economics
Emmanuel Reply
economics means to manage the limited resources one has in order to maximize satisfaction.
sekou
Economic is a science which study of human behavior as a relationship between and scare means which have alternative uses"
Jacob
what is price elasticity of supply
Destiny Reply
What is the law of demand and supply
Destiny
This is when there is a greater percentage change in the supply of commodities as per the percentage change in price. More producers tend to supply more when there is a higher change in the price of commodities and vice versa when price drops.
Gh
this seems to explain making decisions on the margins very clearly
JOSHUA Reply
what are the importance of studying Economics ?
Amoako Reply
Economization
Zeleman
to relate economic principles to the problems o development. exposes students to e future. acquire knowledge. etc ....
rivan
it teaches how to make choice and decisions in our homes and every across the nation
Destiny
what is price elasticity of supply
Destiny
five definition of economic s
Emmanuel
what is monopoly
Baku Reply
is a structure where one seller of a commodity has no close substitute with very many buyers
rivan
tanx
Baku
a market structure where a particular good has no close substitutes
Koushik
examples railways
Shashank
is one man business where there is no competetor/competetion and vice versa
Destiny
what is income elasticity of demand.
kwagala Reply
percentage change in quantity demanded/percentage change in income
Koushik
or is the measure of degree of responsiveness o quality demanded o the commodity to change in the income of consumer
rivan
percentage change in quantity ÷ percentage change in income
Baku
it the percentage change in quantity over percentage in surply
Destiny
the percentage change in quantity over percentage change in income at the end of the day's work done
Destiny
what is medium
Chinedu Reply
what is medium in terms of economics
Chinedu
as u mean medium of exchange or just as a word
rivan
Your question is not clear @Chinedu. In economics medium is often used in relation to time e.g medium term. So you need to be more specific on which medium you mean. Otherwise it "medium" means what it means everywhere else.
elizabeth
what is medium of exchange
JOSHUA
What is the difference between inferior goods and complementary goods
Bernard Reply
inferior goods are goods whose demand reduces as consumers income increases
rivan
while complementary goods are goods which are jointly demand
rivan
Wow thanks
Bernard
you are welcome
rivan
define the term derived demand
rivan Reply
anyone to help with QN
rivan
situation in which a product is acquired not for it's sake but to help in the production of other goods. for example we say labour has a derived demand becos labour services is required to help in the production of other goods and services.
PETER
The Market equilibrium quantity is___ tons of bolts, the socailly optimal quantity of bolt production is ____ tons
Jackie Reply
please what are the key principles of Economics?
Amoako

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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