3.5.4  Free Trade

 (This is a current extract from the Patterns of Power Repository.  An archived copy of this page is held at http://www.patternsofpower.org/edition02/354.htm)

Free trade is defined in this book as countries’ ability to sell goods and services to each other without restrictions or the imposition of tariffs.  It is a contested issue.  Some people, notably including writers for The Economist magazine,[1] are enthusiastic advocates for free trade – but others bewail the changes wrought by globalisation.  Many seem to have accepted the argument that free trade has brought unprecedented prosperity to the world, yet also argue for some industries to be 'protected'.  The following sections cover the arguments for free trade (3.5.4.1), the issues raised by selective protectionism (3.5.4.2), the argument that competition from some countries is 'unfair' (3.5.4.3), the perception of globalisation as a threat to jobs and wages (3.5.4.4), and the issues preventing the freeing of trade (3.5.4.5).

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014



[1] As reported on The Economist blog on 6 September 2013, "…James Wilson founded The Economist in 1843 to campaign for free trade”; this article, which included advocacy for free trade and a reading list, was available in April 2014 at http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/09/economic-history.