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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official list of “strategic” materials in 1960, the subsidies for mohair continued for almost 40 years until they were repealed in 1993, and then were reinstated in 2002.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

explain the relation between short run average cost and short run marginal costs
VICKY Reply
explain the relation between short run average cost and short run marginal cost
VICKY
explain the relation between short run average cost and short run marginal cost
VICKY
explain the relation between short run average cost and short run marginal cost
VICKY
briefly state the reasons for downwards sloping demand curve ?
The Reply
taste and preference
Fabian
if John was given $10, he would spend none of it on tuna fish.But when asked, he claims to be indifferent between receiving $10 worth of tuna and a $ 10 bill.How could this be?
oliva Reply
Autonomous free demand
sadiq
What is illustrates?
Anik Reply
things to do first as a manager when contacted to create a jewelry inventory system
Moses Reply
what is monopoly
Kadar Reply
in monopoly there in only one producer of the product and there in no substitute of that product in the market .The producer is price maker .
Devendra
mono means single and poly means seller. so a single seller controls the entire market of a particular product. He is the price maker..
premkumar
if x decreases and y decreases what slope is it
Elda Reply
what is duopoly
Femi Reply
it's a state where two people control over a market...
Okonkwo
great
jean-renel
why ppf is downward
Ahmad Reply
i didn't understand
Fatima
The PPF is downward because it shows the the unequal opportunity cost ratios existing in the allocation of resources in the production of two major goods/services in a given economy
Elvis
due to opportunity cost.
samson
this is because goods are sacrifice for the production of the other.
Avuwada
Weldon question and good answer . in my opinion when you allocate some more resources for production of one good among two.
Azizullah
any one what is the difference between need and want?
Azizullah
need is neccesory but want is temporary...
hemanth
any idea about green leadership
ghalib
trends in microeconomics
JOSEPH Reply
Worked out examples of calculating the elasticity of supply
Black Reply
briefly describe the term business cycle
Linda Reply
these are the different economic trends observed by an economy at a given time period. we have the slump,recession, recovery and boom
Betole
saran has decided always spend one 4th income on his clothes what is income elasticity of demand in hindi
Saba Reply
income elasticity is 4
Avuwada
what is diminishing returns?
diminishing returns states that as more variable in put is bing employed on a fixed factor marginal product increase attains maximum and falls certeris paribus.
Avuwada
The law of diminishing returns is the a phenomenon that happens when you gain less satisfaction or in another word less marginal utility when you keep on consuming the same thing over and over again. The more you have of something the less desirable it becomes .
sassia
My first post was about the law of diminishing marginal utility, it was meant for another post .
sassia
however to be precise the law of diminishing returns is used to refer to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.
sassia
or you can refer to the text it is mentioned that: "the law of diminishing returns    , which holds that as additional increments of resources are added to a certain purpose, the marginal benefit from those additional increments will decline. "
sassia
Diminishing returns states that when more and more variable inputs are being employed on a fixed input, total product and marginal product increases initially attains maximum and falls (certeris paribus) .
Avuwada
What is monopoly
benzi Reply
nothing
Its when one firm controls the entire market and is the price setter
aaa

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Source:  OpenStax, Microeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11627/1.10
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