How to understand “Trade Liberalization and Economic Development”

In the discipline of anthropology the study of economics becomes very broad. We tend to think of any behavior that results in people sustaining themselves as economic behavior, so modes of subsistence from food foraging to agriculture are considered kinds of economies. Then there’s the classic anthropology of symbolic exchange like gift giving, acquiring social status, and trading political favors – those are also economic behaviors. As contemporary anthropology has grown to take more of the modern world as its subject matter globalization has become one of the defining topics and, of course, that has to include concerns that are more in tune with what you’d get in an economics course.

I have assigned a very short piece, “Trade Liberalization and Economic Development” that touches on some of the most important concerns of our globalizing world. Unfortunately it is written in heiroglyphics. Its so full of jargon you may find yourself reading it multiple times (it doesn’t take long) and its meaning still escaping you. Here I’ll try to walk you through some of the major points.

Liberalization?
Does the title of this piece seem odd to you? “Liberalization” is not be a word that you would use in ordinary speech, but it is made up of word parts you should recognize. Those first five letters, ‘liber,’ come from the Latin word for freedom, as in liberty.

Our idea of liberty as a political concept comes out of the Age of Enlightenment and refers to to individual and collective rights that were to be preserved regardless of the will of the king. We in the United States live in a “liberal democracy” and here ‘liber’ refers to a free democracy where citizens elect their leaders. And if you remember your American history then recall that the nation was founded not only on the principles of individual liberties but also “market liberalism.” Here ‘liber’ refers to a market free from taxes and tariffs.

This meaning is closest to the market liberalization in the article’s title, also known as free market capitalism, or neoliberalism. There are other, alternative forms of capitalism. Social capitalism is an economy where resources are redistributed from the most successful to the least. And managed or regulated capitalism is one where the government plays a leading role in directing or restraining certain aspects of the market. Neoliberal capitalism appears to be an economic form that is on the rise. If you keep up with current events you may have heard some of its critics arguing that the current economic crisis is a result of insufficient regulation, while its proponents continue to push for lower taxes and less stringent market regulations.

Comparative advantage
In the first subheading of the article the authors give a brief overview of Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage and give an esoteric example referencing a trade deal between England and Portugal from the 1800s. What are they talking about? Let’s consider an example that’s closer to home.

Loggers in the Pacific Northwest – Oregon, Washington – cut down trees. Those trees are then loaded onto huge cargo vessels that cross the Pacific Ocean. In China the trees are unloaded off the ships and taken to mills where Chinese workers process the raw materials into lumber. The finished lumber is loaded back onto cargo vessels that ship them to the United States. Back in the U.S. that finished product is unloaded and delivered to Home Depot and Lowes where you can buy them as 2x4s, or whatever.

As counter-intuitive as it might seem the above transaction is only possible because of comparative advantage. The cost of shipping raw materials from the U.S. to China and back to the U.S. plus the cost of Chinese labor is less than the cost of hiring American workers to turn trees into lumber. The benefit of this arrangement (and these is true for all imports: clothing is a big one, just look at the label of the shirt you’re wearing) is that American consumers can buy less expensive commodities and the companies that sell those commodities gain higher profits. The downside of this arrangement is that all those jobs are now overseas.

Cost of Chinese labor + shipping to and from China < Cost of American labor
=In this example China has a comparative advantage relative to the U.S. for manual labor.

Value added commodities
In the last paragraph on the first page the authors state that there is a fundamental difference between developing economies, such as those in Latin America or Africa, and a developed economy like the United States. These are the very nations that proponents of international trades say they want to help through the lifting of market restrictions. What is the basis of this difference? Typically these developing economies produce “primary products” for export that the developed world can import cheaply and then turn into value added commodities. Let me elaborate.

Think about coffee. How much do you think a farmer growing coffee beans in Colombia makes? Pennies, right. That’s because his beans are green and you can’t make coffee from green beans. So a merchant goes around to all the farms and buys up all the green beans. The merchant can sell these to an exporting company for slightly more. The exporting company loads them on a ship and sails up to New Orleans where the coffee is sold to companies like Proctor and Gambles. P&G takes those tons of green beans, roasts them and grinds them, and puts them in a can. Now you’ve got Folgers and it can be sold in a grocery store for slightly more money. Or Starbucks buys them, processes them and ships them to their retail outlets where you can pay up to five dollars for a cup of coffee.

That’s a value added commodity. In each step of the chain value is added to the commodity’s worth by processing it and making it into a more desirable product that can be sold for more money. What good are green coffee beans if you need to wake up? None, they’re useless. You need a cup of coffee so that product is more valuable. What good is a cow if you’re hungry? None. You need a Big Mac. You need a cow that’s been slaughtered, butchered, ground, made into a patty, cooked and served at McDonald’s. To a hungry person a cow is worthless, an actual hamburger is valuable.

NAFTA as an example of free market capitalism
The North American Free Trade Agreement, negotiated by the first President Bush and signed into law by President Clinton, is a kind of neoliberal trade deal like the ones that the authors in this article are criticizing. Mexico and Canada are the United State’s biggest trading partners and NAFTA has had tremendous impact on all three nation’s economies.

Formerly the Mexican economy was one based on import substitution, which works against comparative advantage. Rather than import cheap commodities, Mexican consumers paid more for domestically produced ones. The result is slower economic growth but with the perception of greater independence stemming from self-sufficiency. (I say “perception” because the Mexican, Canadian, and American economies are all interdependent. We all rely on each other.) In the lumber example above, if the U.S. stopped exporting trees to China and returned to milling lumber in Oregon that would among to import substitution.

In an ideal world NAFTA was supposed to remove this constraint on the Mexican economy and promote economic growth by integrating the three trading partners into the largest trading bloc in the world. Thus liberalizing Mexico would mean not only the growth of liberal democracy (which has occurred, after signing NAFTA, Mexico, for eighty years a one-party state, elected its first opposition party president) but also trade liberalization – the imposition of free market capitalism and the dismantling of import substitution.

This did result an overall rise in the standard of living for Mexicans but it primarily benefited a small segment of Mexican society. Jobs producing goods in Mexico for Mexicans declined because those commodities could now be imported more cheaply. It also dispossessed many Mexican farmers of their land as agriculture in Mexico modernized and became industrial in scale. Neoliberalism and comparative advantage are very good at removing inefficiencies in the interest of producing greater profits – this totally changed the way food is grown in Mexico and exported to the U.S. It’s much more efficient now, so fewer workers are needed.

Wrap-up
So where did all those out of work Mexicans go? They came to the United States. One of the biggest demographic trends in America, the rapid growth of Hispanic populations, is directly related to neoliberalism, especially NAFTA which they said was supposed to grow the Mexican economy. While trade liberalization is experienced as a good thing for American consumers (commodities are cheap) and American corporations (profits are high), it is often experienced as an unwelcome and disruptive force in the lives of people who are from countries with developing economies.

As the authors of the article point out on the second page, a study conducted by the World Bank came to a similar conclusion. When it comes to trade liberalization, rich countries stand to gain substantially more than poorer countries. The great irony was that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are two of the greatest proponents of neoliberalism in the world today. Thus when the World Bank released this report criticizing its own policies it was extremely embarrassing for them and it was quickly swept under the rug.

Thanks for trying to read this article. If anything you should learn to be skeptical of anyone who claims that they’ve got a simple solution to our economic problems. Don’t believe the hype! Economics is hard and the world is complex. It takes hard, complex explanations to make sense of it all.

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About Matt Thompson

Matt Thompson is a project cataloger at The Mariners' Museum library. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and was formerly a professor at ODU. You can find him on Twitter @m4ttTh0mps0n.
This entry was posted in Economic, Neolibearlism. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to How to understand “Trade Liberalization and Economic Development”

  1. Joanna Wolford says:

    I agree the world is complex and there is no quick and easy solution. I try to buy American made products in order to support our Economy but it’s hard not to notice that most everything we buy is made somewhere else. I know that outsourcing helps big businesses save money but it takes so many jobs away from our own country.

  2. Candice Wilson says:

    I have learned in my history class that liberty came from our founding fathers and it include some of the principles for the right to pursue happiness, own property, and free trade. Unfortunately, with trade Americans now have the option to purchase foreign goods if they are not satisfied with the domestic products. But whether it is the purchase of foreign goods or domestic, we are still helping the economy but consuming these goods and creating and mainting employment.

  3. Another example that could be given is Nike. Nike has factories in remote parts of the world in order to maximize labor and reduce costs of labor. This is called a foreign direct investment. One could argue that the people working in sweatshops in Indonesia to create Nike products are better off because they would probably be making less if they had another job. Others argue that the poor labor conditions are unfair and companies like Nike use these underdeveloped countries to their advantage. Some argue that taxes need to be removed, while others argue we need more taxes. I was reading an article the other day that said that the top 1% of the population is getting richer while the middle and lower classes are on decline. This is Keynesian economics vs Reaganomics. Are the Mexicans to blame for coming here? Their home economy is corrupt and broke, while ours is still above water. American corporations hire Mexicans to reduce cost of manual labor. If there was not an incentive for the corporations to hire the Mexican workers, their numbers would dwindle. The US’ policies are too contradictory to have enough effect to actually fix the problems.

  4. Andrea King says:

    The world is indeed a very complex place. I look at the news and see whats going on and have started questioning some of the decisions our elected representation has made for us, like having such relaxed laws concerning American companies outsourcing and moving their corporate headquarters to different countries just to escape laws and hire cheap labor. I have started trying to buy American made products as much as I can and go to an actual cashier at stores instead of a self checkout because I do not agree with machines taking the place of actual workers.

  5. Melissa Rizzio says:

    It’s unfortunate how many products are outsourced. It’s almost as if you have to go out of your way to buy strictly American-made products. Not that I’m against buying outsourced items, I just don’t understand how America can be so greedy and not distribute profits to the rightly entitled. We rip off the “poorer” countries in order to “better” our country, yet I don’t necessarily see the benefit of doing so. Where these profits should go to improving our economy, somehow our country just keeps going further and further in debt.

    • angelica says:

      “We rip off the “poorer” countries in order to “better” our country;” that is so true; and it’s unfortunate that America has developed itself to prosper in that way. Given, I can see the clear logic behind it; but when we get to be in a state that our economy is in now, we should be striving to put those profits back into our own economy. No matter how more expensive the labor may be. I believe it is necessary to have some foreign involvement but America also needs to make sure that it’s own country is well taken care of and recognized as well. America is becoming more dependent on foreign labor and resources that it is hurting parts of our own country. Even now, as we have more and more people of foreign area coming in, we give them better opportunities to recieve some jobs given that they will work for less. Which in turn leaves many americans out of jobs. If that all makes sense.

  6. Clint Gunn says:

    I like to think of how/why we as humans now-a-days rationalize the things we do. Especially if those things being done only degrade our society. To be specific, take drug dealers; ‘they’ feel there is no other means to their desired end so they make their ‘cake’ ($) by slinging dope. By definition, these people have developed their own type of economy. The fundamentals of producing a steady means of subsistence is there, but often (especially when its illegal) the producers become greedy and, well… fill in the blank. All in all I find it fascinating to see how our economy styles have evolved.

    -Gangster!

    ~~Also, I vote that Prof. Thompson comes into class at least once before the semester is up dressed and fully equipped just as he was in the field of his anthropologic experience (so that we can get a first hand look of what it looks like for one to prep themselves for the field). Any Support??? (Challenge to Prof. Thompson) ;-}

  7. There are so many things in our country that are made and imported from other countries and people are still wondering why we are trillions of dollars in debt. People blame politicians and the government for our economy but really we are to blame. Maybe if we started making our stuff and stopped importing everything our debt and economy would start to get better.

  8. Richard C says:

    I believe that it is hard to gauge the effect of any specific treaty such as NAFTA in isolation with other trends that are happening in the world (such as technological innovation), which makes economics such a difficult subject.The effect of NAFTA is controversial but may be small (See: http://goo.gl/FJLeR ). The PBS program “Need to Know” had a program on NAFTA last night that was generally positive ( See: http://goo.gl/QXUcc). While jobs lost through plant relocation can be easily quantified, the number of jobs created by lower prices and increased economic activity can not easily be determined.

  9. Alexandra Stephens says:

    Especially in times of economic crisis, it is unfortunate to see how reliant we still are on outsourcing. I will admit that I don’t pay much attention to where the products I buy were made, but if I were to rule out any non-American made product, there would be slim pickins left. It’s unfortunate and scary how an program that was started essentially did the opposite of what it was intended to do, and I feel as though we can compare that to many American programs that have been put into place. I think that addressing this issue would create a surplus of job opportunities which remains a staggering problem in the United States. I really enjoyed reading this as i have recently become fascinated by politics. Thanks for making sense of that article.

  10. Cindy Barrera says:

    I’ve always wondered if the United States will ever come out of the economic crisis. It’s scary to think that our country is at it’s worst since the Great Depression. Most of this is new to me like NAFTA. I have not heard of it before until I read this. I’ve noticed that almost everything I is made from somewhere else like China. I believe that with more job opportunities it could get the economy running again but then again, we are trillions of dollars in debt. Every citizen should keep up with current events and see how our country progresses out of this crisis.

  11. Tyrell L. says:

    i think it is crazy that the US continues to rely on imports knowing that we are so far into debt that increases by the day. a lot of the responsibility does lie on us as consumers considering the fact that we are so set on driving certain non-domestic cars and buying cheaper goods. I understad why the US imports goods because why spend way more money on us made products when it would be cheaper to get the made in another country, even though it makes it so hard to find jobs.

  12. Courtney Danvers says:

    A lot of our economic policies seem odd when you first learn about them. The example pertaining of how people receive processed wood. At first it seems as though it cost more to ship it across the Earth’s largest ocean, but it is actually cheaper than having a company in the United States do the same. That makes me wonder how much money does one in this country want to make at the cost of the nation they inhabit. The American ideal, garner as much capital as possible, that governs American economics in the long run will help another, but can eventually hurt it. The act of cutting out American to make a larger profit hurts the country. The extent to which big businesses take to an abundant amount of money knowing well that it will hurt his nation is unpatriotic, in my honest opinion.

  13. Morgan Harrell says:

    I understand that outsourcing is a necessity, but I don’t think there needs to be so much of it. Outsourcing is used to save big businesses money and I understand that people want to save money but outsourcing things that we could easily do ourselves, that would provide jobs and make us less dependent on other countries would just make more sense to me. Im not saying don’t outsource at all, but I guess outsource a little less and provide some jobs at home too.

  14. kevin clarke says:

    This blog was very informative, I now know why there happens to be so many people wanting to immigrate to america all the time. the economy is something that needs to be fixed and there is obviously no simple resolution or else we’d already have it. I feel as though there needs to be a collective group of people that dedicate them selves to a solution to Americas problem

  15. kevin clarke says:

    This blog was very informative, I now know why there happens to be so many people wanting to immigrate to america all the time. the economy is something that needs to be fixed and there is obviously no simple resolution or else we’d already have it. I feel as though there needs to be a collective group of people that dedicate them selves to a solution to Americas problem.

  16. Aaron Van de Graaf says:

    That was a very interesting selection. I cannot believe how little Colombians get paid to farm those beans only to have others make a profit off of their hard work. I also never realized how highly in debt we are.

  17. Kevin Doss says:

    What I don’t like about neoliberalism is where does it all end. By removing all the inefficiencies and putting small scale farmers out of business to make way for a single farm, eventually there is a single big meat grinding corporation that owns all the farm lands and cattle. To reduce cost more and streamline production these cows are fed crap and we as consumers also suffer because we’re eating the only beef we can get our hands on. one slip up in this single corporation such as feeding the cow slaughtered cow, which caused brain disease (mad cow), would result in a huge food source to be taken out by a single corporation. My example is hypothetical but it’s happened with many other things, first the corp. makes the product cheap and crappy and put the competition out of business and then the corp goes down and now there is nothing left. The comedian Louis C.K. explains it pretty well, you should definitely take a look at this video. http://youtu.be/-gxDvMVhMdo MAC vs PC and starbucks explanations are gold.

  18. Kevin Doss says:

    What I don’t like about neoliberalism is where does it all end. By removing all the inefficiencies and putting small scale farmers out of business to make way for a single farm, eventually there is a single big meat grinding corporation that owns all the farm lands and cattle. To reduce cost more and streamline production these cows are fed crap and we as consumers also suffer because we’re eating the only beef we can get our hands on. one slip up in this single corporation such as feeding the cow slaughtered cow, which caused brain disease (mad cow), would result in a huge food source to be taken out by a single corporation. My example is hypothetical but it’s happened with many other things, first the corp. makes the product cheap and crappy and put the competition out of business and then the corp goes down and now there is nothing left. The comedian Louis C.K. explains it pretty well, you should definitely take a look at this video. http://youtu.be/zR1jTuGm7ok MAC vs PC and starbucks explanations are gold.

  19. Erika Primdahl says:

    Having the global community we live in be so money-driven make relations in trade more complicated. With fiscal issues and debt- it is clear that solving the worlds economic issues is not an easy task. As much praise as the United States gets for being a self-sufficient powerful country. We rely an awful lot on exports. Did you know id Walmart were a country it would be China’s third largest trading partner?

  20. Lauren Reynolds says:

    Company’s are money hungry therefor they forget about the “little people” or what goes into the making of their products. So many children and workers work in sweatshops to produce products that are imported to the US for a lower price. When we buy these products we are supporting paying them next to nothing.

  21. Catie Gilmore says:

    I am still incredibly confused. Your examples were enlightening but did not clarify much for me. When it comes to economics I may as well be reading an article written in wingdings…

  22. Bryana Melnechuk says:

    I’m sure many agree, but I am still astonished by Americans relying on products from other countries instead of the products made here. With the trillions in debt, you would think that stimulating the american economy would be the number one priority. It’s scary to think that there is no way out, and I often wonder if there is a way out, will I ever see it? Or will I die an old lady living in a depression? It’s bitter sweet in the sense of buying products from other countries is cheaper and cheap labor seems to be “in”. But at this point insuring jobs for americans to put money in their pockets so that they can purchase goods and help stimulate the economy seems to be too much of a risk, yet it’s exactly what our country needs. What is this world coming to?

  23. Ivana Guayurpa says:

    Your explanation of this article definitely cleared things up for me.
    While reading this article I was enraged to find out how the NAFTA policy has screwed over growing economies. This article really opened up my eyes on what is going on with our economy and how our government’s past decisions have affected those who are less fortunate in this world. I hope that with the upcoming election a candidate or political party brings up the World Banks’ mistake to light. That way more Americans (especially those misinformed like myself) are aware of the real issue at hand.

  24. immecca benson says:

    I feel that the world is backwards. I seriously be thinking why do our country let everyone come over not only the country also help fights everyone elses war then we are struggling and dontvwant to help our own people that’s in our country. The NFTA is gone to far you just dont whatever and screw people funding over, there are people that are really trying to.make it and for the government to allow this then its a bunch of crap

  25. Tucker Harrell says:

    I have to agree I am astounded by the amount of Americans out of jobs due to the production of goods overseas , simply because of the abundance of cheap labor overseas. If we were intelligent we would just ship the materials needed for the product over to the United States and then manufacture the product.

  26. Allison Barber says:

    This was very interesting. I did not know that the Mexican and American economies were so intertwined. Also, America was most prosperous when we made our own goods, so how does import substitution cause slower growth? There is no easy solution for the economic crisis, but wouldn’t it be better for the American people if we can be self sufficient? It would create jobs and bring money in from exporting goods. Just an idea.

  27. Cody Taylor says:

    This brought a couple of things to my attention that i usually don’t think about on a day-to-day basis. The example with the Big Mac, when I look at a cow I never thought of food (maybe just milk), even if I was hungry. So that example really helped me understand the concept of Value Added Commodities. I also never thought about the underlying reason we had so many Mexican immigrants looking for work in our country as opposed to their own.

  28. Dynesse Saling says:

    The “economy problem” is much more complicated than I originally thought. It certainly puts the upcoming elections, especially the presidential race, in perspective. Is there a “right” answer to fix the economy? Doubtful. I feel like it’s going to take a collaborative effort of people acting professionally and making decisions with the concept of the individual within a group. Economics is by nature tied into politics and morality. In my opinion, a major problem with our economy is that these are too conflicted among people, so that a decision is never reached. People become to greedy or lazy and only care about themselves and their ideals. We live in a community and we collectively have let our economy fail. Granted, it is not all on us, but as a whole Americans will need to act together.

    On somewhat of a tangent, it is incredible how intricate international economics has come since the “dawn of man”. I mean we were all relying on each other in small groups, and no we give gifts to threaten or show off and we compete economically. What happened? Where did the goodwill for your fellow man go? I mean we’re all in this as one, right? We are all humans surviving and life would be much better if we all constructively interfered with one another than destructively.

  29. Casey Elam says:

    It is very surprising how much of everything we have is actually imported. You would think that it would cost less money to have american workers work on our own products rather than ship those items to other countries to be processed. For example, our trees that we chopped down in the pacific northwest, have to be shipped all the way to china in order to be made into lumber and then get shipped all the way back to the U.S. It surprises me that it costs less money to do that than to just make the lumber here.

  30. Anita Arneson says:

    It is sad that we leave so many of our own citizens unemployeed because it is cheaper to move products in and out of the country and pay for the labor overseas than it is to just pay someone from our own country to do the work. It is also easy and beneficial to business owners to outsource work or hire immigrants because the labor is cheaper. It seems that NAFTA is working in some ways but hurting others and it seems impossible to come to any easy solution where all economies will win.

  31. Tristan Hart says:

    I enjoyed this reading based on the fact its true. The economy is bad and we need someone to fix it. I hope someday that someone will be able to step up to the plate and fix it for us. At the rate were going, I think nothings going to happen.

  32. Kyndal Hairston says:

    Its unbelievable how much American companies rely on outsourcing to manufacture their products nowadays. Its like we are at a disadvantage just by being American citizens. Those same factory jobs are ones that a lot of individuals could be occupying right now to help with our unemployment rate, but they will never get that opportunity because those companies would be required to pay American citizens more due to the cost of living in our country.

  33. Jack Saladino says:

    I understand that big businesses have the right to maximize profits by outsourcing jobs overseas would otherwise be occupied by American citizens. This does not concern me. What concerns me is that the also have a responsibility to provide their customers with a high quality product. Many businesses have no problem distributing poorly made products because it is cheaper to put wear and tear on the finished product before it even reaches the store. This is why we’ve seen such intense stories on news networks about Chinese toothpaste and dog food recalls. Unfortunately this practice will continue and businesses will suffer far fewer setbacks economically than their customers’ will by buying their products

  34. Bianca Hailes says:

    To be honest I couldn’t understand some of the stuff you were talking about but what I did understand I can comment in. If the fact that all of our major corporations are going overseas for cheaper labor do you think that can account for some of the dept the U.S. has and if the corporations were to reestablish themselves back into the U.S. do you think our economy would become a lot better or would it stay the same? As far as the value added commodity, I think that just comes down to Americans being lazy, yes McDonalds does sound good but the reason why people go to McDonalds is because it quick and it doesn’t require a lot of energy. Why do you think families aren’t as close as they should be, that’s because people are to busy with theiri lives to take a little time out to make family dinner instead they would rather go pick it up and just call it a day. The more technology advances the more people get lazy and they need places like McDonalds or Burger King.

  35. travis tong says:

    After this article the question that has come to mind is.. why cant we just produce all of our goods over here rather than shipping them off and then having them shipped back. Yes i understand it is cheaper but in a economy that is in the pits I think it would provide more jobs all across the country. Wouldnt this also keep all our money in america?

  36. Yvette LaChute says:

    In reading this article and utilizing experiences from being in other countries, I think trade adds more value than many people may realize. For example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi products are found throughout the world just as there is a McDonald’s and Pizza Hut in many countries. The value added is that local populations, even in countries such as Afghansitan, Egypt, Iraq, and Korea buy the goods for consumption. At the same time, it also provides job opportunities for the local area thus adding value to a particular product being in various countries throughout the world.

    In other instances, it is unfortunate that we send certain products off to trade. For example, toys, clothes, and movies that are often made in China because such products should be left within the home country as an economic boost. If toys and clothes were made strictly in the U.S. and not brought in from other countries then it would provide many with job opportunities.

    Therefore, the value of trading can always lead to various pros and cons because in some ways it supports other countries in need while in other ways it hinders American economy.

  37. Sarah L. Wright says:

    I have come to the conclusion that a lot of ideas and plans may come across perfectly error free on paper or when someone speaks on a topic, but carrying out that idea is a completely different story. Unfortunately creating an economy where one person helps another, or one country makes up for others mistakes would not last in our world. As much as we want to trust others, there will always be slackers, there will always be greedy people, there will always be workaholics, there will always be overachievers and there will always be disputes over who deserves what and so on. And this is not always a bad thing…we don’t want mediocrity right? That’s the beauty of what the United States was built upon, and we should promote competition to bring out the best in each other. We do not live in a perfect world and we must deal with the complications of the economy, war, crime or political issues that we come across in the best way possible, which may not always be the same as what looks the most advantageous on paper.

  38. Stephen Clark says:

    I found it very interesting about the history of the word liberalization. The way it sounds does that feel like a word that comes from the meaning of liberty. The process in which the Us and the chinese work together for lumber is a great economic plan. I was never for using imported goods from china and selling it in America. I thought the cost of that would be tremendously high but after reading about comparative advantage, it has changed my thoughts for selling goods overseas. I think people should express going overseas for a job if they have the opportunity too. It was also interesting to look at the value added commodities. The exporting of coffee was a great way of showing how one product can be used in different countries and companies for different reasons.

  39. Mercedes Chapa says:

    The United States keeps on trying to make strides foward yet we end up taking two steps back. We are now in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and there seems to be nothing helping us climb out of our countries surplus of debt. I know outsouring our products is cheaper in the long run for our society, yet it does not help citizens in the states when it comes to their financial gains. If we made more of our products domestically we would be able to open many new job opportunities to those struggling to find employment.

  40. David Cujas says:

    Economics is T O U G H tough. Expert economists have been made to look like amatuers more often than not, caused by a mechanism that is as close to utterly unexplainable as anything else in this world. Speaking specifically to the point of a country placing high tariffs and taxes on imported goods………definitely a double edged sword. As a government, you want to promote commerce within your borders (create jobs, etc.), but at what cost? Closing out foreign products decreases competition, decreases quality of products, and business efficiencies. Free market capitalism works better for the big players than the little ones, but isolated economies don’t help anybody.

  41. Julian Moradian says:

    I agree with the article in that the economy is in a state of needed repair in many aspects. A little known fact that usually goes unnoticed is the influence of small businesses’ on the economy. They are what I like to call the “silent helpers” in that they strengthen a nations economy with little attention. That’s why when the economy is on the decline, the government spends more money on trying to help the big corporations stay level while all the small businesses go out of business with little or no help.

  42. azucena tapia says:

    I think todays economy is destabilizing at a quick speed because of the great impact of big businesses. They “say” they are going bankrupt but when it comes down to bail-outs, all of the money goes to the CEO’s and head managers. Instead that money can be used for much better purposes. We need to slow down on our dependence with foreign trade. After this is all done we will be able to see an increase in the health of the economy.

  43. Ciara Bowen says:

    I agree that there isnt a simple solution to our economic crisis. It is amazing that everyone thinks they have a plan and they are so wrong. It would be nice for someone to just admit that they have no knowlege of the solution for the economy and try to break the matter down and build it back up. The more powerful countries tries to give the illusion that they want to help establish the under developed countries. What they dont admit is that they are the ones that are benefiting the most and still are on top in terms of wealth. The under developed countries dont have a chance to compete and still remain at the bottom of the food chain. I also dont agree with out sourcing. I believe that it would be more beneficial to Americans if we made our own products and made use of the few valuable resources that we have. It may cost less to export resources to other countries to make into more valuable products, but if there were more jobs available in the U.S. there would be a creater number of consumers to buy these products and the unemployment level would be much lower. We would also have more knowledge of the products that we are using because within the past 10 years there has been so much disease and health issues related to the various products being imported into the country (ex. toothpaste from china had a cancer-related substance in it). Its time for the U.S. to be more dependent on their own resources and those of others because we may not know when access to those products will cease and we need to know how to handle it and make it through.

  44. Rueben Checkley says:

    Economy is possibly on the verge of extinction if it continues on its decent. We needa start focusin more on what we can do to help our economy and at the same time ourselves. We need less foreign trade and more exploitation of resources at home. One example would be legalizing marijuana. Think about all the money that would be generated if there was a controlled system on the marketing of marijuana.

  45. James Lee says:

    As we all know, our economy is really bad. People are trying hard to get a job, but competition is very furious because it’s relate to your life. (money, family, hobby or joy) Sad thing is there is no perfect solution to this problem. Every year United States open career or job fair, but it doesn’t really help the people or the economy. U.S. should open more work for the people by using our own sources or reducing machine work. As Reuben mentioned above, legalizing Marijuana will bring many jobs and profits to United States. We all know there is great amount who smokes Marijuana, if we can tax all to all those smokers and opening smoking place to hire jobs, it will help.

  46. curtis mayo says:

    Coming from a service member and seeing combat, i think a lot of the what this country does is backwards. We allow whatever,whoever into the country and not think about what problems we already have. We fight everyones war but our own which is economic downfall, poverty, hunger crisis. All the things that happening in other countries are happening right here in our own back yards. We fail to prove that the land we live on is free but the fact that our nation is brave. But what happens when we have no more country because we have allowed so many countries to conglomerate as one. Look i dont mean to sound harsh im just saying when are we going to do for America? When is she going to get her attention like the rest of the world?

  47. Benjamin Cowan says:

    It’s pretty messed up, however it is what it is. Businesses will do whatever it takes to maximize their own individual profits, regardless of the impact/ toll it takes on people seeking jobs and the economy. I doubt anything will change, unless we start coming together more, and start providing more job opportunities for people in the U.S, rather than China and other countries.

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