Free «Protectionist Tariffs» Essay Sample


A tariff is duty obligatory on goods moved athwart political borders. They are commonly associated with the economic policy of protectionism that limits commerce between two countries. The two economists Milton Freidman who was a conservationist and Adam Smith a left liberal had different views about these protectionist policies. Adam Smith advocated for the laissez faire which means ‘let go’; companies are supposed to be left free of government restrictions in the form of tariffs and government interferences. The reason why Adam did not become a socialist is because he had seen the intrusion of the government in money matters was venal and not for the good of the public in general. In an attempt by the Republicans and the Democrats to reach the farmers vote and unite the nation together, the home market issue took the centre part of Mill’s bill debate. This put the Democratic tariff reformers on a defensive while the Republicans took an offensive stand.


A mid controversy over the conventional political economy, the idea of a domicile market emerged at the center of that debate. It assumed that international exchange was advantageous. Although Smith acknowledged that capitalists impulsively chose to invest in the home market, he understood that complimentary trade in the global market was necessary for division and effective use of labor and for the competent development of natural advantage. According to Smith the locking up of the domestic market by use of tariffs would enable the producers to be in command of the market, encourage abuse and create artificial channels for capital. Smith was appropriate to the American revolutionary movements of disagreement from oppressive royal British charters and tariffs that had been premeditated to justify monopolization of gains from the colonies. (Coats, 1992)



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Having lived in a world of economy much different from ours, applications of conclusions made from his observations today would be like having him support something that he would never have. He is loved by many followers of the upper class and huge businesses. These two groups believe that the laissez fare principle of Smith promotes their economical interests since he put forward the quality of life of the white people. His major argument was that unregulated foreign trade and competition would see manufacturers adopt economies in manufacture and lesser profit precincts thus advantage the workforce. Basically he objected tariffs due to the weight they placed on the population. The lifting of tariffs was justified by the effects they had; the standard advantage of a tariff was to the manufacturers who were out to increase their profit margins. With the current disparity in the wages between countries, high waged labor and doing away with trade restrictions and tariffs cannot be justified by the effect it has on the quality of life of the population. During Smith’s days, lower wages were excluded by subsistence wages. In his country there was wage cuts and for conservatives like Freedman to get around this argued that wage cuts on the  unskilled manufacturing jobs will encourage people to obtain better education to enable them secure more and higher paying skilled jobs. For a utilitarian, Freedman’s argument gives ‘an ethical indigestion.’

Milton’s opinion is that it’s better for the greater percentage of employees to get better jobs or regain employment after the acquisition of new and special skills through specialized training. On the other hand as American companies try to establish branches in other countries (oversea countries); foreign companies acquire information and associations about the American markets and hence the growth of foreign monetary inroads. Milton’s opinion of the need for a skilled labor force never holds since for example, computer items technical support for consumers has been transferred to India. On a phone call you can be able to access technical support of whatever electronic appliance at the comfort of your couch.

The abuse of Adam Smith’s works by capitalist exploiters can be said to be far below the zero of ordinary decency or understanding. At periods he has been viewed as someone who perceived no role for the authorities in economic existence. But reality has it that he was of the opinion that the government had a very vital role to play. Fabled figures have taken the place of the conventional writers and any real knowledge non-existent. These imitations are very malevolent beings.

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In his argument, Friedman states that if a tariff is enacted, a small group of individuals who are countable seem to benefit in the beginning. The impairment that is brought about by the tariff is borne by people who are not known and do not suppose that they are or will be harmed. To him tariffs harass most people having extraordinary competence of producing the exports that are able to pay for the imports in the nonexistence of a tariff. (Harrod,1933).

In his opinion, Freidman saw that with a tariff brought to effect prospective export industries possibly will never be established neither will anyone ever dream of getting employed in it nor of its existence. He further agrees to the application of laissez faire arguing that it had positive consequences since the monetary enticement for corruption will be largely eliminated. Milton believed that through free markets and as balanced exchange rates rise or fall with time to promote or depress imports in favor of exports and turn around in favor of imports would correct deficits. The existed difficulty in real life is that currency markets are far from free, with the central banks and the different administrations being key players change in unforeseeable in the near future.

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Both economists; Milton Friedman and Adam Smith seem to come to a consensus that the involvement of the authorities is detrimental to the economies. To both the negative effects of the imposture of market tariffs seem to outweigh its positive side. For them the withdrawal of the market tariffs will to a reasonable extend discourage monetary corruption since. On the contrary, more efficient companies will have less capacity to spread out; in general productivity and financial interest will suffer if the route of the protectionists is followed. Protectionists are also accused of propagating war. Between the 17th-18th centuries it’s alleged that warfare arose basically because of the British tariffs and excise duties accompanied by the protective guiding principles that led to both World War I & II.


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