Unmasking the New Face of Protectionism
Smith, Suzanne M.
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"In their 1985 summit communique the heads of state of the seven largest industrial countries stated: 'Protection does not solve problems, it only creates problems.'"(Kreinin p.357) Why then is protectionism so prevalent? This simple question prompted my interest in examining the forces behind the proliferation of protectionism in the United States during the past decade. A consideration of the economic arguments for free trade quickly led to the discovery that this is one of a very few issues on which nearly unanimous agreement exists among scholars in economics. The gains from free trade are substantial whereas the costs of protection are high. Protectionism makes no sense from the perspective of national economic interest. Political motivations therefore seemed to be the key to comprehending this phenomenon. "Any important economic choice is by nature political, but the political dimension is often systematically obscured."(Krauss pp.71-72) Consequently I endeavored to unearth these root causes while working as a research assistant for Pietro S. Nivola, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.If you are not a current K College student, faculty, or staff member, email email@example.com to request access to this SIP.