Beating Back Protectionism

By Swonk, Diane | Chief Executive (U.S.), December 2003 | Go to article overview

Beating Back Protectionism


Swonk, Diane, Chief Executive (U.S.)


ELECTION-YEAR POLITICS often bring out the worst of economic policies. Politicians, caught between their policy-making duties and their desire to win re-election, frequently deliver sound-bite solutions to complex problems. Most recently, China has moved into the spotlight as the scapegoat du jour. It is being blamed for everything from cyclical and structural problems m the manufacturing sector to a more prescient political threat, a loss of white-collar jobs.

Middle-market and family-owned manufacturers have been particularly vocal, arguing that the competition created by China is forcing them to shutter operations. I know of one small auto supplier who closed his doors because it "wasn't worth keeping them open," even though the business was still solvent. He felt there was no way he could compete over the long haul with larger, more integrated suppliers that had the means to source at least a portion of their business from China.

But the criticism is unfair. China has experienced larger losses in manufacturing jobs than the U.S. has in recent years. The rise in employment at new plants has been more than offset by the losses associated with the closing of inefficient state-run enterprise operations. Moreover, the criticism completely ignores the role China is playing in supporting growth among some of our fastest growing trading partners.

A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago finds that even the Midwest - the nation's industrial core - has benefited more than it has suffered from growth m China. The demand for new production facilities in China provided some offset for the drought m investment in the U.S. Everything from construction equipment to machine tools were needed to build plants in China.

One reason the forces of protectionism, rise up is that the benefits of trade are indirect while the costs are direct. For example, little has been written about how Wal-Mart has increased the purchasing power of lower income households by importing from China. Or about the advantage that global competition has given consumers in the selection and quality of goods they buy. My Cadillac CTS is better than anything GM had to offer in the 1970s, and enabled me to be loyal to my father's GM roots by "buying American."

Another more cynical reason for the latest protectionist push, it seems, is that elections are expensive, and those who support protectionist policies can typically draw the financial support of the inflicted few. The money spent by the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington to block trade initiatives is one example.

The battle between free trade and protectionism has, of course, raged for decades. In the 1970s, when imports surged, the U.S. auto industry was particularly hard hit. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Beating Back Protectionism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.