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Thread: Does trade between countries do more good than harm for people in those nations?

  1. #1
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    Does trade between countries do more good than harm for people in those nations?

    Hi everybody!!
    I'm in this program in my school. It involves answering a question about economics. The groups answer this question via a skit. It's a contest-- first it's schoolwide, then districtwide, and so-on and so-forth. The question for this year is:

    Does trade between countries do more good than harm for the people in the countries?

    I'm pretty sure that in general, trade does more good than harm for people in the countries, but I think the judges are looking for something that would show that trade does more harm.

    So does anyone have any ideas for what the skit could be about?? It can be about anything in history, from the ancient civilizations to the present-day. So far, I've thought of the Triangular Trade Route as being a possible idea.

    Thanks!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuddeNYer
    So does anyone have any ideas for what the skit could be about?? It can be about anything in history, from the ancient civilizations to the present-day. So far, I've thought of the Triangular Trade Route as being a possible idea.

    Thanks!!
    I think you've hit upon the best possibility here - though it is pretty obvious that the slave trade did more harm than good for the African people involved.

    I'm not sure whether you mean by a "skit" that you're expected to answer the question from the point of view of an "ironic observer".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    I think you've hit upon the best possibility here - though it is pretty obvious that the slave trade did more harm than good for the African people involved.

    I'm not sure whether you mean by a "skit" that you're expected to answer the question from the point of view of an "ironic observer".
    I'm not sure if this is addressing what you don't understand, but by skit, I mean short play... and technically the question doesn't have to be answered ironically, so if you have any ideas for trade that helps the people in the countries, that would also be great. But I think that since there are so many examples of trade helping the people in the countries, it would be better to show an example where trade harmed the people.
    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Ryan
    I think you've hit upon the best possibility here - though it is pretty obvious that the slave trade did more harm than good for the African people involved.
    It also destrpyed the economies of the countries where the slaves ended up. Slavery is REALLY BAD for your economy. It destroyed the Roman economy, it destroyed the economy in the southern US. It has destroeyd every economy that relied heavily on slave labor.
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. —Samuel Adams

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuddeNYer
    I'm not sure if this is addressing what you don't understand, but by skit, I mean short play... and technically the question doesn't have to be answered ironically, so if you have any ideas for trade that helps the people in the countries, that would also be great. But I think that since there are so many examples of trade helping the people in the countries, it would be better to show an example where trade harmed the people.
    I understand the word "skit" to mean a satire or a short comedy sketch in which perhaps politicians or "celebrities" are ridiculed - which is why I asked about the "ironic observer".

    Apart from the special cases of the slave trade or the drugs trade, I think to argue that trade harmed people you might have to examine the terms of trade between (say) the US and some developing country. You would need to do some research that showed perhaps how tariffs or currency exchange rates, or whatever, were unfavorable to a country doing business with the US. You might then argue that the economic success of that country was undermined by this trading relationship with consequent social damage - in other words, people were harmed by trading with America.

    It would be also be possible to make out the reverse case, and show how American people are harmed by, say, the economics of "outsourcing" jobs.

    I've oversimplified a lot here, but maybe the general idea will be helpful ?

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    I think you could reasonably say that unbalanced trade damages people. You only have to look at the effects of the forced opening of markets in poor countries to see that, and the effects of outsourcing in western countries.

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    How about the spreading of the black plague being caused by cargo-carrying ships?
    Knowledge is power. Hide it well.

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    thanks for all of those ideas everyone, i like the idea of the black plague :-)
    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
    - Sir Winston Churchill

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    Glad you liked it

    Another thing you could look into is the effects of gold and silver trade within the Spanish empire during the 16th and 17th century. If I recall correctly, it mostly led to inflation and empowered the Spanish monarchy to wage pointless and highly destructive wars in europe and beyond while Spain as a country had to file for bancrupcy severeal times and it`s populace plummeted deeper into poverty.

    Allthough that was perhaps the fault of the monarchy rather than the actual trade. But the inflation (also termed "the price revolution") across europe was a direct result of the trade.
    Knowledge is power. Hide it well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daewoo
    It also destrpyed the economies of the countries where the slaves ended up. Slavery is REALLY BAD for your economy. It destroyed the Roman economy, it destroyed the economy in the southern US. It has destroeyd every economy that relied heavily on slave labor.
    Odd question, but why does this happen and are there any ways it can be avoided (whatever they may be, high turn over rates for slaves or a only having a very small population compared to the slaves)?

    Won't the same be more or less true for companies using cheap overseas labour as well (which to be honest I guess it does due to the loss in jobs and lowering of wages, especially when combined with social programs increasing the standard of living for the unemployed) and also increased automation? If not, why doesn't mass production and robots cause this

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tastyfish
    Odd question, but why does this happen and are there any ways it can be avoided (whatever they may be, high turn over rates for slaves or a only having a very small population compared to the slaves)?

    Won't the same be more or less true for companies using cheap overseas labour as well (which to be honest I guess it does due to the loss in jobs and lowering of wages, especially when combined with social programs increasing the standard of living for the unemployed) and also increased automation? If not, why doesn't mass production and robots cause this
    Slavery destroys your economy by sucking all the paying jobs out of it.

    Rome is one of the better examples of this. Before Rome started their conquests, Rome held a healthy middle class. As they started invading other nations, the slaves that were returned to rome as spoils of war started displacing those middle classs workers. Within 20 yrs, the middle class in Rome was virtually wiped out. You had a small percentage of the population that owned everything, and used slaves for labor. Then you had a HUGE population of poor people doing laundry for each other and working as whores to try to keep some simbelance of an economy going.

    This is one of the reasons the Roman army was so huge. To be a soldier was ne of the few options available to young men to pay the bills. This allowed the roman military to take on projects like road and aquaduct building, but also increased their military actions (invasion, etc...) which produced more slaves, which drove the economy downhill even further.
    If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. —Samuel Adams

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    What do you believe NYer? I'll admit to giving teachers and debate judges the answers that they want to hear on many occasions, but it is often by taking the contrary opinion that you stand out. Heck, maybe you'll hit some judges who are determined to prove that they are not biased against free trade, even though they are. You just might be selected as the token diversity finalist.

    If you wanted examples of how free trade is good (in fact a basic human right), I would recommend looking at the parables used by Frederick Bastiat in his work "The Law" which are already practically written as skits. If you want to stick to it being bad, I got nuthin'.
    Last edited by Zeppflyer; 12-12-2008 at 11:20 PM.

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    They won't laugh or learn if they don't understand the jokes.

    HuddeNYer, asking if trade between countries do more good than harm for people in those nations is a foolish question.
    Trade’s beneficial, trade surpluses are beneficial, but trade deficits are detrimental to their nations’ aggregate populations.

    Do you want a serious educational discussion or an entertaining skit? Economics is an excellent subject of humor. But I don’t believe you can entertain people regarding economics if they don’t have sufficient knowledge to understand the points of your jokes.

    You didn’t state your class’s grade. Maybe your instructor’s attempting to discuss global trade with students that are not ready to discuss interrelationships between a nations’ global trade imbalance, GDP, and median wage?

    U.S. wage earning families benefit from cheaper imported goods but they are dependent each day of every year upon their U.S. wages.

    Trade deficits detriments to their nations’ GDPs exceed the amounts of those deficits themselves. Our Two most significant economic statistics are our gross domestic product, (i.e. our GDP) and our median wage.

    [GDP is the nations’ total production of goods and services. If we divide our nations’ annual per capita GDP by our median wage, we get a statistical description of how much goods and services we produced and to what extent that production has been distributed among our population].

    The GDP bolsters the median wage. Cheaper imported goods do not compensate wage earning families for trade deficit’s detrimental effect upon the median wage.

    Refer to the discussion topic “Trade deficits are always detrimental to their nations’ GDP” for an explanation of trade deficits detrimental effects upon their nations’ GDPs.

    Refer to the discussion topic “Reduce the trade deficit; increase GDP & median wage”.
    It begins with a brief explanation of a transferable Import Certificates trade proposal. That proposal would significantly decrease USA’s trade deficit, increase our GDP, induce increases of our exports and median wage and would not increase government’s net spending.

    For further explanation of this trade proposal you can also refer to www.USA-Trade-Deficit.Blogspot.com
    or Google: wikipedia, import certificates.

    Respectfully, Supposn

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    Ah, thread necromancy for a debate that happened 6 years ago...
    Why pray when you can Google?

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