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Disadvantages Of Free Trade

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Globalization has changed the way people trade drastically. Products that once had to be manufactured from start to finish locally can now be quickly sourced from other countries at a fraction of the price. The idea of comparative advantage has some merits; a population with a technological or environmental advantage can produce items much more efficiently than another population that does not have the same resources (Sernau, 2012, p. 58). However, one of the “advantages” that has surfaced with the advent of globalization is cheap labor; shrewd businessmen have identified countries with weaker labor and environmental protections, and have exploited these areas in order to maximize their companies’ profits. Theoretically, if all nations were…show more content…
62). Free trade encourages innovation and frees countries to pursue the particular industries they are best suited to. However, the exploitation of labor (as mentioned above) and the “Golden Rule,” where wealthier countries control the growth of developing countries has soured the ideal image. I am more in agreement with the opponents of free trade, I enjoy a materialistic and comfortable life, but it is disheartening to realize that it is at the expense of someone else’s…show more content…
Division of labor means that workers are proficient only in a small range of skills, and it is often difficult to move to different jobs. In division of labor workers are expendable, and a large unemployed work force means that a laborer cannot unionize or go on strike if their work conditions are unsatisfactory, because they will be quickly and easily replaced. Coupled with the fact that workers have families to feed and provide for, workers opt to persist in conditions that are underpaid, rather than not being paid at all. The best way to promote the rights of these workers is through fair trade, with customers paying a little more, and corporations generating a little less profit in return for paying laborers living wages. If a daunting concept at first, fair trade is possible. Part of making fair trade an applicable concept is instituting a universal minimum wage, ensuring that there is not one market that is more vulnerable than another. Additionally, as Sernau proposes, wealthier consumers can help by “[making] do with fewer novelties, adornments, and luxuries and invest instead in the lives and development of communities” (2012, p. 66). Among commonly sold fair trade products are soap, chocolate, coffee and
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