Which of the following scenarios do you find most plausible?
Scenario A: To motivate my favorite student to excel in class, I promise that I will not only grade his tests and papers more favorably than other students’ work, but that I will only give him high grades regardless. His performance. This student, thankful for the privilege he’s been given, grudgingly turns his nose to the academic grind. He studies hard and diligently. Protected from failure by his special interest, at the end of the semester my ‘protection’ inspired this student’s academic diligence, making him my star student. He no longer needs special protection to be good in the classroom.
Condition B: In order to motivate my favorite student to excel in class, I promise that I will not only choose the tests and papers over studying the work of other students, but also only give him high marks for his performance. This student, grateful for the privilege, closed in on the classroom. The research will be wise, and the writing will be inspired and stupid. The overall performance in the class is poor. Protected from failure by his special advantage, this student’s only hope of ‘passing’ his class at the end of the semester lies in keeping my promise to assign him a grade that far exceeds his grade.
I am confident that, like me, you find it very convincing. Indeed, scenario A, while conceivable, is practically ridiculous. (If scenario A were realistic, schools would long ago have stopped assessing student achievement by giving tests. Schools would have unconditionally promised students high scores.)
Tariff protection is similar to condition B, although it is often sold as condition A. Tariff is not only a diligent effort by entrepreneurs, businesses and workers to achieve economic excellence, but also to strive to achieve academic excellence from students beyond the guarantee of low ratings.
The school example helps illustrate the second flaw in the argument that tariff protection is necessary for the home country to develop better comparative advantages: each student is striving to improve his or her comparative advantage.
When I was a freshman in college, I worked at a supermarket bagging groceries. Such a low-cost skill was my comparative advantage then. But I didn’t want to spend the rest of my career picking up groceries. So I left college, studied hard, and turned into something bigger than a grocery bag, knowing my comparative advantage. I did not need government protection to achieve this improvement in my comparative advantage. To help me become an economist and make a living in that profession, the government did not artificially prevent trained economists from teaching, teaching and researching. (If the government had done that, I’m sure I’d be a poorer economist than I could have been.) I continued to work at low-wage jobs throughout college because it gave me better comparisons. advantage.
Reality is full of individuals and organizations striving to improve their comparative advantage. These individuals and companies are not protected by the government in their chosen workplaces and markets because of Absence of such protection. Every day employees strive to improve their skills. Every day, businesses aim to increase their efficiency in providing certain goods or services. Every day, there are improvements on the comparative advantage. There is strong evidence to support this claim The real income of Americans has risen steadily over the past decade and is still growing..
Yet none of these improvements in comparative advantage took place behind walls of protection or other government-constructed privileges. The constant improvement in comparative advantage is the result of individual initiative driven to a great extent by market prices and wages. So there is no compelling case for the government to protect any of us from foreign competition in order to improve our comparative advantage as Americans.
Leave a Reply