Free Trade Vs. Protectionism: Japan and Cuba

The debate of free trade vs. protectionism is something that will always be a part of history. Political forces will never allow free trade to reign. Politicians are re-elected so often that the long term industrial adjustment it takes would cause the people to vote the politician out. Instead, the benefits of free trade and the costs of protectionism only goes to those in the long term and they do not vote.

A good example here is Cuba vs. Japan. As most people know, we have relatively free trade with Japan and we have an embargo with Cuba. The purpose of the Cuban embargo is to force them to form a democracy. The purpose of free trade with Japan is that after World War II we rebuilt them and we enjoy the fruits of their labor. Which policy has produced the most democracy?

These two countries are somewhat hard to compare because of the World War II relations with Japan. Some could argue that they got a democracy when we took it over, but regardless, trade has ensured wealth that in turn has assured democracy. On the other hand, Communism has kept the Cubans poor and have assured that democracy will only be followed by economic freedom.

Republicans are pro-free trade and pro-Cuban embargo while the Democrats are anti-free trade and anti-Cuban embargo. Both parties are for democracy. This shows that Republicans do not understand the relations between trade and democracy, while the Democrats don’t understand the relation between trade and wealth.

So to the new President and the future of America, look at these examples over history. I have searched for numbers and cannot find them over time but the human and democracy indexes are much higher in Japan.


Published in: on November 23, 2008 at 10:04 pm  Comments (4)  
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