Chelsea Archambeau
Dr. Joe Helminski
English 1520
22 September 2009
Analysis of an Argument:
The Real Effects of Trade Restrictions on the Economy
In his paper, “Shooting Ourselves in the Economy,” written for Yahoo! Finance, Charles Wheelan argues for an opinion that is unpopular nowadays, especially right here in Michigan: he argues for international trade. He does a good job of it, too; his case is set up logically, his writing is succinct and clear, and he makes rational conclusions based on historically proven observations. In short, his argument makes sense.
Wheelan begins by briefly explaining the concept of trade sanctions, the isolation of “rogue actors” from the global economy as a form of punishment. He then draws a parallel between economic blockades and the economic policy of protectionism, terming it “a self-imposed embargo.” Calling for restricted world trade essentially has the same effects as an economic sanction. Though new jobs are created to replace imports, the economy ultimately ends up worse for the wear: it becomes less efficient, and actually takes money away from the average consumer. The substitution goods are of poorer quality or more expensive, companies that use input products from other countries suffer, and businesses like restaurants lose customers who now have to pay more for domestic versions of basic goods.
The author’s claim is obvious: restricting trade is bad for the economy. He states, outright, that restricting trade leaves a country “poorer and less productive.” Equally obvious are the reasons he uses to support his claim; Wheelan actually uses a numbered list format to identify each of them. First, he contends that the jobs created through import substitution yield a poorer, yet more expensive, product than the imports. Additionally, jobs in the export sector are destroyed, businesses that rely on imported equipment or supplies are crippled, and the average consumer has less money to spend, resulting in a loss...