1. A representative of the American clothing industry recently made the following statement: “Workers in Asia often work in sweatshop conditions earning only pennies an hour. American workers are more productive and as a result earn higher wages. In order to preserve the dignity of the American workplace, the government should enact legislation banning imports of low-wage Asian clothing.” Answer the following: (10 points)
a. Which parts of this quote are positive statements? Which parts are normative
The positive statements are, “Workers in Asia often work in sweatshop conditions
earning only pennies an hour” and “American workers are more productive and as a
result earn higher wages.”
My reasoning for this is because the statements thereof try to describe the way things
workplace, the government should enact legislation banning imports of low-wage
My reasoning for this is because this statement tries to give advice and prescribe a
possible solution, “enact legislation.” (Geoff)
b. Would such a policy make some Americans better off without making any other
Americans worse off? Explain who and why.
Americans would benefit and be hurt at the same time. The pros would be, because
there is a ban on low-wage imports, this would create hundreds of thousands of jobs;
mainly jobs for the lower-income families. And because there would be a spike in
available jobs, more people would be working and most likely be spending more
money (which is great for the economy).
On the negative side, almost any work done in America is more expensive. This is
bad because that means rather than a shirt being $10 dollars at Wal-Mart, the price
could easily balloon to $30 a shirt. This is quite scary, if you think about the hundreds
of products that you buy could be affected by the ban. But once again, this would
heavily affect the poor and even the lower middle-class.
c. Would low-wage Asian workers benefit from or be hurt by such a policy and why?
Asian workers would be severely hurt by the ban. America is known for excess, and
even though a shirt in America would be $30, Americans would still get by just fine.
The Asian workers, on the other hand, have larger families and do not live a life of
excess. Many Asian families are, literally, barely making it, and a ban on a product in
their country would cause factory shutdowns along with a tidal wave of unemployment.
There would be widespread economic issues in the Asian markets if the policy went
2. Referring to the same situation in question 1, but instead of legislation banning the imports, assume that the government enacts a special tax on imported clothing that is so high that the selling price of the imports would be equal to the selling price of the same clothing made in America. This kind of tax is called a tariff and is enacted to protect domestic producers of the same items that can be imported at much lower costs. Answer the following: (10 points)
a. What would shoppers see when they shopped in Wal-Mart and the other “big box”
stores that sell so many imported items?
Prices would go way up because we would have to create these products here at home.
The manufacturing of goods nationally (here locally) is exponentially more expensive
that creating those same products overseas.
b. Would this tax policy have a better effect, worse effect, or no different effect on
American workers than the legislation banning the imports discussed in question 1?
What kind of effect would the tax have on the Asian workers?
American workers would definitely be affected by the higher costs of products. After
the legislation is enacted, and companies would be force to raise prices to pay for
the products to be made here in America. Thus, there would be a lower consumption
of those products by the average American because of the hired prices.
Asian workers would also be affected by this as well. Because factories would close in
Asian countries, there would be a scarcity of jobs. Because Asian governments would
lose millions of dollars, they would have to find other ways of generating revenue.
Asian taxes would go up as a way to offset the millions of dollars of lost revenue from
the closed factories.
3. A growing economy means that the economy is producing more and more “stuff”, either because it has more resources (workers), or uses those resources more productively (smarter, better workers, working with better machines and systems). A growing economy that produces more and more “stuff” normally means that the people have a higher and higher standard of living. If the government adopts a “free trade” policy towards all imports, including the low cost clothing of question 1 and 2, in which it places no barriers to importing items, can that action help the economy to grow? Explain your answer. (10 points)
One great aspect of “free trade” is that many believe it stimulates economic growth and perhaps adds resiliency to economies. There is also the added benefit of adding to positive foreign relations, establishing solid foreign policy, as well as just general world economic progress. The reason free-trade can stimulate growth is because this allows a country to focus on what they do best, and not have to worry about things they can just import; everyone benefits from the specialist.
On the down side, “free trade” can lead to trading blocs centered on the United States. Trade barriers could easily form like this. Also, as exports go up, imports also go up – which really is not the best strategy to maintain a strong economy. There is also the consideration that you do not want a single country maintaining a monopoly on any given product. (Bruce)
So yes, free trade can help economies to grow, because it “greases the gears” so to speak. It allows the United States to easily develop foreign policy which in turn will pump money into that particular country; but there is are downsides that have to be acknowledged as well.
Riley, Geoff. (09/2006). AS Markets & Market Systems. Retrieved on 06/17/2012, from
Investopedia.(n.d.). The Basics Of Tariffs And Trade Barriers. Retrieved on 06/17/2012, from