Development of Free Trade in the 1990s and the New Rhetoric of Protectionism

Author: Patterson, Seymour
This book looks at the disparity in the conversation among economists and politicians of free trade as a paradigm for economic efficiency, in contrast to the practice of trade restrictions around the world, including in countries such as the United States which advocates of free trade. Free trade rhetoric is commonplace. However, what appears to be the goal of advocates is freer trade, because for many reasons countries will always restrict trade. Even major advocates of free trade themselves practice restricted trade, which implicitly must benefit to advocates above the free trade alternative model. Nevertheless, international bodies promote free trade—WTO, EU, NAFTA, CAFTA. But, domestic companies and entities—steel, labor unions—lobby for protection. The study does not argue against free trade. It maintains that the free-trade debate has garnered followers around the world; since 1980s there has been a rush to free trade. The free-trade movement in Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere has to overcome a political–cost-benefit calculus. In the prevailing climate of free-trade promotion, the nuanced argument posited here is less frequently made. The free-trade discussion in this book can engage a wide array of people such as students, businessmen, and politicians.


“In his erudite book, Dr. Patterson explains to the educated layperson the fundamentals and theories concerning free trade, the advantages of free trade, the disadvantages of free trade, the realities of free trade, the role of politics and politicians in the establishing of such policy, and a whole host of other issues important to anyone who wants to be an educated voter on the subject of international trade policy. Nonetheless, he does so within the context of the debates and issues framed primarily during the 1990s – which sheds light on similar debates today ... Yes, we have had some free trade in some sectors, and it is increasing. But in many sectors, especially agriculture, very little free trade exists, despite rhetoric to the contrary. For example, much of our trade with Japan has really been ‘managed trade’ as opposed to ‘free trade’ ... This book is a timely addition in the examination of the theories of free trade, the politics of free trade, and the realities of free trade during the last decade.” – (from the Preface) Professor John J. Quinn, Truman State University, Missouri

“ ... This book presents honest professional analysis of many important issues related to this topic. It is more than an overview of the basics; the author examines many economic events that happened in the 1990s masterfully and incorporates them immaculately into the existing body of economic theory ... Dr. Patterson’s account of economic theory provides readers with a sensitive, intelligent, and insightful point of view about development of international trade. For those who argue in favor of absolutism with respect to free trade, Dr. Patterson offers candid reasons that help them realize that the argument is more complex that it was thought to be ...” – Professor Reza Varjavand, Saint Xavier University, Chicago

Table of Contents

Preface by John J. Quinn
List of Figures
List of Tables
1. Mixed Messages on Trade
2. On Global Trade
3. Removing Trade Barriers
4. Realities of Trade Practices and Consequences
5. The Japanese Problem and Economic Success
6. Protectionism as a Policy for Growth Promotion
7. Trade Schizophrenia
8. Government Intervention in International Trade