World Economic Policies: Free Trade, Fair Trade, Free Fall?

World Affairs Discussion Luncheon

Presenter:  Dr. Tom Pogue, Retired Professor of Economics, Graduate School of the University of Iowa

Location:  Santa Fe Hilton, 100 Sandoval Street

Cost:  $25/Members; $32/Non-members & Guests

Reservation Deadline:  Thursday, March 19

In today’s highly interconnected economies, the flow of trade among countries depends not only on trade policies narrowly defined as tariffs, quotas and other direct barriers to imports and subsidies of exports.  Each nation’s environmental, labor and domestic tax and spending policies also influence the terms on which it trades with other nations—the prices that its businesses and consumers accept for exports and pay for imports.  This fact raises the question of what is meant by free trade or fair trade.  Free trade cannot be narrowly and simply defined as the absence of overt barriers to trade.  Reflecting this, Pogue’s comments will focus on often-asked questions about international trade with the following questions in mind.

  1. What is free trade?
  2. What benefits does trade promise?
  3. Does trade benefit all persons in the trading countries?
  4. Do we want to trade products that are produced without adequate environmental controls or appropriate treatment of workers?
  5. Is “buy American” a good policy?
  6. What would be good policies to counter the worldwide recession? “Buy American?”
  7. Can the U.S. prosper without trade?
  8. Are foreign holdings of U.S. debt a problem?
  9. Is the U.S. trade deficit a problem?

Thomas F. Pogue is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Tippie College of Business, The University of Iowa.  His research, specializing in state and local government tax and expenditure policy, is widely published in academic and professional journals and books.  In addition to his academic research, he has worked closely with political and business leaders on a number of economic policy studies.  He received a Ph.D degree in economics from Yale University in 1968, a M.S. degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University in 1962 and a B.S. degree in agricultural economics from New Mexico State University in 1957.  He served as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force 1957-1960.

For Informed discussants:  For background read the chapters dealing with international trade in any basic economics text.   Dr. Pogue will be using these concepts when talking about current conditions.  The other suggestion is Economic Report of the President 2009, Chapter 4.  This chapter presents the view of international trade and investment that has guided U.S. policy for the past several decades.  This is a “rose-colored-glasses” view; Dr. Pogue will talk some about the problems and issues it glosses over.  Also, for those who want to get into data on the trade sector of our economy, check out appendix tables B2 and B103 in the Economic Report of the President.