Free trade - is it still a British ideal?

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LE
Book Reviewer
#1
From the repeal of the corn laws to the Import Duties Act in 1932 Great Britain arguably enjoyed it's most successful years. Churchill even left the Tories for the Liberals in protest at their stance against free trade. And often campaigned exclusively on Free Trade.

And I think at some level I have always considered the very idea of Free Trade to be a British ideal.. along with Equality under the Law and Freedom of Speech.

Now clearly if it is then we don't practise what we preach... The EU common external tariffs act on all of our Rest of the World imports and the tariff revenue goes to the EU rather than the exchequer ( about £12 billion).

You could boil brexit down to those arguing that the single market is the most important and only market that requires Free Trade, versus those who see Free Trade as a worldwide emancipator and ideal in itself. Though the issue is surrounded in complexity and cherry picked tariff examples of professed doom that Nostradamus would be ashamed of.

So does the desire for free trade still exist and why do some appear to fear it?
 
#2
So does the desire for free trade still exist and why do some appear to fear it?
Free trade is great when your country is doing more selling than it is buying, it becomes a problem when it's the other way around and we cant compete, lose jobs and profit.
 

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LE
Book Reviewer
#3
Free trade is great when your country is doing more selling than it is buying, it becomes a problem when it's the other way around and we cant compete, lose jobs and profit.
So not an ideal in your mind.... Merely conditional upon perceived advantage?
 
#4
So not an ideal in your mind.... Merely conditional upon perceived advantage?
Like any trade deal, you do what is to your advantage. Tarriffs can be as equally as good or bad.
 

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LE
Book Reviewer
#5
But... Is Free Trade an ideal in and of itself in your mind?

And if so why do you think it only applies to surplusses?
 
#6
But... Is Free Trade an ideal in and of itself in your mind?

And if so why do you think it only applies to surplusses?

Its an ideal if I benefit from it.

Although not an exact science, if you are flogging more than you are buying, you will be richer, if its the other way around, you will be poorer.
 

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LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Thread was meant to be somewhat higher minded and philosophical than that but...

Why do you consider that buying cheaper goods as imports would make you poorer? Are you implicitly talking about GDP here? In which case imports are subtracted from it, hence the cheaper the goods imported the less GDP you lose?
 
#8
As far as I can see free trade should be the ideal of all thinking economies because anything that inhibits trade inhibits both economies. Narrow minded nationalists believe it only works one way, ignoring the fact that the stronger economy will always win a trade war and thus introducing trade barriers because you are the weaker economy is a short term palliative only. Sadly it can be electorally popular because most of the electorate are economically illiterate. The idea that there is an actual 'national' you to be poorer if you're "flogging less than you're buying" doesn't seem to me to have a foundation. Government sales taxes are levied on all products regardless of origin so the government profits more from large sales of imports than it does from small sales of imports. In addition import controls encourage internal industry to be lazy and inefficient because it has no competition. Ask yourself what state would the UK car market be in if we had to buy home built cars from home owned factories. If you're not sure think about the Iron Curtain markets before the fall of the Soviet system.
 
#9
Every advanced economy in the world is protectionist.

Free trade only works if everyone plays by the same philosophy.

Otherwise the freetraders domestic industry gets shafted, as the UK may be about to find out...
 
#10
Thread was meant to be somewhat higher minded and philosophical than that but...

Why do you consider that buying cheaper goods as imports would make you poorer? Are you implicitly talking about GDP here? In which case imports are subtracted from it, hence the cheaper the goods imported the less GDP you lose?
I'm talking about all aspects of what is to gain and lose. as individuals, most would probably see cheaper goods but they might not link higher tax taxes to offset job losses in their own country.
The biggest advocates of free trade are the multi nationals who can move their factories to wherever is the cheapest and sell to wherever is the most expensive. they won't give a **** about people's jobs or income tax.
 
#11
As far as I can see free trade should be the ideal of all thinking economies because anything that inhibits trade inhibits both economies. Narrow minded nationalists believe it only works one way, ignoring the fact that the stronger economy will always win a trade war and thus introducing trade barriers because you are the weaker economy is a short term palliative only. Sadly it can be electorally popular because most of the electorate are economically illiterate. The idea that there is an actual 'national' you to be poorer if you're "flogging less than you're buying" doesn't seem to me to have a foundation. Government sales taxes are levied on all products regardless of origin so the government profits more from large sales of imports than it does from small sales of imports. In addition import controls encourage internal industry to be lazy and inefficient because it has no competition. Ask yourself what state would the UK car market be in if we had to buy home built cars from home owned factories. If you're not sure think about the Iron Curtain markets before the fall of the Soviet system.
You agree then that the EU is utterly shit when it comes to trade due to all the tariffs it has on those outside of the EU?
 
#12
You agree then that the EU is utterly shit when it comes to trade due to all the tariffs it has on those outside of the EU?
Yes, one of the reasons we will be better off leaving will be cheaper sources of food because world suppliers in warmer climates can supply cheaper than the subsidised inefficient EU farmers.
 

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LE
Book Reviewer
#13
Every advanced economy in the world is protectionist.

Free trade only works if everyone plays by the same philosophy.

Otherwise the freetraders domestic industry gets shafted, as the UK may be about to find out...
Your first statment doesn't seem to hold any truth. the mos advanced economies are quite clearly those who have embraced free trade the most.

Your second too doesn't seem to hold. Free Trade nations still trade with protectionist... It still works. Despite the different philosophies.

Nor your third... eficient and competetive industry succeeds despite protectionsim or free trade.
 
#14
Yes, one of the reasons we will be better off leaving will be cheaper sources of food because world suppliers in warmer climates can supply cheaper than the subsidised inefficient EU farmers.
Which would mean our own farmers will face increased competition.
 

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LE
Book Reviewer
#15
You agree then that the EU is utterly shit when it comes to trade due to all the tariffs it has on those outside of the EU?
And worth pointing out again that these tariffs are the EU's own resources. They buy Juncker's brandy.

We collect £12+ billion in EU tariffs per year from our rest of the World imports, though for some unknown cuckly technicality of naming these aren't considered to be part of our contribution to the EU budget.
 
#16
Which would mean our own farmers will face increased competition.
They already do and the clever ones are working round it by diversifying. You would presumably keep them happy by effectively taxing the rest of the population [through higher prices of the controlled market] so that they can carry on as before. That was the theory for ship making, the steel industry, the coal mines, partly the car industry in the 1970's, and didn't that turn out well.
 

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LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Which would mean our own farmers will face increased competition.
Other than Welsh sheep being infested by spunk I suspect our livestock to be just as competetive as any other.
 
#18
Every advanced economy in the world is protectionist.
That's because the populations of every advanced economy are CINOs - capitalists in name only. In reality, it's a 'sing when you're winning' commitment to free trade and free markets that evaporates the moment the rules of the game cease to automatically favour said populations.

Once that happens, the tune very quickly changes.
 
#19
Your first statment doesn't seem to hold any truth. the mos advanced economies are quite clearly those who have embraced free trade the most.

Your second too doesn't seem to hold. Free Trade nations still trade with protectionist... It still works. Despite the different philosophies.

Nor your third... eficient and competetive industry succeeds despite protectionsim or free trade.
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The country that imposes the most restrictions on trade might surprise you

So who are the Free traders?
 
#20
Other than Welsh sheep being infested by spunk I suspect our livestock to be just as competetive as any other.
i doubt it. Farmer palmer paying minimum wage to the poles to pick carrots will cost him more than Farmer Unbungo in an African country paying pennies to his workers.
 

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