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    as each country today thinks about restricting imports and protecting their markets, what in your opinion still motivates firms to engage in international business?


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    Criticisms of Globalization: Threats to National Sovereignty

    There are many reasons why companies expand internationally and this article discusses some of the reasons for this expansion. The focus of the article is on western companies since they have been engaged in expansion for centuries whereas the Asian companies have been doing this for a few decades.

    Criticisms of Globalization: Threats to National Sovereignty

    It is not only about Profits

    Of the many criticisms of globalization, the prominent critique relates to the fact that globalization erodes national sovereignty and takes away the power of governments. By allowing international corporations and multinational businesses to set the economic (and often, the political agenda), critics argue that the nation state becomes irrelevant. The point to be noted is that if global corporations can set the agenda, there is nothing inherently wrong about that. Just that capitalism runs on the profit motive to the exclusion of everything else and hence, businesses simply cannot be allowed to set the terms of the political and economic discourse because the nation state is answerable to all citizens and not just to the wealthy and privileged. It needs to be mentioned that nation states exist for welfare of the citizens and not for making profits alone. By usurping the powers of the nation state, the corporations reduce everything to money and profits and this has a corrosive effect on the welfare of the citizens.

    One World Market

    Ever since the 1990s, it has become fashionable for corporations to demand global rules of doing business that are uniform across the world. In other words, international businesses want the same set of rules and procedures in all countries i.e. the right to repatriate profits, the right to exploit natural resources, uniform taxes, and tax structures, the removal of barriers on entry and exit, among other things. This means that the notion of a global marketplace that is consistent across nations and one that is friendly to the corporations is the aim of this endeavor. This is definitely a plan to take away the power of the governments to set the rules and though there are many experts who point to the enabling features of globalization especially where lifting billions of people out of poverty is concerned, critics are aghast that the poor and underprivileged who are already suffering would be hit by a double whammy.

    National Sovereignty vs. Supranational Corporations

    Given the fact that some multinationals have more revenues than some countries entire economic output, the power of these companies is indeed deep and wide. Hence, the temptation to override national governments and instead, set supranational rules to be followed results in the ceding of sovereignty by the governments. As has been discussed in the previous sections, this results in the notion of profits before people and does away with the basic humanitarian impulse that is behind the modern concept of democratic states.

    The supranational economic order does not have allegiance to nations or nationalities but to super elite whose interests span across countries and whose loyalties lie to the economic principles that are devoid of humane and social objectives.

    Concluding Thoughts

    Finally, global corporations have grown in power in recent decades and this trend while contributing to global growth has also produced sharp inequalities and led to exacerbation of ethnic and social tensions between the haves and the have-nots. Hence, there needs to be a moderation in the way global corporations are allowed to usurp the power of national governments and the way in which national sovereignty is ceded to the international businesses.

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    स्रोत : www.managementstudyguide.com

    17.3 Restrictions on International Trade – Principles of Economics


    Learning Objectives

    Define the term protectionist policy and illustrate the general impact in a market subject to protectionist policy.

    Describe the various forms of protectionist policy.

    Discuss and assess the arguments used to justify trade restrictions.

    In spite of the strong theoretical case that can be made for free international trade, every country in the world has erected at least some barriers to trade. Trade restrictions are typically undertaken in an effort to protect companies and workers in the home economy from competition by foreign firms. A protectionist policy is one in which a country restricts the importation of goods and services produced in foreign countries. The slowdown in the U.S. economy late in 2007 and in 2008 has produced a new round of protectionist sentiment—one that became a factor in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.

    The United States, for example, uses protectionist policies to limit the quantity of foreign-produced sugar coming into the United States. The effect of this policy is to reduce the supply of sugar in the U.S. market and increase the price of sugar in the United States. The 2008 U.S. Farm Bill sweetened things for sugar growers even more. It raised the price they are guaranteed to receive and limited imports of foreign sugar so that American growers will always have at least 85% of the domestic market. The bill for the first time set an income limit—only growers whose incomes fall below $1.5 million per year (for couples) or $750,000 for individuals will receive direct subsidies (The Wall Street Journal, 2008).

    The U.S. price of sugar is almost triple the world price of sugar, thus reducing the quantity consumed in the United States. The program benefits growers of sugar beets and sugar cane at the expense of consumers.

    Figure 17.10 The Impact of Protectionist Policies

    Protectionist policies reduce the quantities of foreign goods and services supplied to the country that imposes the restriction. As a result, such policies shift the supply curve to the left for the good or service whose imports are restricted. In the case shown, the supply curve shifts to S2, the equilibrium price rises to P2, and the equilibrium quantity falls to Q2.

    Source: Historical Statistics, Colonial Times to 1970: Statistical Abstract of the United States 1998, Table no. 1325; Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1990; U.S. International Commission (http://dataweb.usitc.gov/prepared_reports.asp).

    In general, protectionist policies imposed for a particular good always reduce its supply, raise its price, and reduce the equilibrium quantity, as shown in Figure 17.11 “U.S. Tariff Rates, 1820–2005”. Protection often takes the form of an import tax or a limit on the amount that can be imported, but it can also come in the form of voluntary export restrictions and other barriers.


    A tariff is a tax on imported goods and services. The average tariff on dutiable imports in the United States (that is, those imports on which a tariff is imposed) is about 4%. Some imports have much higher tariffs. For example, the U.S. tariff on imported frozen orange juice is 35 cents per gallon (which amounts to about 40% of value). The tariff on imported canned tuna is 35%, and the tariff on imported shoes ranges between 2% and 48%.

    A tariff raises the cost of selling imported goods. It thus shifts the supply curve for goods to the left, as in Figure 17.10 “The Impact of Protectionist Policies”. The price of the protected good rises and the quantity available to consumers falls.

    Antidumping Proceedings

    One of the most common protectionist measures now in use is the antidumping proceeding. A domestic firm, faced with competition by a foreign competitor, files charges with its government that the foreign firm is dumping, or charging an “unfair” price. Under rules spelled out in international negotiations that preceded approval of the World Trade Organization, an unfair price was defined as a price below production cost or below the price the foreign firm charges for the same good in its own country. While these definitions may seem straightforward enough, they have proven to be quite troublesome. The definition of “production cost” is a thoroughly arbitrary procedure. In defining cost, the government agency invariably includes a specification of a “normal” profit. That normal profit can be absurdly high. The United States Department of Justice, which is the U.S. agency in charge of determining whether a foreign firm has charged an unfair price, has sometimes defined normal profit rates as exceeding production cost by well over 50%, a rate far higher than exists in most U.S. industry.

    The practice of a foreign firm charging a price in the United States that is below the price it charges in its home country is common. The U.S. market may be more competitive, or the foreign firm may simply be trying to make its product attractive to U.S. buyers that are not yet accustomed to its product. In any event, such price discrimination behavior is not unusual and is not necessarily “unfair.”

    In the United States, once the Department of Justice has determined that a foreign firm is guilty of charging an unfair price, the U.S. International Trade Commission must determine that the foreign firm has done material harm to the U.S. firm. If a U.S. firm has suffered a reduction in sales and thus in employment it will typically be found to have suffered material harm, and punitive duties will be imposed.

    स्रोत : open.lib.umn.edu

    International Trade: Commerce among Nations

    Nations are almost always better off when they buy and sell from one another





    7 MIN READ


    Nations are almost always better off when they buy and sell from one another

    If there is a point on which most economists agree, it is that trade among nations makes the world better off. Yet international trade can be one of the most contentious of political issues, both domestically and between governments.

    When a firm or an individual buys a good or a service produced more cheaply abroad, living standards in both countries increase. There are other reasons consumers and firms buy abroad that also make them better off—the product may better fit their needs than similar domestic offerings or it may not be available domestically. In any case, the foreign producer also benefits by making more sales than it could selling solely in its own market and by earning foreign exchange (currency) that can be used by itself or others in the country to purchase foreign-made products.

    Still, even if societies as a whole gain when countries trade, not every individual or company is better off. When a firm buys a foreign product because it is cheaper, it benefits—but the (more costly) domestic producer loses a sale. Usually, however, the buyer gains more than the domestic seller loses. Except in cases in which the costs of production do not include such social costs as pollution, the world is better off when countries import products that are produced more efficiently in other countries.

    Those who perceive themselves to be affected adversely by foreign competition have long opposed international trade. Soon after economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo established the economic basis for free trade, British historian Thomas B. Macaulay was observing the practical problems governments face in deciding whether to embrace the concept: “Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular.”

    Two centuries later trade debates still resonate.

    Why countries trade

    In one of the most important concepts in economics, Ricardo observed that trade was driven by comparative rather than absolute costs (of producing a good). One country may be more productive than others in all goods, in the sense that it can produce any good using fewer inputs (such as capital and labor) than other countries require to produce the same good. Ricardo’s insight was that such a country would still benefit from trading according to its comparative advantage—exporting products in which its absolute advantage was greatest, and importing products in which its absolute advantage was comparatively less (even if still positive).

    Comparative advantage

    Even a country that is more efficient (has absolute advantage) in everything it makes would benefit from trade. Consider an example:

    Country A: One hour of labor can produce either three kilograms of steel or two shirts. Country B: One hour of labor can produce either one kilogram of steel or one shirt.

    Country A is more efficient in both products. Now suppose Country B offers to sell Country A two shirts in exchange for 2.5 kilograms of steel.

    To produce these additional two shirts, Country B diverts two hours of work from producing (two kilograms) steel. Country A diverts one hour of work from producing (two) shirts. It uses that hour of work to instead produce three additional kilograms of steel.

    Overall, the same number of shirts is produced: Country A produces two fewer shirts, but Country B produces two additional shirts. However, more steel is now produced than before: Country A produces three additional kilograms of steel, while Country B reduces its steel output by two kilograms. The extra kilogram of steel is a measure of the gains from trade.

    Though a country may be twice as productive as its trading partners in making clothing, if it is three times as productive in making steel or building airplanes, it will benefit from making and exporting these products and importing clothes. Its partner will gain by exporting clothes—in which it has a comparative but not absolute advantage—in exchange for these other products (see box). The notion of comparative advantage also extends beyond physical goods to trade in services—such as writing computer code or providing financial products.

    Because of comparative advantage, trade raises the living standards of both countries. Douglas Irwin (2009) calls comparative advantage “good news” for economic development. “Even if a developing country lacks an absolute advantage in any field, it will always have a comparative advantage in the production of some goods,” and will trade profitably with advanced economies.

    Differences in comparative advantage may arise for several reasons. In the early 20th century, Swedish economists Eli Heckscher and Bertil Ohlin identified the role of labor and capital, so-called factor endowments, as a determinant of advantage. The Heckscher-Ohlin proposition maintains that countries tend to export goods whose production uses intensively the factor of production that is relatively abundant in the country. Countries well endowed with capital—such as factories and machinery—should export capital-intensive products, while those well endowed with labor should export labor-intensive products. Economists today think that factor endowments matter, but that there are also other important influences on trade patterns (Baldwin, 2008).

    स्रोत : www.imf.org

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