Economics/Class Relations

The American Protectionist Economy of The Past and The Protectionist Economy of The Future

For almost the last 80 years the United States has had a free trade and global economy. Meaning countries do trade with very little restrictions on their economies such as no tariffs and government subsides.  This has led to globalization, outsourcing of American jobs, dependence on foreign countries, less regulations and unions, suppression of wages, the destruction of smaller producer everywhere, mass immigration of both legal and illegal migration to America and brain drains in developing countries. In other words, free trade has had serve negative effects on the working class and has led to corporations to globally expanded meaning they have more power over economies, governments, and the average person.

Despite the myth of America always being a free trade or even free market economy. The American economy was not always a free trade economy but rather was a protectionist economy that protected local industries and jobs throughout most of its existence. In fact, part of the reason why the American revolution was fought was because America did not want to rely on Britain for manufacturing and not be allowed to industrialize. In this article I will go over a brief history of protectionism in America, why it was adopted then abandon, and how we may return to a protectionist economy and how to avoid from making same mistakes.

History of Protectionism

As mentioned earlier the American Revolution was not just fought over unfair taxation but Britain also had enacted laws to prevent America from industrializing such as a ban on high value manufacturing in hopes to keep America an agrarian colony that produced raw materials for British industrialist to then sell those products to America. Basically, to keep America dependent on British industries. Many of the founding father such as George Washington believed the only way to be truly independent was also to be economically independent. The second law to be passed under Washington presidency was the Tariff Act of 1789 which put a 5 percent tariff or tax on all imported goods in hopes of encouraging the consumer to buy domestic goods.


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