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Old 01-28-2009, 10:48 AM   #1
mur'phon
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Free trade?

Now that more and more countries are limiting free trade, I figured it would be a good time to hear everyones oppinion on free trade.
Personally I'm in favor of it, but I'm interested in seeing what you think.
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:56 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by mur'phon View Post
Now that more and more countries are limiting free trade, I figured it would be a good time to hear everyones oppinion on free trade.
Personally I'm in favor of it, but I'm interested in seeing what you think.
It depends, both countries have to be honoring the free trade, that means for example a government can't be subsidizing a company so it can undercut competition in another country.

It also means that intellectual property needs to be respected.


If one country isn't honoring the letter and spirit of the agreement, then it is simply taking advantage of the other country.
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:06 AM   #3
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Well, obviously, it is sorta part of the "free" in free trade
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:25 PM   #4
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Well, I think it was worked quite well so far in the EC - it's about the only aspect of the union that I find myself in agreement with.

It seemed that the removal of restrictions, inspections (except where necessary), standarising requirements on products (rules on size, weight, etc.) and the various other rules on advertising and quotas helped bolster the economies of the member states after the War.

Also, it is of benefit as (in theory at least) it serves to tighten relations between nations, as they end up as parties to the same Treaty - which is the level of legislation required, I would say, for any effective process. And a central Council.

But, back to the central question. Yes, I believe free trade to be beneficial for a state, or group of states. It has been proven to help improve economies. And now, of all times, it should be seriously considered by more nations.


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Old 02-18-2009, 03:20 AM   #5
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Okay. I wish to perhaps give a challenge to this thread. Mind you I am someone whose politics are rather a bit to the right as opposed to most here who seem to be on the left. I do not believe myself to be unreasonable though.

Now then...

I do believe it to be possibly beneficial for those involved. Possibly. All the wanton crud aside.

Surely mur'phon you understand the whole thing about products proudly being made in your country. Any nation should feel that way.

I would like to see made in America actually mean something again, personally. For a variety of reasons. Am I isolationist? Absolutely not. I would not wish to make anyone suffer either for that matter. In fact I believe that you, mur'phon, had something on how your country depends upon consumers in america?

However I do feel that America ought to return back to times it produced at least some of its own goods.
Part of it has to do with the economy, part of it national identity, part of it sound tactical strategy. Some hint of national pride (hold the arrogance).
Some of it work ethic.

I am an advocate for free trade. Free as in freedom of trade, freedom of choice. With those freedoms one caveat: NNNOOOTTT freedom from responsibility.

Being an advocate of free trade/capitalism I am also a critic of it as well. There is not enough accountability, nor responsibility. Lack of earnings on merit. Part of the reason for the current predicament is because these things.

Merit is realized in the excellence of products in the free market.
Merit is recorded, ruled upon, regulated by government.
HOWEVER Neither of those ARE the merit itself. It is in the spirit of a country's people. Work ethic in part. For various reasons lost now largely in the US I think. On all levels.

Accountability and responsibility. I essentially mean doing the right thing without having to be prodded to do it. Deciding to do it on your own, not because of rules or because you are told to do it.

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Originally Posted by mur'phon View Post
Well, obviously, it is sorta part of the "free" in free trade
Ah, but was it not you in some other thread talking about how rights and freedoms have responsibilities? Well, it was someone outside the US as I recall...... (Which I agree with, BTW)

Anyways, free is only in name. It is relative. There is no such thing as truly free because it will cost someone, somewhere, something. Free? Sort of, yes. Not totally though. Unfettered and left unchecked, it is a folly.

However, you did mention about how America does not face certain problems now that it no longer is a major producer. I would be interested to hear you out on this particular matter. I am always interested in this sort of insight.

I would contend, though, that eliminating this tier from the US infrastructure has rendered us vulnerable in some ways. As well as opened up a new set of problems and circumstances...I can expand on this if you would like.

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It depends, both countries have to be honoring the free trade, that means for example a government can't be subsidizing a company so it can undercut competition in another country.
Indeed.

I have been waiting to have a (ahem) civilized debate with you.

Don't worry, I won't troll you. But I may pursue you a bit.

Also the uneven economic play field has served as a way to stronghold for companies. Those that have it, great. Those on the low end, tough luck.

While I suppose this works for a time, after a while what you get is monopoly or oligopoly. Free market thrives and benefits most from competition. Which is killed by oligopoly and monopoly. This cannot be denied.

I am not about punishing the successful. I just think that the land of opportunity ought to hold a little more ......opportunity.

Dog-eat-dog, far too much of it, there is. --Inspired by Yoda

Let me make clear in no uncertain terms what I mean by dominating a market w.r.t. oligopoly and monopoly:
owning/controlling a vast majority (68%<) of the market/business.
At what point is it unreasonable? Harmful? What point is it cuthroat?

True the free market is not always fair or equal. Still, there ought to be some kind of opportunity and good chance for the clever, innovative, and hardworking folks. Not to say it doesn't exist today. In fact someone I know personally has, IMO, cornered a market yet to be explored. You can google "The energy drink outlet" and you'll get it. Try it if you don't believe me. (Website drink list is not fully populated yet.) I never saw so many brands of energy drink in one place at the same time--I tell ya what.
http://www.theenergydrinkoutlet.com

In a general sense though I have to wonder what large business is really doing to the country. What is it actually doing for the country?

In one theory/set of circumstances: On the one hand it *might* provide jobs. On the other, that may be the only jobs available and not much for opportunity. What of that?

When oligopoly and monopoly dominates? Well if money and business is the power in its industry or economic segment...I daresay that the power is centralized. Which is all too similar to another form of economy.

There will be stuff I will disagree with most people on; as I have seen things partially from a business owner perspective, yet many have not. I will agree to disagree.

However most will agree with me that for people who want to start a business, they are fighting an uphill battle in any circumstance.

I say it is regardless what type of administration is in office. Give me hell for saying it, but that is the truth.

Quote:
It also means that intellectual property needs to be respected.
If one country isn't honoring the letter and spirit of the agreement, then it is simply taking advantage of the other country.
TOTALLY agreed there. Then again who says it is just countries? Entities act out of their own interest all the time, no?

Generally, without honor, its foundation is corrupt. This is another largely missing element. People have to do the right thing, general population, corporate, or government.

Troubling how rules and regualtions can be put in place to try to keep honor and competition only to be ignored, selectively enforced, circumvented, or in some way made ineffective.

I have seen often that mismanagement of business or a lack of leadership of those in office (and I scathe BOTH deomcrats AND republicans in BOTH issues--so don't even go there) is a major cause for problems and soon enough it becomes a system that fights itself.

Free market AND government, as a result of humans being what they are, end up botched.

I think it can be a good thing but if left to its own devices to run-amok, that is not.

Just my sentiment. Take it for what you will I suppose. I will gladly attempt to clarify whatever you'd like.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:41 AM   #6
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Surely mur'phon you understand the whole thing about products proudly being made in your country. Any nation should feel that way.
I understand why people feel pride, but I don't, I find it irrational to value a product more simply because it is made in the country I'm currently residing in.

Quote:
In fact I believe that you, mur'phon, had something on how your country depends upon consumers in america?
My countries? No, but a lot of others do, demand is demand, and every business' job is to satisfy demand, which means that there are millions of businesses around the world targeting American demand, just as there are an insane amount of American businesses targeting outside demand.

Quote:
However I do feel that America ought to return back to times it produced at least some of its own goods.
Look up how much the US actually produce, it should make for uplifting reading.

Quote:
However, you did mention about how America does not face certain problems now that it no longer is a major producer. I would be interested to hear you out on this particular matter. I am always interested in this sort of insight.
First of all it still is a major producer, even in areas which it shouldn't be (the bloated subsidised mess called agriculture commes to mind). If you want me to elaborate, I would like you present what you think makes the situation a problem.

As an aside, Garfield is perma-banned from kavars, so he won't be responding
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:36 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mur'phon View Post
Now that more and more countries are limiting free trade, I figured it would be a good time to hear everyones oppinion on free trade.

Personally I'm in favor of it, but I'm interested in seeing what you think.
Free trade is partly responsible for the loss of middle-class jobs in America. Its a sound idea with the exception of a few big cons. Companies are able to take a job where someone gets paid $15 an hour in the US, and then go to China and India to hire someone to take their job for $5.00 an hour. Corporations build up the company there, and then go to another country when China and India wages go up.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:23 AM   #8
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Free trade is partly responsible for the loss of middle-class jobs in America.
Yet how many higher payd jobs haven't it created in return? To give two easy examples: When high-tech firms (an area the US have an advantage in) are able to export to other markets, it naturally means they'll employ new people in far higher paying jobs than the lower-end manufacturing they lost.

Another one, If clothes produced in China can be sold on the american market for 1/4 of the price of American clothes, consumers save a lot of money, money which will be spent on other things, and in a developed country that often means services, which are usually provided from within the country.

Yes, free trade means jobs within some sectors are lost, but the owerall number of jobs rarely decline because of it.

Quote:
Companies are able to take a job where someone gets paid $15 an hour in the US, and then go to China and India to hire someone to take their job for $5.00 an hour. Corporations build up the company there, and then go to another country when China and India wages go up.
Which is actually a good thing if you think about it, as it means poor countries get to use their advantage (low wages) and as they grow richer, they'll have to obtain/use their other comparative advantages. In adition, it means that you and I as consumers get (much) cheaper goods, leaving us money to buy more high end goods services, which create more, jobs, which means more people have money to buy goods and services, again more jobs, and so it continues (with a crash now and then).
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:33 AM   #9
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I wonder how free trade will be affected by companies going green. Most of the corporations out there still use oil.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:55 AM   #10
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Considering that governments are doing little to nothing about it atm, I'm not seeing the big problems. Later of course you could add a suitable tax for foreign products not meeting local regulation, which would admitedly hamper free trade, if implemented right, it would only be temprarly as companies adjust.

On the other hand, it would create a lot of new business opportunities as there would be demand both for clean tech, the products themselves, as well as experts to make sure people comply with the rules. In adition, a cap and trade scheme would be a nice market in itself, so more trade.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:17 AM   #11
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I was looking at the WTO site, and I have seen some scary rules.
http://www.wto.org/
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:44 AM   #12
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Just point out any rules you find scary, some might not be as bad as you think.
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:05 AM   #13
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Well, free trade is good, but during times like the Financial Crisis of today, free trade can be a thorn in the side. Sure, it's not the main source of income for a country, but trade does make up a good part of it. If all trade were free, economies wouldn't be able to support themselves, that's the bad for the country giving the free products.

Now, for the country recieving the free products, they would probably very happy to recieve these supplies, but if it's free, anything can be shipped over with it, and that can be a major problem.

In the end, I'd just think it wiser to limit free trade, charging for trade would definately help an economy, and nearly every major country wants that right now. But that's just a small opinion on free trade.


you very much
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:53 AM   #14
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CommanderQ: I hate to ask this, but do you know what free trade is? If yes, please elaborate on your points as they arenæt making much sence at the moment.

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Old 02-18-2009, 12:01 PM   #15
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If all trade were free, economies wouldn't be able to support themselves, that's the bad for the country giving the free products.
If all trade were 'free', then it would be classed as 'aid'.






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Old 02-18-2009, 12:58 PM   #16
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If all trade were 'free', then it would be classed as 'aid'.
Oh, true on that, I was definately off there, thanks, Astor!

@Mur'phon: Well, I'm pretty confident I have a good idea onto what Free Trade is, but perhaps I should look more into the subject so that I'll make more sense. Thanks for the observation, Mur'phon


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Old 02-18-2009, 06:11 PM   #17
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I like the idea of free trade in principle. In Real Life, however, it's so tied up with bureacracy, nepotism, backroom deals between politicians, and outright fraud (IP theft, for instance), that there are going to be problems as a result. I'm not entirely sure what can be done to fix some of the inequities while maintaining a completely open market.


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Old 02-19-2009, 10:35 AM   #18
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Jae: It is far easier for corruption to flourish in closed rather than open markets. It's far harder for a beurocrat to demand a bribe to let goods into the country when the law say all gods are alowed to enter. Sure, it'll still exist, but it is harder when the flow of goods is unrestricted and transparent.
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Old 02-19-2009, 09:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mur'phon View Post
Jae: It is far easier for corruption to flourish in closed rather than open markets. It's far harder for a beurocrat to demand a bribe to let goods into the country when the law say all gods are alowed to enter. Sure, it'll still exist, but it is harder when the flow of goods is unrestricted and transparent.
I agree with that, the press calls out companies and bureaucrats on sweetheart deals often enough in Chicago alone, although it's still going to happen, human nature being what it is.


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Old 03-23-2009, 01:02 AM   #20
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First of all it still is a major producer, even in areas which it shouldn't be (the bloated subsidised mess called agriculture commes to mind). If you want me to elaborate, I would like you present what you think makes the situation a problem.
Okay. Please do.

From my point of view: Well, so far as I have seen, local farmers I have known have been able to compete. Not sure what aspect you are looking at. Perhaps it is just because I am around where commerce is high, just the same as in other construction firms undercutting competition with illegals: probably isn't *everywhere*. Just whaer it matters.

There is demand for it and to the best I can see. Specifically for local product. What's more, we're in a downturn right now and we need solid core jobs to be created and/or kept...without work we have no money to spend and things will die.

There has been very good reason for mistrust lately. Generally, it is related to enforcing quality control standards being more difficult to do in other nations.

Remaining competitive is something I perfectly agree with you on. Just how is that supposed to happen in reality when monopolies and oligopolies control the vast majority of the market? Also there is an uneven play field to consider which I believe I brought up in senate chambers (Feel free to grab form there and port here whatever is relevant to this discussion--I had the feeling if I forgot you'd remind me )

I saw that when fuel prices hit a spike that shipping costs were going up as well. If you think that it is over, you'd be mistaken. Oil prices may be at a low, now, but if things continue with oil production as they are, prices are going to climb up again. Fairly soon.

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Yet how many higher payd jobs haven't it created in return?
Most of which are out of the reach for most people educationally and otherwise...so it may have created (MUCH) higher payed jobs, however I'm scratching my head as to whether or not the effect has, in turn, served as many positively. ...last I checked, I didn't have the job of CEO for something open to me.

EDIT: Also, what of it that we now are bringing in foreigners to take both the ultra high end jobs and ultra low end...where do the medians go? What do we do?

Quote:
To give two easy examples: When high-tech firms (an area the US have an advantage in) are able to export to other markets, it naturally means they'll employ new people in far higher paying jobs than the lower-end manufacturing they lost.
Lesser number of jobs even if the pay proportion more than compensate...trickle down is more like dribble down.

I'm still waiting on those laser/electronics technician jobs. Been so for, what, 7 years now? ...

Quote:
Another one, If clothes produced in China can be sold on the american market for 1/4 of the price of American clothes, consumers save a lot of money, money which will be spent on other things, and in a developed country that often means services, which are usually provided from within the country.
Yes, but it is also produced at slave labor and a very highly uneven play field, which should not be dealt in. This uneven play-field is what makes it difficult to compete.


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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
I like the idea of free trade in principle. In Real Life, however, it's so tied up with bureacracy, nepotism, backroom deals between politicians, and outright fraud (IP theft, for instance), that there are going to be problems as a result. I'm not entirely sure what can be done to fix some of the inequities while maintaining a completely open market.
Ah. Costs of living, federal minimum wages, Workplace safety/helath standards, benefits...I'm sure there are much more...

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Originally Posted by mur'phon View Post
Jae: It is far easier for corruption to flourish in closed rather than open markets. It's far harder for a beurocrat to demand a bribe to let goods into the country when the law say all gods are alowed to enter. Sure, it'll still exist, but it is harder when the flow of goods is unrestricted and transparent.
Transparency in goods does NOT mean transparency in management or government. Furthermore, in smaller markets it is often times also easier to track down and root out the corruption.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
I agree with that, the press calls out companies and bureaucrats on sweetheart deals often enough in Chicago alone, although it's still going to happen, human nature being what it is.
Good point, Jae. Free market gets botched/monopolized as a result of human nature, and yet people run government too. So it is the same with government too w.r.t. these sort of inevitable back door deals. Regardless what is done, I should think the evils shall never disappear.

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Old 03-29-2009, 04:34 PM   #21
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I answered several issues in this thread in a similar one in the senate, I'll try to not answer those here, but accidents might have happened.

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From my point of view: Well, so far as I have seen, local farmers I have known have been able to compete. Not sure what aspect you are looking at.
I do not know how it is for your area, but many farmers depend on subsidies to turn a profitt. My reasoning is this, if the farmers can survive without subsidies, wonderfull let them do that, if they can't let them die/be replaced by agribusiness to free up taxpayer money to better causes.

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Remaining competitive is something I perfectly agree with you on. Just how is that supposed to happen in reality when monopolies and oligopolies control the vast majority of the market?
Competetivness is adressed in the other thread, as for monopolies and oligopolies. One way to limit them is to cut the paperwork required to start a business, remove meassures who keep out foreign competetors to get more companies fighting. Another idea would be to make it hard for companies with a big market share to merge, even alowing the govt to prohibit ones which would hamper competition significantly. A more unorthodox meassure would be for the govt to forcefully split up companies with a controlling market share, paying above market value to controll the new company, before selling the new company at market value, possibly to a foreign competitor.

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I saw that when fuel prices hit a spike that shipping costs were going up as well. If you think that it is over, you'd be mistaken. Oil prices may be at a low, now, but if things continue with oil production as they are, prices are going to climb up again. Fairly soon.
I agree it'll climb, though that has more to do with demand (the developing world is still developing) than suply. Still, as shipping costs increase, it'll make local producers more competetive (at least until a solution is found), which is hardly an argument against free trade.

Quote:
Transparency in goods does NOT mean transparency in management or government. Furthermore, in smaller markets it is often times also easier to track down and root out the corruption.
Yet it is that much harder for corruption in trade to take place if the market is free and with many competetors. In small markets, local regulators often end up having a "speciall relationship" with local businesses, with few competitors, there is little fear that one company will blow the wistle as they all benefit from the system.

Quote:
EDIT: Also, what of it that we now are bringing in foreigners to take both the ultra high end jobs and ultra low end...where do the medians go? What do we do?
Foreigners are only taking the higher end jobs because not enough Americans have the skills neccesary, or because they are more qualified. If Americans want those jobs, they need to improve (though I don't seee the big issue as most of the highest end jobs are stil in the hands of Americans).
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:24 AM   #22
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Free trade is often a good thing, but is more often a benefit to local over regional good. The issues I see that make it problematic comes from the conflict between these two bodies.

In order to establish an effective system of transportation on a regional level, some local governments would have to be willing to make compromises for the benefit of the larger body. Often local planners don't work this way. If there were a means by which an effective mass-transit system could be established in which ALL counties, states, and townships worked in unison; we could have a much more efficient way of shipping goods and people around the US than the system we have now.

In Europe, they have established a free-trade system that depended upon making it cheaper to move from place to place. By making it easier to conquer time and space, it mainly opens opportunities economically that otherwise wouldn't have existed due to the presence of a boarder tariff. If you have to transfer goods or people from one system to another, that is another obstacle that has to be taken into consideration.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:19 AM   #23
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In order to establish an effective system of transportation on a regional level, some local governments would have to be willing to make compromises for the benefit of the larger body.
Pherhaps, but usually improving a regional transit network on the local level, brings benefits on the local level in the form of new business oportunities. For instance building a highway on the local level and connecting it to a regional system will make it that much easier for local businesses to ship goods out of town.

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Often local planners don't work this way. If there were a means by which an effective mass-transit system could be established in which ALL counties, states, and townships worked in unison; we could have a much more efficient way of shipping goods and people around the US than the system we have now.
And who would be in charge of making such a system? I wouldn't trust poiticans with such a mission, since such a project is like heaven for the corrupt/incompetent While I agree with the gist of it, it would require an honest visonary with a good grasp of economics, and a position of power to pull off, something that isn't terribly common to find, and even when found you'd have to get the politicans to actually allow him/her to run the show.

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If you have to transfer goods or people from one system to another, that is another obstacle that has to be taken into consideration.
Luckily the free market takes that into consideration just fine, if goods are more expensive to import than to produce locally, someone will se the opportunity and produce locally and vice versa.
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:53 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by mur'phon View Post
Pherhaps, but usually improving a regional transit network on the local level, brings benefits on the local level in the form of new business oportunities. For instance building a highway on the local level and connecting it to a regional system will make it that much easier for local businesses to ship goods out of town.
Except history shows us that's not what happens when a freeway comes to town. What happens when a freeway comes to town is that people simply don't shop at local businesses anymore, in exchange for an hour drive to the local mega-ultra-super-mall. Thus, instead of making more money to expand their business, they shut down. Businesses who need to ship more goods are businesses who are something special that generates demand for your product well beyond your local borders. Which most shops are not.

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Luckily the free market takes that into consideration just fine, if goods are more expensive to import than to produce locally, someone will se the opportunity and produce locally and vice versa.
But the "free market" doesn't care why that exists. If it costs me 10c a day to pay a worker in China, and $10 a day to pay a worker in Canada, clearly, I can have far more workers in China than Canada, and still save money, even if I have to ship my goods back to the US where people will buy them.

That is quite clearly, not a "free market" because it's obvious that due to humans rights and labor issues, the Chinese are being treated as slaves(essentially), and the Canadians are probably getting too many benefits.

You can't claim to have "free" trade simply by removing restrictions, sure this works for an area where everyone agrees to more or less the same rules, such as Europe or N America, but when countires either can't or won't agree to play by the same rules, you don't have free trade.


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