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That free trade does more harm than good

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JohannesJohannes (PRO)
Hello everyone, I would like to thank my opponent for their participation in this debate -- it should be an interesting one.

To start let's define free trade in a fair and objective manner. Free trade (as defined by Google) is trade left to its natural course without tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions. The definition alone seems relatively reasonable and harmless, but we must consider what effects come with free trade to judge it more properly. 

When someone says free trade to you, you most likely think of capitalism: free market, free trade, limited government regulations, limited tariffs, low taxes, all of these things. Again, at the surface -- relatively harmless. However, when you go further to analyze the effects of these motifs of free trade -- you're left with a different story.

Let's start with the obvious -- poverty. Approximately 130,000 people die a year due to poverty in America alone. So why is this relevant? Free trade, capitalism, crony capitalism, and all the other inherently corrupt and wealthy-class promoting ideals that coincide, are responsible for nearly all poverty in America. Because of the nature of the inherently altruistic nature of free trade, when you are in poverty it is almost impossible to climb out. You have nothing to offer, nothing to give, and thus nothing to gain. The vast majority of people in poverty stay in poverty because of this. If you're still not convinced that extrapolating these death and poverty rates to free trade and its effects is fair, then look to Scandinavian countries, or other similar countries, that have established strong social safety nets, have maintained democracy, and have some of the lowest poverty rates ever heard of, best education in the world, and most importantly, strongest performing happiness surveys in the world. On all of these metrics, America fairs far worse because of the oppressive nature of our capitalist/free trade dogma. Our public education is bipartisanly agreed upon as awful, our happiness surveys show some of the worst results in the world (despite how comfortably much of the upper class is living), and of course, our poverty rates and deaths are equally atrocious. So, to sum up this point -- it is a consistent and causal effect of the free trade/capitalist system to oppress and trap those in poverty. 130,000 deaths a year in America alone due to poverty and far more still in poverty is a lot to look over to claim that free trade does more good than harm. Still, we haven't even touched the tip of the iceberg.

Now, let's talk about another causal effect of capitalism and free trade -- crony capitalism. Crony capitalism is essentially when the government or a big business buys the same product for a higher price than they need to due to any number of reasons, lobbying, personal affairs, etc. This essentially screws the guy selling it for a cheaper price, which of course is immoral and unfair. This can lead to all sorts of things such as that specific person or business running out of money, having to file bankruptcy or any other number of drastically life-changing effects. In severe cases, crony capitalism happens on such a wide scale that it essentially destroys the entire particular industry that it's taking place in. This is one of the main reasons the government implements subsidies. For instance, one of the most subsidized markets in America is the agricultural industry. Again, on the surface, there is seemingly nothing wrong with this. However, once again we must look at the effects of this. Well, it is no secret or controversy that these subsidies have essentially destroyed the agricultural industry in West Africa because they're no longer able to compete. Not only is this already terrible, wrong, immoral, and harmful -- but when you take into account how poor and impoverished West Africa is and the fact that the agricultural industry was really the only thing they had going for them -- things look a lot worse. The effects of these subsidies, which are a direct cause of our free trade system, in West Africa have been severe, many lives, careers, and families have been destroyed due to this and, once again, it would be hard to look over something like this and somehow claim that free trade has done more good than harm. To sum up this point, because of things like subsidies and crony capitalism (which are indelibly weaved into the nature of the free trade system) places like West Africa have been completely impoverished, careers have been lost, and families have been destroyed. Once again, the radical and harsh effects of free trade do not stop here.

If destroying all of West Africa isn't good enough, how about all of it? Plus a bunch of islands, and other poor Southern American/Eastern countries. How is free trade responsible for this? Again, let's look at some more effects of the free trade system, this time in regards to foreign events and policy. Now, when you have a big free trade system country and a very small, poor country -- what do you think will happen in that situation? As you probably guessed, the smaller and poorer country almost always not only gets the worse end of the deal but gets completely and utterly screwed as a result. A fancy way of saying this would be imperialism and colonialism. To keep with the example of America, we've been doing this for a while now. Whenever we need something that pretty much any country besides Russia or China has, we take it through either extending our political or military power over them. And of course, there is literally nothing they can do. Although, in some cases, for example, the Philippines, try to stand up to us and as a result, they lose hundreds of thousands of lives. For the countries that don't do this, (unless they're very close allies) they usually end up losing all of their oil/natural resources/whatever we wanted from them essentially for nothing, but also -- as a result of that -- they become completely impoverished. You do not have to go a long way for this argument, it happens all the time and is demonstrably apparent just by picking up a U.S. history book. To restate how this is a direct result of the free trade system, this is essentially the definition of free trade. Because it is so unregulated and so "free" the bigger/wealthier country always wins out and there's nothing the smaller/poorer country can really do about it. Imperialism and colonialism always come with a free market/capitalist system because of this principle and it goes without saying the countless number of countries and places that have been devastated as a result. To sum this point up, free trade, on an international level, necessarily entails things like imperialism and colonialism that have resulted in millions of deaths, and dozens of impoverished nations over the course of history. Again, to look over this and somehow claim that free trade does more good than harm seems not only irrational and unjustifiable -- but also dismissive of the millions of people who have been desolated as a result of this free trade dogma.

In conclusion, you don't have to go any farther than the direct effects that a free trade system necessarily entails to realize that the amount of harm it causes is insurmountable by any amount of good it causes, and thus that free trade does far more harm than good. For my opponent, I would like to know what good, other than just making wealthy people wealthier, free trade is responsible for? What are the effects of this in the world today and how can we know they're a result of the free trade system? Also, how can you possibly overlook these devastating effects of free trade to claim that the system has done more good than harm?

Thanks for reading everyone, until next round.

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2018-12-24 21:55:20
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