Are there any alternatitives to trade restrictions that might make economic sense?
Free trade generally causes workers to suffer as jobs shift to lower cost markets - the theory of competitive advantage. Consumers are the beneficiaries - by eliminating tariffs we are able to purchase clothing, electronics, etc. more cheaply. If there were no foreign cars, we would be paying a LOT more for an auto than we do today - the big 3 lose money on every car they sell (on average), spurred on by competitive pressures. Good news for most of us, bad news if you work in the auto industry.
The best alternatives are additional training for the workforce and improvements in productivity. If comparable skill sets are not available in other markets at a lower cost, the well-trained (and well-compensated) labor pool holds a temporary monopoly. Similarly, if infrastructure advancements can be made (automation, transportation, leaner processes), this can offset higher labor costs as less labor is needed to produce a product.
taxing importers and using the money to re-train people who lost their jobs b/c of imports.
Yes... having no trade restrictions.
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