Trade War! What Is It Good For?

By Daniel Brouse

International Economics 101
What do you think of when you hear the term “trade war”?
The costs and benefits to society are very similar to traditional warfare.
1) Financial Cost. A war is expensive. In a trade war, huge tariffs are placed on the purchase of imports. A tariff is a sales tax paid for by the citizen. Quite often this tax can be as high as 45% or the product even banned altogether. The tax is paid by the citizen to their government. The financial loss from the in-efficiency of paying large taxes is a tremendous burden on the country’s own citizens. In addition, there are usually large costs to the private sector. These costs can include high interest rates, inflation and loss of value to liquid assets. The standard of living declines.
2) Casualties / Loss Of Life. Millions of people are maimed or die in a trade war. The easiest examples in recent history would be the impacts on baby formula or pharmaceuticals. Hundreds-of-thousands of children, as well as, adults in need of medication died because these items were targeted in trade wars. Another example is maiming children by targeting vitamin A (causing childhood blindness.) Typically, trade wars impact the most vulnerable first — babies, the sick and the elderly.

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