Likely going down in history as the most accomplished president of the United States in peace time—that is, if you’re on the right—and the greatest mistake—if you’re on the left—there’s no question that Donald J. Trump has left an imprint in the American system. Whether his policies have been tasty or not depends on party politics, and this article will not address his accomplishments or lack thereof.
In fact, this is not even about him, but about one of his catch phrases, and the topic didn’t even derive from his constant utterance of it: Fair Trade.
Ain’t no such thing.
What is Fair Trade
Plainly stated, fair trade is the system whereby things are exchanged and no one goes away mad with the belief of having been robbed. In the political system, fair trade is roughly defined as import equal or nearly equal to export. In short, if we send a million American cars to China to be sold there, China will send us goods proportionate to the value of a million cars to be sold here—fair trade.
To most, this trade is not equal, since China restricts the number of goods we are able to export, while we are open to them importing almost as much as they want. To some, this is a win-win, to others this is unfair, since we are restricted from the Chinese market.
There is also no such thing as fair competition. Whether you think of competition as the business of corporations and small businesses, or that of countries, makes no difference. There is competition all over, a competition for cash and power which does not start and end at the small corner shop.
Very few people fold their flags or go down in peace when destroyed by a better structure of business. If you open a small coffee shop next to a Starbucks—should your government allow it—Starbucks will do its best to make sure you go under. The company will not send someone to break your leg or threaten your family like they do in Russia. The method of business Starbucks will use, while it is more honorable—an honorable destruction—is not more welcome or savory.
What is Healthy Competition?
Healthy competition is the one where you will accept your defeat, honorably, and will consciously follow all the rules regardless of whether you’re on the losing end or not. It means you will focus and count on your abilities, hope that they’re top notch, rather than compete against someone else’s, and that you won’t try to undermine your opponent in a disreputable way. A healthy competition, in short, is about ability, not competition.
In this case, you will almost always lose.
This is something that most people will agree on. This is also the main aspect of Fair Trade and Fair and Healthy Competition. While Trump exposed China’s greed for dominance more than anyone else in the past, it is also a fact that most, if not all, countries are protectionist by nature, since they have a sector of the market it wishes to do well and have dominance over the domestic purchase. Most people don’t like to compete, they like to be always on top.
The apple seller in China and in India want to be sure to charge high prices for their apples. Once you introduce competition from non-domestic sellers and producers, the domestic apple producers are forced to compete and to reduce their prices to stay in business.
Part of this protectionism is the desire by countries to preserve a certain level of independence from other nations; another is the desire of producers—or members of other industries—to enrich themselves by means of a certain monopoly, whereby they will not compete with the entire world.
These national goals prevent any competition from being completely fair. If this is false, and upon me proved, fair trade is real, nor no man ever robbed.