It’s no secret that U.S. manufacturing has been a focus of concern for several years or that the U.S. has a huge trade deficit with China.

1). It’s no secret that U.S. manufacturing has been a focus of concern for several years or that the U.S. has a huge trade deficit with China. As the economy continues to linger in the doldrums, economists are getting more and more insistent about what they think the answers are to our domestic economy’s problems.

Take a look at a virtual showdown between two respected economic writers: Ryan Avent, who blogs for The Economist’s “Free Exchange” blog; and Tim Duy, a University of Oregon economics professor who runs the blog “Tim Duy’s Fed Watch.”

The online debate began when Avent took issue with some of Duy’s posts on global trade imbalances, calling them “fairly poorly reasoned.” Duy responded, and then Avent responded back. It’s the latter two posts you’ll be reading.

First look at Duy’s post (http://economistsview.typepad.com/timduy/2010/07/pushback.html), “Push back,” where he takes on Avent’s arguments that manufacturing decline is exaggerated and not something economists need to worry about. Then read Avent’sresponse (http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2010/07/trade) to Duy’s post, “Should America fear offshoring?” After you have read both, answer these questions:

  1. Summarize what you believe are each of the economist’s main arguments in a sentence or two.
  2. Find one statement you agree with and one you disagree with in each of the blog posts.
  3. Discuss the merits of each economist’s views on comparative advantage and conclude by stating which you agree with more and why.

2).You read about countries using tariffs to help domestic producers. But that’s not the only reason a country might place import tariffs on trade partners.
Do some research and find some of the more interesting and/or unusual reasons countries have increased import tariffs. Post your discovery to the discussion board. Tell your classmates what the situation was that brought about the change in tariffs, if it has been resolved (and if so, how), and what you think about the efficacy of this type of tariff in changing a trading partner’s economic “behavior.” When you post, also include a link or two so other students can read about the tariff you’re posting about.

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