Alan Greenspan, former chair of the AmericanFederal Reserve, has criticised protectionist proposals as leading “to an atrophy of competitive ability. … If the protectionist route is followed, newer, more efficient industries will have less scope to expand, and overall output and economic welfare will suffer.”
Further to this notion, Harvard University economics professorGreg Mankiw said, “Few propositions command as much consensus among professional economists as that open world trade increases economic growth and raises living standards.”
However, Professor Peter Soderbaum of Malardalen University, Sweden said, “This neoclassical trade theory focuses on one dimension, i.e., the price at which a commodity can be delivered and is extremely narrow in cutting off a large number of other considerations about impacts on employment in different parts of the world, about environmental impacts and on culture.”
Who’s right here? Is free trade the best path toward economic and social welfare, or should we seek the comfort and security afforded by a protectionist perspective on trade?


Your task is to develop an economic inquiry intofree trade OR protectionism. You are to argue which of these economic perspectives is most appropriate for Australia in the current economic climate. Your inquiry should exemplify the analytical and evaluative skills that you have developed throughout the course.Relevant data should be selected and used effectively to support your ideas and the criteria on which you base your conclusions should be clear.
So that your inquiry spans the depth and breadth of the dimensions upon which you will be assessed, you should reflect on this structure before determining how you wish to proceed.

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  1. Clearly outline which perspective on international trade policy you will advocate. As part of this, you will need to clearly outlineand applythe economic arguments in favour of your preferred trade policy. Use economic models, theory and specific examples where you can to support your argument. (Dimension 1)
  1. Select and use data in a discerning manner to support your economic arguments and underpin your inquiry. (Dimension 2)
  1. Critically appraise and examine your arguments so that your conclusions and recommendations convey economic meaning. (Dimension 3)

Answer each of the following questions when your assignment is completed to evaluate your success in the research process. Self-Review Questions Very High High Some Little Not at all To what extent did you understand what was required of you in this task? To what extent did you search widely for information to do this inquiry?
To what extent did you keep and provide evidence of your research process? To what extent did you correctly reference your sources? To what extent did you succeed in meeting the assessment dimensions for this task? To what extent did you enjoy doing this assignment?
Please complete the following checklist BEFORE submitting your assignment to ensure that you have completed all aspects of the project. I have… Tick INQUIRY TASK made sure that I have read the dimension sheet, and have, to my best ability, ensured my work reflects what is asked in the criteria? adhered to the word limit? ensured that I have used economic terminology, theory, models and data throughout? ensured that I have collected evidence and attached this to my assignment in an appendix? included all documentation that substantiates proof of the information process, including evidence such as interview notes, bibliography/reference list, keyword lists, brainstorming, note taking and concept maps? referenced all research throughout, using the correct system? collated my assignment in an appropriate order:

  • assessment tasksheet – including dimensions matrix;
  • assignment text;
  • appendices;
  • bibliography/reference list;
  • turn-it-in receipt;
  • research notes; and
  • draft plus draft feedback sheet

submitted my assignment through Turn-It-In? printed a copy of my receipt from Turn-It-In and submitted this with my assignment?