[Answered] “The ugly path of unilateralism and protectionism has affected the growth and stability of the world”. Comment.

Demand of the question
Introduction. What is unilateralism and protectionism.
Body. How it affect world’s growth and stability?
Conclusion. Way forward.

Unilateralism is an approach in international relations in which states act and formulate policies without considering the interests of other states or welfare of others. Protectionism is the economic policy of restricting imports from other countries through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, import quotas, and a variety of other government regulations. Unilateralism and protectionism prevent  free trade and restrict economic flow.

How it affect world’s growth and stability?

  1. Economic impact:
    1. Economic Growth:
      • Protectionist policies and unilateralism hurt the world economy overall.
      • For example, GNP growth during Europe’s liberal period averaged 1.7% per year, while industrial growth averaged 1.8% per year. However, during the protectionist era of the 1870s and 1890s, GNP growth averaged 2.6% per year, while industrial output grew at 3.8% per year.
    2. Destruction of free trade:
      • The principle of comparative advantage shows that the gains from free trade outweigh any losses as free trade.
      • This lead to reduction in competition and rise in general prices of the goods and services.
    3. Destroy Jobs: These practices destroy more jobs than it creates because it prevent outflow of skilled people due to protectionist measures like visa regulations. This impact their employability and remittance to the nation.
    4. Limited choice to consumers:
      • A key effect of trade protectionism is that consumers will have a limited choice of products and goods since there may be quotas on how much may be imported.
      • If consumers have a limited choice, they will settle for lower quality, and pay more for a particular product thus causing inflation to possibly greatly increase.
    5. Trade war among nations:
      • Other nations will also retaliate through countervailing tariffs, quotas, subsidies, and exchange rate controls, to name a few, in order to deal with another nation’s actions.
      • A trade war will ultimately mean increased import costs as manufacturers and producers must pay more for equipment, commodities, and intermediate products from foreign markets. This will also affect a nation’s real GDP growth.
  2. Social impact:
    1. Decrease standards of living:
      • Protectionism prevent free trade thus prevent welfare of poor impacting their standard of lives.
      • Free trade helps workers in developing countries through stringent health and labour standards demand lifting wages and living conditions.
      • Also free trade reduces the costs of goods, which impact poor adversely further.
    2. Rise in conflicts: Protectionism has been accused of being one of the major causes of war and conflicts.
  3. Impact on polities: Unilateralism and Protectionism will lead to instability in political framework of nations as rise in prices and cost of living may lead to civil Uprisings.
  4. Impact on technology: These tendencies limit technological advancement of the world as whole and of developing countries in particular. Limited knowledge sharing, lack of flow of technology to developing countries limit advancement in science.
  5. Impact on international organisations: Unilateralism and Protectionist measure lead to lack of coordination at international organisation like UN where countries may not come a t a common point to various problems like environmental change. It destroys the international order.

Thus Unilateralist and Protectionist policies hurt nation economically, socially and politically. It prevents welfare of the poor and rise of world at large.

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