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Book Report: "The Choice: a Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism"
The book "The Choice: a Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism" is a true-life presentation of Russell Roberts, who has written it in an unreal way. The author has created fictional and real characters. The main idea of the book is to compare protectionism and free trade. David Ricardo, an authentic English economist, and Ed Johnson, a fictional character, are the main heroes of the book. The story is based on their conversation and travels through time. In 1955, Ed Johnson became the president of the Stellar Television Company. The story is presented in an extremely unusual way. The economist, who died earlier, goes down to earth to meet up with Ed. That action aimed to persuade the president to support free trade and stop the protectionism policy. Thus, the main characters start the time travel together. At first, they visit the world after applying free trade. Then, they travel to the world after protectionism policy. There are a lot of differences between these worlds. Obviously, the free trade planet looks more attractive. Everything is offered in the way of a dialogue among the people, and the ideas of two policies are discussing.
Ed Johnson is the president of one of the largest T.V. producing companies. When Japanese companies started to sell T.V. cheaper, the main hero started to worry and support the protectionism bill headed by Frank Bates. Moreover, Ed wanted to give a speech to endorse Frank in the presidential elections. That night he meets Ricardo, who tries to persuade him in the opposite.
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Through the journey, David explains the meaning of comparative advantage. It is a capability of the country to produce wares or services at a subordinate trivial and prospect price over another. He explains that old companies and factories do not exist anymore. They were not profitable and were destroyed. For example, Ed’s company was sold to the Japanese, and after some time, it was wiped out. Despite this, nobody has suffered. Ricardo claims that the U.S.A. made prosperity from a roundabout system. The Americans produce some products and sell them to the Japanese people and import cheaper products from Japan. Therefore, the Americans started to sell medicine to the Japanese, who in turn started to sell T.V. sets to the Americans. As a result, the American T.V. industry knocked off work. In any case, it had a bad effect, because a great number of people had lost their jobs. Instead of this, the Americans started to concentrate on producing goods they were actually good at. That occasion allowed them to discover innovative technologies and increase the living standard level. Throughout the journey, David noticed some important mistakes in the economic theory. He talked about the “zero-sum” theory, the function and significance of wages and “factual” wages, the “hazard” of trade deficit. David also talked about selling abroad and trade with different countries. He thought it was supposed to damage the American economy.
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The U.S.A. of 1960 and 1995
If to compare the U.S.A. of 1960 and 1995 under the trade free, it is obvious that people became richer. Everything worked due to the trade-free economy. The citizens have an opportunity to choose among the cheapest products despite the place they were produced. In case the Americans had to manufacture everything by their own efforts, they would work day and night to meet all needs and desires. The country can't produce everything.
In the book, Russell Roberts gives an example of life before and after trade free. For instance, Ed’s son lives in California and buys a house at 800000 dollars. He became very rich. Moreover, his grandson, 13-year-old Justin, had an opportunity to see because of new technologies. He could watch a movie on the big-screen television. The Jacksons had a PC on a nearby writing table. The family was happy with their life and because of the boy’s faculty of vision. In the case of protectionism, the boy could not see. He became blind. Moreover, Justin had no opportunity to watch the movie, because Disney Company had collapsed.
After comparing the life of humanity before and after the appearance of free trade, Johnson chooses the free trade world despite giving the speech for Bates.