Questions for Students for The Choice:
A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism

By Lisa McNary, LaGrange College

The Choice Book

(See also: A Teacher's Guide by Russell Roberts)

List all of the economic principles covered in the course to date that are in the textbook (i.e., NOT just principles from the chapter on International Trade).
(NOTE: List the concept from the textbook and an associated page number in Roberts as an example).

How many myths can you count that Roberts debunks? (Idea: List them with page numbers)

What primary myth of yours did the book debunk?

Who propagates these myths? Why? Who benefits? Who loses?

What does the author mean by: (and do you agree?)

"A nation's laws and institutions must also give people the proper incentive to work hard." (page 16)

The assertion that children will have had different lives than their parents. (page 20)

Creativity is unleashed when certain jobs are lost. (pages 26, 30, 50)

"Imports and exports are inextricably tied together." (page 41)

"There is not enough people, machines, and land to go around to make everything as cheaply as could be made under free trade." (page 42)

"Buy American" campaigns cost American jobs. (page 43)

"In a world of free trade, American producers are forced to keep up with and surpass foreign ingenuity. In a world of restricted trade, producers spend their time trying to lobby the government for ever-wider restrictions." (page 50)

"Trade flows should be unequal... The essence of trade is specialization." (page 67)

Anti-dumping laws ignore basic economics. (pages 76-77)

Doing what's best for your citizens means:... "open your markets to products from all over the world." (page 80)

Low wages are "better than no wages." (page 85)

"If America had adopted the labor standards of today for the America of 1850, it would have crippled America's growth." (page 85)

"But if I were alive in 2000, I think I'd still feel guilty if I were one of those Americans buying a car from the Japanese." (page 97)

"Free trade leads to more opportunity, more wealth, and a more dynamic world. But a more dynamic world does not benefit everyone." (page 98)

What IS the "choice?" (Where does the author get the title of the book?)

Dave shows Ed what life would be like in 2001 without any protectionism. But America is not truly the free trade image that Dave reveals. Where on a scale of 1 - 10 do you think America is now in terms of Dave's pure vision of free trade in America?

Name an economic, social, or political situation in the U.S. that Dave would not look upon favorably.

How did finding an article that coincided with a message of the book help you to understand Roberts' concepts?