What are the virtues and drawbacks of trade liberalization?
Scholars and political commentators are divided about the effects of trade liberalization—that is, the globalization of free market principles, or the elimination of barriers to free trade. Some have charged, e.g., that trade liberalization causes a race to the bottom. Whereby, in adopting free market principles, developing countries open their borders to foreign investors and multinational corporations to establish manufacturing facilities within their countries; but in doing so, developing countries must compete with each other to attract this investment and business, which gives them strong incentives to keep their environmental, labor, and human rights standards weak, and to refrain from effectively enforcing these standards. This is because the absence of strong regulations makes it cheaper for foreign companies to produce goods in these developing countries.
Such considerations should lead us to ask: are the benefits of trade liberalization (or economic globalization more generally) outweighed by its costs? In answering this question, choose one historical or contemporary example in which a developing country seems to have been harmed by liberalizing its trade policies, and argue what you believe the actual causes of these negative effects are. Is trade liberalization to blame? Why or why not? Have other potential causes been overlooked—such as war, environmental catastrophes, corrupt politicians, etc.?