Trade Wars Against America: A History of United States Trade and Monetary Policy

Trade Wars Against America: A History of United States Trade and Monetary Policy

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  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: William J. Gill
  • Publish Date: 1990-06-22


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Unique in its breadth and scope, this volume provides a comprehensive history of U.S. trade and monetary policy from colonial times to the present. Gill examines the origins of the traditional protectionist policies that prevailed from the beginning of the Republic until 1913 and explores in detail America's experience with trade in the years from the end of World War I to the present day. Case histories of the experience of several U.S. industries in attempting to get the government to implement trade laws are drawn from the author's extensive involvement as a trade consultant. Gill asserts that U.S. economic might was built upon sound money and the overt protection of its industrial and economic base and that when protectionist policies have been abandoned--as in the Wilson and Reagan years--our economic position in the world has suffered. He calls for an end to the free trade zeitgeist of the 1980s, arguing instead for a renewed commitment to rational protection.

Trade Wars Against America is chronological in approach. It begins by examining the protectionist policies of the early Republic; the War of 1812 as the first trade war after the Republic's founding; Andrew Jackson's struggle with the banking community over the conduct of trade and monetary policy; and the rise of protectionism after the Civil War and its culmination in the McKinley presidency, an era of unparalleled prosperity. Gill goes on to discuss the assault on the protectionist system by Woodrow Wilson and Edward House; the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank; the Trade Act of 1934 and its role in the Depression; and the supranational movement that culmiated at Bretton Woods and resulted in the creation of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the GATT--the Geneva-based organization implementing the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade. Finally, Gill looks at the period since World War II, concluding that trade wars are being waged against the United States primarily with the subsidies foreign governments give their industries to increase exports. Privately owned U.S. firms, Gill asserts, cannot effectively compete against government-owned or subsidized industries abroad.

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