Free Trade is Awesome Because Brazilians Go To Disney World
In early 2013, I had the privilege of speaking at a student conference in Brazil. While I was making my travel arrangements, I asked my Facebook network whether I should pay the extra $100 for Economy Comfort on the international legs of the flight. My sister (who was a missionary in Brazil for a few years) pointed out one of the likely benefits: I wouldn’t be surrounded by teenagers on their way back from Disney World (though that probably wouldn’t have bothered me very much).
I remembered her insight while standing in line at the airport in Rio on my way home. It reminded me of an op-ed by a Florida Congressman that makes “A conservative case for sugar tariffs” and that I now have my students read every semester (I incorporated my principles students’ analysis of free trade into this response). Rooney argues that Brazil is “the OPEC of sugar” and worries about the jobs we will lose without sugar tariffs.
If those jobs in sugar cultivation disappear, people will be able to find employment elsewhere. Let’s suppose we buy more sugar from Brazil and less sugar from Florida. Brazilians in the sugar industry can then use those earnings to visit Disney World, which creates new opportunities in Orlando hospitality and tourism. Sugar cultivation jobs disappear, but they’re replaced with jobs building, maintaining, cleaning, and managing hotels.
Free trade with Brazilians benefits Americans. Why? Because Brazilians go to Disney World.