Protectionist: Definition & Policies

Instructor: Brianna Whiting

Brianna has a masters of education in educational leadership, a DBA business management, and a BS in animal science.

In this lesson we will learn about the term protectionist. We will learn what it is and why it is utilized. We will also learn about the policies of protectionism. The lesson will be concluded with a summary and a quiz.

A Glimpse at Protectionist

Meet Carrie. Carrie owns a business by the name of Creative Cookies where she bakes and sells cookies. Over the past five years, Carrie's business grew significantly from local neighborhood business to fulfilling her first international order. Unfortunately, like most businesses, Carrie encountered a fierce international competitor in the cookie world. Uncle Carl's Scrumptious Sweets makes all of the same kinds of cookies as Carrie, and aims its marketing campaigns at the same clientele. Carrie fears that her business will begin to suffer as a result of this up-and-coming competitor. However, what if Creative Cookies could be protected from her international rival? How would this type of protection work? We're going to learn the answer to these questions as we explore the term protectionist.

Definition of Protectionist

Okay, to better help us answer these questions, let's first define the term. Protectionist is the word used when the government takes measures to restrict international trade in an effort to protect local companies from competition by foreign companies. In other words, it's a way for a government to protect its own businesses when they fear that foreign competition may hurt or damage them. Some reasons behind this tactic include:

  • Helping new and up-and-coming businesses begin and grow. By not having foreign competition, a local business can build their foundation with local consumers.
  • Protect strategic industries, such as those in the food sector. Countries need to provide an adequate food supply to their consumers, and they can do this by protecting their food security.
  • Protecting local jobs. When local businesses can thrive, they need to hire people to work for them. This leads to local people obtaining local jobs.

Polices of Protectionism

While we now know that protectionism is how the government protects local businesses from foreign businesses, what we still need to learn is how this is actually done. The following are ways or policies, which the government utilizes with protectionism:

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