To promote freer trade during the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt received authorization in 1934 to negotiate reciprocal trade agreements, reducing tariff rates on a far-reaching basis through the use of the most-favored-nation clause. After World War II, the United States played a leading role in the formation (1948) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and in negotiating the several rounds of multilateral tariff reductions, most recently (1986) the Uruguay round, which led to the formation of the World Trade Organization. Other important steps in the movement toward freer trade and away from protection include the formation of the European Economic Community (or Common Market; now part of European Union) in 1957 and the European Free Trade Association in 1959. In 1992, the United States, Canada, and Mexico negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created the world's largest trading zone.
Although the United States is no longer a high-tariff nation, it still has a number of restrictive import quotas that provide a definite limit on the quantity of a given commodity that can be imported from another nation. Japan, one of the world's major industrial nations, also has many import quotas. Such quotas, in addition to being more certain methods of protection than tariffs, can also be used to favor certain nations over others.
See W. M. Corden, Protection, Growth and Trade (1985); J. N. Bhagwati, Protectionism (1988).
Concept of government in which the state plays a key role in protecting and promoting the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those who lack the minimal provisions for a good life. The term may be applied to a variety of forms of economic and social organization. A basic feature of the welfare state is social insurance, intended to provide benefits during periods of greatest need (e.g., old age, illness, unemployment). The welfare state also usually includes public provision of education, health services, and housing. Such provisions are less extensive in the U.S. than in many European countries, where comprehensive health coverage and state-subsidized university-level education have been common. In countries with centrally planned economies, the welfare state also covers employment and administration of consumer prices. Most nations have instituted at least some of the measures associated with the welfare state; Britain adopted comprehensive social insurance in 1948, and in the U.S., social-legislation programs such as the New Deal and the Fair Deal were based on welfare-state principles. Scandinavian countries provide state aid for the individual in almost all phases of life.
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Branch of economics established in the 20th century that seeks to evaluate economic policies in terms of their effects on the community's well-being. Early theorists defined welfare as the sum of the satisfactions accruing to an individual through an economic system. Believing it was possible to compare the well-being of two or more individuals, they argued that a poor person would derive more satisfaction from an increase in income than would a rich person. Later writers argued that making such comparisons with any precision was impossible. A new and more limited criterion was later developed: one economic situation was deemed superior to another if at least one person had been made better off without anyone else being made worse off. Seealso consumer's surplus; Vilfredo Pareto.
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Any of a variety of governmental programs that provide assistance to those in need. Programs include pensions, disability and unemployment insurance, family allowances, survivor benefits, and national health insurance. The earliest modern welfare laws were enacted in Germany in the 1880s (see social insurance), and by the 1920s and '30s most Western countries had adopted similar programs. Most industrialized countries require firms to insure workers for disability (see workers' compensation) so that they have income if they are injured, whether temporarily or permanently. For disability from illness unrelated to occupational injury, most industrial states pay a short-term benefit followed by a long-term pension. Many countries pay a family allowance to reduce the poverty of large families or to increase the birth rate. Survivor benefits, provided for widows below pension age who are left with a dependent child, vary considerably among nations and generally cease if the woman remarries. Among the world's wealthy countries, only the U.S. fails to provide national health insurance other than for the aged and the poor (see Medicare and Medicaid).
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In U.S. law, the constitutional guarantee that no person or group will be denied such protection under the law as is enjoyed by similar persons or groups—i.e., persons similarly situated must be treated similarly. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibits states from denying any person “the equal protection of the laws.” Until the mid-20th century the requirement was applied minimally—except in some cases of racial discrimination, such as the use of literacy tests and grandfather clauses to restrict the voting rights of blacks. In
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Movement or policies aimed at regulating the products, services, methods, and standards of manufacturers, sellers, and advertisers in the interests of the buyer. Such regulation may be institutional, statutory, or embodied in a voluntary code accepted by a particular industry, or it may result more indirectly from the influence of consumer organizations. Governments often establish formal regulatory agencies to ensure consumer protection (in the U.S., e.g., the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration). Some of the earliest consumer-protection laws were created to prevent the sale of tainted food and harmful drugs. The U.S. consumer protection movement gained strength in the 1960s and '70s as consumer activists led by Ralph Nader lobbied for laws setting safety standards for automobiles, toys, and numerous household products. Consumer advocates have also won passage of laws obliging advertisers to represent their goods truthfully and preventing sales representatives from using deceptive sales tactics. Consumer advocacy is carried on worldwide by the International Organization of Consumers Unions (IOCU).
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U.S. government agency that sets and enforces national pollution-control standards. It was established by Pres. Richard Nixon (1970) to supersede a welter of confusing and ineffective state environmental laws. Its early accomplishments include banning the use of DDT (1972), setting deadlines for the removal of lead from gasoline (1973), establishing health standards for drinking water (1974), and monitoring fuel efficiency in automobiles (1975). The EPA's enforcement was in large part responsible for a decline of one-third to one-half in most air-pollution emissions in the U.S. from 1970 to 1990, and during the 1980s the pollution standards index improved by half in major cities; water quality and waste disposal also improved significantly. The EPA also oversees the cleanup of abandoned waste sites through Superfund. Its existence has resulted in heightened awareness and concern for the environment worldwide.
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There were 241 households out of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.67.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.1% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 19.5% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 29.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females there were 103.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,917, and the median income for a family was $36,705. Males had a median income of $26,071 versus $15,682 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,973. About 8.2% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.6% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.