Discussion #3

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For years free trade agreements have put manufacturing workers in the U.S. in direct competition with their developing country counterparts with the purpose of driving down wages in the U.S. and bringing in cheaper imported goods.  All the while highly paid service sector workers such as lawyers, doctors, CPAs, and the like are shielded from competition from developing country service sector workers who would be glad to come to the U.S. and enjoy relatively higher wages.  This effectively means that highly paid professionals get to enjoy the benefits of cheaper imported goods, while still having their inflated salaries.  This has exacerbated inequality in the U.S. due to the fact that manufacturing workers who have effectively had their wages driven down still have to pay for expensive professional services that have not commensurately come down.  This is not only economically inefficient, it is ethically wrong due to the fact that lawyers are the ones who actually author free trade agreements and corporate and special interest groups representing the professional service sector are usually at the negotiating table when they are being authored.

U.S. doctors have some of the highest salaries in the world as evidenced by the graph below that compares general practitioner pay amongst fellow OECD member countries.

(Note: The data is old due to the fact that the American Medical Association no longer collects salary data for general practitioners)


Read the following article on the issues surrounding the international medical graduate licensing process:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/business/economy/long-slog-for-foreign-doctors-to-practice-in-us.html?_r=0 (Links to an external site.)


Answer the following questions:


  1. Do you think the licensing process for international medical graduates is an unnecessary hurdle meant to shield U.S. doctors from foreign competition? If so explain why. If not explain why.  Please  reference the article in your response.


  1. How could increasing the number of doctors in the U.S. affect macroeconomic variables such as productivity, GDP per capita, inflation, etc.


Your response must be at least two paragraphs that fully articulate your position (***I want you to critically analyze the issues detailed in the article. Please do not just regurgitate the assertions propagated in the article in a non-critical manner***).

In addition, it is required to reply to at least two other students’ posts by offering respectful suggestions, comments, or critiques related to the subject matter and their post.


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