Arguments for and against free trade

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

What are some of the arguments for and against free trade?

The most important argument for free trade is that it helps to use the world’s resources in more efficient ways. This can be proven mathematically, and if your econ professor in college was any good, he demonstrated that proof to you.

The most important argument against free trade is that although free trade enriches many in small ways (mainly through lower prices), it hurts few in major ways (mainly through loss of employment and business profits).

For example, in Germany, the law requires that many types of skin care products be sold only in pharmacies. If trade in skin care products were free, most of those products would be sold in specialty stores, grocery stores, and department stores, in all likelihood at lower prices. Needless to say, this would adversely impact independent pharmacists (all pharmacies in Germany are independently owned, because another law forbids creation of drugstore chains)…

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