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Are economic sanctions effective?
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Economic sanctions negatively impact targeted economies

Economic sanctions are designed to hurt targeted economies, and they are effective in doing so.
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The Argument

Effectiveness can be defined as a success in producing the desired or intended result.[1] While countries scarcely change their behavior as a result of sanctions, that is not the sole objective of sanctions. Rather, they are primarily tools for non-violent opposition. They are an economic "punishment" for an action. It is in this way that economic sanctions are effective. Sanctioned countries usually find that their citizens get poorer and their development slows.[2] The low cost of economic sanctions in comparison to other actions increases their effectiveness. Going to war with a country may cost millions, if not billions, of dollars. War has both positive and negative effects on the economy. While war may damage the economy and infrastructure of a country, it also helps create jobs in the military and manufacturing sectors.[3] Sanctions don't have this caveat; they simply hurt the economy by withholding resources. Economic sanctions are effective in doing what they are designed to do: negatively impact a country's economy.

Counter arguments

While economic sanctions may be effective in theory, the degree to which they are effective is limited by the diverse global market. A country only has so much leverage. If one country chooses not to trade with another, there is a high likelihood that a third country will be able to fill the void left by the country imposing the sanction. Economic sanctions may work, but their effectiveness is limited by outside forces.


[P1] Economic sanctions' primary goal is to hurt the economy of a country. Changing the country's behavior is secondary. [P2] This makes them an effective measure against targeted countries.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Economic sanctions are intended to change behavior. Hurting a country's economy is the manner by which they accomplish this.


This page was last edited on Friday, 25 Sep 2020 at 07:44 UTC

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