Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘protectionism’

Economically Farcical and Ethically Foul – Cafe Hayek

Posted by M. C. on January 26, 2019


Here’s a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal:


The GOP effort to allow Pres. Trump, as you describe it, “to raise U.S. tariffs, as he pleases, in retaliation for another country’s tariffs and nontariff barriers” is deeply disturbing (“An ‘Old Testament Approach’ to Trade,” Jan. 24). This antediluvian move not only threatens destruction of the post-war system that has made trade freer, it also would make the world – including America – poorer.

But this move does have one advantage: it reveals protectionism’s immorality. Listening to Reps. Sean Duffy’s and Matt Gaetz’s excuses for this move makes clear that protectionism is a philosophy of predatory self-destruction. Protectionism holds that if Dick impoverishes his neighbor Jane by blocking her access to the grocery store owned by Sam, then Sam is ethically entitled to impoverish his neighbor Sally by blocking her access to the clothing store owned by Dick.

That is, protectionism is a doctrine in which Sam is assumed to be ethically more deserving than are Jane and Sally. It treats Jane and Sally – insofar as protectionism even takes notice of their existence – as pawns whose choices and actions are to be obstructed, and whose well-being is to be worsened, if a tale can be spun about how doing so will improve the well-being of Sam. Sam counts for everything; Jane and Sally for nothing.

Protectionism’s economic farcicality is exceeded only by its ethical foulness.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030




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Trade Myths – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 10, 2018


I received several comments and questions regarding trade after the publication of my recent article, “Stupid Countries Restrict Trade.” Here is a summary of some questions that a few people had:

What should the government of the United States do if other countries impose tariffs on U.S. goods exported to their countries?

What should the government of the United States do if a country subsidizes its exports to the United States?

What should the government of the United States do if it had no tariffs on foreign imports but other countries imposed tariffs on U.S. exports?

Trade myths die hard. Here are three of them I want to refute based on the comments and questions I recently received. Read the rest of this entry »

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George F. Will: Who will protect Americans from the protectors? | New Hampshire

Posted by M. C. on February 12, 2017

The American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis notes that parts come from South Korea, Japan, Italy, Taiwan, Germany and the United States. Components of Boeing airliners’ wings come from Japan, South Korea and Australia; horizontal stabilizers and center fuselages from Italy; cargo access doors from Sweden; passenger entry doors from France; landing gear doors from Canada; engines and landing gear from Britain.

Navarro’s “unwinding and repatriating” is, to say no more, part of an improbable project: making America greater by making Apple, Boeing and many other corporations much less efficient and less competitive.

This is where I part company with tariff and protectionism advocates like Pat Buchanan (who is otherwise pretty much right on). American companies source world wide. Tariffs raise prices and put a ball and chain on competitiveness. Not to mention foreign retaliation. Expect your cost of living to go up.

It is the consumer that dictates how the market does, not companies. If no one buys, your company is toast. Consumers don’t care about where it’s made or whether it is union made.

It is all about price. Don’t believe me? Go to Walmart.

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