Peace and Free Trade

by Don Boudreaux on May 13, 2008

in Cooperation, The Profit Motive, Trade

Here’s a letter that I sent today to the Wall Street Journal:

Mark Helprin correctly
points out that as the Chinese grow more prosperous their military will
grow more mighty ("The Challenge From China," May 13).  He advises that
Uncle Sam dramatically increase the size of his own arsenal.

of this suggestion’s merits or demerits, the more vital course is for
Uncle Sam to immediately eliminate all trade and investment
restrictions with China, and for politicians to stop threatening
further restrictions.  Such moves would speed the integration of
China’s economy with our own.  Being economically integrated means
being economically reliant on each other – a happy recipe for
prosperity and peace.

Want evidence?  See the important work of
economists Solomon Polachek and Carlos Seiglie
.  Their empirical
research leads them to conclude that "international cooperation in
reducing barriers to both trade and capital flows can promote a more
peaceful world."*  Want more evidence?  Ask yourself how likely are
even a well-armed Canada or Japan to have any interest in shooting
their countless customers and suppliers throughout the U.S.?  The
answer, of course, is no more likely than we are to want to shoot our
customers and suppliers throughout those countries.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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