Trade and Borders

by Don Boudreaux on March 23, 2011

in Myths and Fallacies, Trade

Here’s my latest column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  A key couple of ‘grafs:

Fact is, we modern Americans regard free trading within the United States as legitimate because we’ve come to accept that our “natural” trading partners include all persons who live in America and not just those who live in Pennsylvania or Pittsburgh or Shadyside. Modern Europeans, in contrast, have not accepted that their natural trading partners include all persons living in Europe.

But this mental distinction that we draw between regions whose residents we “naturally” trade with freely and regions whose residents we don’t trade with freely is arbitrary. It’s no more (or less) natural or unnatural — no more (or less) good or bad — for a Pennsylvanian to trade with a Virginian than for that same Pennsylvanian to trade with a Canadian or a Singaporean.


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