… is from an August 1, 2011, blog post over at Pileus by Mark Pennington; in this post, Mark exposes some of the many weaknesses in Ha-Joon Chang’s case against free trade:
Chang misrepresents the place of free trade in the overall package of institutions and policies supported by free market economics. The classical liberal case has never been that international trade is the engine of development per se but that free trade offers an extension of the benefits provided by domestic market oriented policies – such as improvements in the security of property rights, largely private ownership of industry and a broad reliance on competition rather than central planning.
Yes indeed. Just as Keynes had first to create the straw man of “classical economics” before he could so thoroughly destroy it – and just as too many people then rushed to the conclusion that the only real alternative remaining to straw man “classical economics” was Keynes’s own concoction built largely from the rubbish heap of long-discredited notions – Ha-Joon Chang (following a typical protectionist script) builds a straw man, knocks it down, beats his chest pridefully at his achievement, and then proclaims, in effect, ‘therefore, granting monopoly privileges to certain domestic producers really is the key to widespread prosperity.’