Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on September 8, 2012

in Trade

… is from page 3 of the 1976 second edition of Leland Yeager’s sweeping International Monetary Relations: Theory, History, and Policy:

Appraising any policy whatsoever depends not merely on “positive” propositions, but also on value judgments – personal opinions about how desirable or undesirable various results are.  Any supposedly beneficial change in national circumstances harms some people.  If a mere act of Congress could abolish hurricanes, some persons would suffer a loss of business, including meteorologists, construction workers, and the present generation of undertakers.  The same is true of inventions: people in general gain, but some lose.

Of course – as I’ve argued before – if the time period over which the consequences of trade are assessed is reckoned to start, not arbitrarily at the moment that government loosens some trade restriction but, rather, further back in time – and if trade is recognized to include exchanges beyond the relatively few that are immediately affected by a freeing-up of trade – then trade is seen to have virtually no losers.  (I’m confident, by the way, that Leland would agree.)

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