Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on April 2, 2017

in Crony Capitalism, Seen and Unseen, Trade

… is from page 115 of Jacob Viner‘s richly researched and indispensable 1937 volume, Studies in the Theory of International Trade (footnote deleted):

apf1-08490r_Viner-e1436622886678Pleas for special interests, whether open or disguised, constituted the bulk of mercantilist literature.  The disinterested patriot or philosopher played a minor part in the development of mercantilist doctrine.

DBx: I don’t know what percentage of today’s mercantilist spokespeople sincerely believe their claims that shrinking people’s access to goods and services somehow expands people’s access to good and services, and what percentage of these spokespeople are special-pleading mouthpieces for rent-seeking domestic corporations and other producer groups who profit from the monopoly gains made possible by protectionist policies.  But regardless, the fact remains: if you show me a tariff or some other trade restriction, I’ll show you a rent-seeking domestic producer group whose profits and wages are thereby swollen at the greater expense of the general public.

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