A Public Choice Truth

by Don Boudreaux on December 15, 2017

in Crony Capitalism, Reality Is Not Optional, Trade

A simple sentence on pages 155-156 of Douglas Irwin’s monumental 2017 book, Clashing Over Commerce, tells a familiar public-choice truth:

The growth of manufacturing and relative decline of shipping and shipbuilding in New England [after the War of 1812] helped turn the region from one supporting open trade to one supporting protective tariffs, although its representatives were often divided depending on their particular constituency.

Government panders to producer groups; government is no agency guided by science to maximize social welfare, to bring about Pareto optimality, or to otherwise promote the general welfare.  (See again today’s Quotation of the Day.)

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