A Protectionist is Someone Who…

by Don Boudreaux on February 21, 2018

in A Protectionist is..., Trade

… if she were a high-school math teacher would, at the start of the school year, promise to give to each of a subset of her favorite students a grade of ‘A.’  She would justify this promise by theorizing that when she relieves these students from the pressure of being practically obliged to invest a lot of scarce time and effort toward the studying that is necessary to earn a high grade – that when she releases these students from the distraction and bother of having to compete against their other classmates for high class standing – these favored students will thereby be prompted to study longer, harder, with greater diligence and attention, and with more success than they would study if they were not guaranteed to receive a high grade.

And at the end of the school year, this teacher points with pride to the ‘A’s assigned to each of these favored students, telling the world that these high grades prove the workability and wisdom of her method of ‘protecting’ her favorite students from the need actually to compete to earn high grades.  “My students do ‘A’-level work because they were guaranteed to get ‘A’ grades; had they not been protected by this guarantee, they would have been under much too much pressure actually to perform well.  And we know that they performed very well indeed because, hey, look! – They all got ‘A’s!”


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