A new paper by Richard Horan, Jason Shogren, and Erwin Bulte, forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization , argues that neanderthals were done in by free-trading homo sapiens. Here’s a summary . (Note: this summary gets the journal’s name wrong.)
Neanderthals failed to survive after humans entered their territories in large part because neanderthals were not innovative and had no significant division of labor and trading relationships.
So, we can with more accuracy than ever call protectionists and others who would keep market forces from improving the human lot "neanderthals."
I thank my good friend Ed Grass for alerting me to the Horan, Shogren, and Bulte article.