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The Morality of Free Trade

My friend (and co-blogger over at Market Correction) Andy Morriss has this wonderful letter in today’s Wall Street Journal:

You quote Cass Johnson
of the National Council of Textile Organizations as boasting that the
slight relaxation of barriers to textile imports from Haiti being
considered in Congress can be stopped ("Haiti’s Trade Push Hits New Political Head Wind,"
Politics & Economics, Nov. 27). What right does Mr. Johnson have to
interfere with voluntary trade between consenting adults? The question
that needs to be asked in Washington is: Why are Mr. Johnson and other
representatives of special interests even consulted about the trading
practices of others?

Free trade between
Americans and Haitians (or Americans and Mexicans, Chinese, Laotians,
Guatemalans, Poles, Ugandans or anyone else you care to name) is not
only none of Mr. Johnson’s business, it is none of anyone’s business
except those doing the trading. And, as the case of trade with Haiti
makes abundantly clear, free trade isn’t simply an economically
sensible policy, it is a moral policy. How dare these people attempt to
stop Haitians from bettering themselves through offering to trade with

Andrew P. Morriss
Professor of Law
University of Illinois, College of Law
Champaign, Ill.

101 percent right-on.


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