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The Goal Is Consumption

I sent this letter a few days ago to the Washington Post:

Emily DeRocco complains
that "The April 9 Business article ‘Don’t Blame NAFTA for Downturn,
Many Economists Say’ quoted politicians, economists and labor
representatives but not a single manufacturer – those at the heart of
this wrenching debate" (Letters, April 12).

She’s mistaken.
Those at the heart of this debate aren’t manufacturers (or politicians,
economists, or labor representatives).  Those at the heart of this
debate are consumers.  Or, those at the heart of this debate should be consumers.  Unfortunately, consumers are too large in number
and too disparate in interests to organize effectively for political
purposes.  The result is that consumers’ interests in trade discussions
are largely ignored, even though an economy’s success is measured not
by how well that economy satisfies the wishes of producers, but exclusively by
how well, over time, it satisfies the demands of consumers.

Donald J. Boudreaux

Producers exist to satisfy consumers; production is the means and consumption is the end.  Protectionism is a policy built on the premise that consumers exist to satisfy producers.