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Peace and Free Trade

Here’s a letter that I recently sent to the Wall Street Journal:

Mark Helprin correctly points out that as the Chinese grow more prosperous their military will grow more mighty (“The Challenge From China,” May 13).  He advises that Uncle Sam dramatically increase the size of his own arsenal.

Regardless of this suggestion’s merits or demerits, the more vital course is for Uncle Sam to immediately eliminate all trade and investment restrictions with China, and for politicians to stop threatening further restrictions.  Such moves would speed the integration of China’s economy with our own.  Being economically integrated means being economically reliant on each other – a happy recipe for prosperity and peace.

Want evidence?  See the important work of economists Solomon Polachek and Carlos Seiglie.  Their empirical research leads them to conclude that “international cooperation in reducing barriers to both trade and capital flows can promote a more peaceful world.”  Want more evidence?  Ask yourself how likely are even a well-armed Canada or Japan to have any interest in shooting their countless customers and suppliers throughout the U.S.?  The answer, of course, is no more likely than we are to want to shoot our customers and suppliers throughout those countries

Donald J. Boudreaux