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Not a Killer Question from the Protectionist

The proprietor of www.ssotu.com responded to my first letter to him with an e-mail asking me a question.  Here's my reply:

Mr. Mark ________
Proprietor, www.ssotu.com
Melbourne, Australia

Dear Mr. ________:

Opposing free trade, you challenge me to answer the following question:

[Boudreaux] are appointed the Chief Terminator of Economic Ignorance at
a salary of $150,000 a year.  Things are going great for a while, then
one day you're told your job will now be done from India for just
$10,000 a year.  How are you going to feed your family?"

Such a
question elicits many complementary answers.  Here, for now, is just
one – in the form of some questions for you: Suppose that people no longer
wish to incur the cost of escaping economic ignorance; suppose that
people's preferences change – say, people switch from preferring
economic education to preferring more chemistry or theology education,
subjects about which I know nothing.  Demand for my services as an
economic educator dries up.

Does the fact that my income falls
dramatically as a result of this economic change give me the right to
force people to continue to purchase my services?  Are people morally
obliged, having once voluntarily paid me well to perform a service for
them, to continue to pay me well for as long as I wish to be occupied in supplying that service?  Does a change in my economic circumstances entitle me (either directly, or through my representatives in government or through some street thugs whom I might hire) to prevent people from spending their money on instruction in chemistry
or theology or on other goods and services?

Donald J. Boudreaux

My answer to these questions is an unambiguous, emphatic, and unconditional "no."