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He Asked

Here’s a letter that I sent to someone in Australia who insists on exporting to me — in America — his economic advice free of charge….

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

Dear Mr. ________:

In response to my posts in support of free trade you keep e-mailing me, and posting in the comments section of my blog Market Correction, the following:


“American economics professors – as of tomorrow your lectures will be delivered via videoconferencing screens from Asia for only 10% of your salaries…


*** [original emphasis]

I ignore the innumerable economic fallacies, and your ignorance of the data, that underlie your apparent assumption that imports from lower-wage countries impoverish citizens of higher-wage countries.  And I grant that economic change and stiffer competition (including from the opening up of foreign sources of supply) often lower the pay of some domestic workers.

So I take your question at face value.  My answer to it is this: I’ll find a way to feed my family.  I’ll get another job (or jobs).  I’ll cut back on less-essential expenses.  If I must, I’ll rely on my family and close friends as I hope they would rely on me if they were in dire straits.

But I will not, under any circumstances, use my economic misfortune as an excuse to violate the freedoms of others.  What right have I to demand that other people continue to pay me $X when they can get the same service elsewhere at a lower price, whether that lower price be $.99X or $.1X?  It is a perverted moral creed that justifies my threatening violence against persons who once paid me handsomely but who now choose to spend their earnings differently.  Such a moral creed is fundamentally inhuman, for not only does it make everyone a slave to everyone else, its widespread application would impoverish both our wallets and our character.

Donald J. Boudreaux