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Plural Pronoun Confusion

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, Francisco Sanchez, applauds U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for “negotiating tough bargains, ensuring that when America gives other countries the privilege of free and fair access to our market, U.S. businesses will get the same treatment in theirs” (Letters, July 23).

Question for Mr. Sanchez: What is this “our market” to which Uncle Sam allegedly holds the keys?

There is no single “our market” that requires a collective doorkeeper and bouncer.  Instead, in the U.S. there are a couple hundred million individual such ‘markets’ – individual consumers – and access to each of these markets is best governed by each of the consumers whose own money is being spent and whose specific and unique demands are meant to be satisfied by the expenditure of that money.

Like every American, I’m perfectly capable myself of giving producers “the privilege of free and fair access” to the market for my consumer dollars – and of denying that access as I choose.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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