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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 195-196 of another book that makes a superb Christmas gift, Steven Landsburg’s 2009 The Big Questions [emphasis added]:

Let’s start by observing that there is almost surely no such thing as a net loser from free trade….  I doubt that there’s a human being on earth who hasn’t benefited from the opportunity to trade freely with his neighbors.  Imagine what your life would be like if you had to grow your own food, make your own clothes, and rely on your grandmother’s home remedies for health care.  Access to a trained physician might reduce the demand for Grandma’s chicken soup, but – especially at her age – she’s still got plenty of reason to be thankful for it.

Even if you’ve just lost your job, there’s something fundamentally churlish about blaming the very phenomenon that’s elevated you above the subsistence level since the day you were born.  If the world owes you compensation for enduring the downside of trade, what do you owe the world for enjoying the upside?


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