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Protectionism

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All protectionism is rooted in the mistaken presumption not only that existing, domestic producers have a moral right Рenforceable by the state Рto the patronage of domestic consumers, but also that no future domestic producers have such a right as against current domestic producers.  This right, were it real, implies that consumers exist to please existing domestic producers; it implies that continued or expanded production of that which is currently produced domestically is the end, while consumption is only the means of encouraging such production.

Only the widespread, if unthinking, acceptance of this presumption gives credence to the demands of domestic producers that some “unfair” practice by a foreign rival or foreign government justifies the imposition by the home government of punitive taxes on domestic consumers who purchase imports. ¬†Only a widely shared, if seldom articulated, belief that current domestic producers have a right to some minimum portion of domestic-consumers’ incomes explains the nodding of the heads of many people of all political persuasions when they hear some politician or pundit or preacher demonize foreign producers for selling wares to domestic citizens.

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