In this short video, Deirdre McCloskey accurately identifies the purpose of trade and applauds its achievements.
Here’s a choice quotation from the video:
The purpose of the economy is not to make jobs. Jobs are infinite. We can make construction workers use teaspoons instead of shovels and that will make for more jobs.
A pretty good test to discover whether or not someone – including a politician, a professor, a pundit, a preacher – speaks economic sense or nonsense is to ask if that person’s policy proposals are, at bottom, economically indistinguishable from the proposal to have construction workers use teaspoons rather than shovels and bulldozers. If the answer is “yes” – as it is in a surprisingly large number of cases – then that person speaks economic nonsense.