… is from page 203 of the 2016 Mercatus Center re-issue of my late colleague Don Lavoie’s 1985 volume National Economic Planning: What Is Left?; here Don challenges the argument – made back then by, among others, Felix Rohatyn – that Uncle Sam should use trade restrictions to promote national defense; (chart original to here; not to Lavoie):
For a world that is increasingly interdependent, it is difficult to think of any products, other than nonessential consumer items, the withholding of which could not somehow, directly or indirectly, harm the interests of national security. To defend itself from such potential blackmail, the United States would have to become virtually autarkic. But of course even to approach that condition would reduce our productivity so drastically as genuinely to endanger our national defense.
DBx: Very true. And as the chart above shows, the world is even more interdependent today than it was when Don first published these words 32 years ago.