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A Protectionist is Someone Who…

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… upon learning of the discovery in his country of a huge stash of long-lost gold [2] concludes not only that the people of his country are thereby made richer as long as that gold remains in the country and is never used to purchase imports, but also that the discovery of such gold enriches the country far more than would the discovery in his country of an abandoned cargo ship filled with delicious and edible food, fashionable ready-to-wear clothing, barrels of excellent refined gasoline and aviation fuel, state-of-the-art automobiles, stylish and functional household furniture, and – horror of horrors! – tons of high-quality steel-mill and aluminum-mill products.

The protectionist mistakes the increased availability of gold, in its capacity as a medium of exchange, for being an increase in real wealth, and mistakes the increased availability of real goods and services (ironically enough, of the sort that gold can be used to purchase) for being a decrease in real wealth.

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