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A Protectionist is Someone Who…

… divides ten by five and comes up with an answer of four.

Nearly all protectionist arguments are rooted in a denial of the laws of arithmetic. For the protectionist, dividing all available domestic inputs, including labor, amongst a larger number of domestic firms and industries causes some of these firms and industries to have more inputs for use and none to have fewer.

For the protectionist, to add more labor and other inputs to the domestic industry that produces X – and, thereby, to produce more X domestically – entails no reduction in the amounts of labor and other inputs employed in other domestic industries – and, hence, no reduction in the amounts of Y, Z, or any other good or service produced domestically.

For the protectionist, the total amount of goods and services to which domestic citizens have access in order to improve their living standards is greater the greater is the amount of goods and services that the state prevents domestic citizens from acquiring from abroad.


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