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Playing Whack-a-Mole

Here’s a letter to a commenter at Mark Perry’s blog, Carpe Diem:

Mr. Joe B:

Mr. B:

After reading my insistence that there’s no such thing as good protectionism, you glibly respond in a comment here that “There is something glib about the globalists, no?” And then in your attempt to demonstrate what you take to be my glibness you write “If a person, family, city, region or nation consumes more than it produces, it must sell assets, or go into debt. Don B. reminds of an ex-wife who thought she was ‘beating’ her friends as she run up the biggest credit card bills.”

You must pardon my irritation, but irritated I am at you and other protectionists. You either never read what we serious free traders write, or you are incapable of understanding what you read. Either way, it is deeply frustrating to explain time and time again that a country that runs a trade deficit does not necessarily thereby sell assets or go into debt. Pasted below my signature are links to just some of the countless explanations of this simple truth. What is it about you protectionists that prevents you from understanding this straightforward fact?

If you really want to find those who believe that they are ‘beating’ others when in fact they are beating themselves you need only look in the mirror. Protectionists cling to the idiotic notion that whenever ‘we’ convince foreigners to give us less of what they produce – and for us, through exchanges engineered by ‘our’ government, to give them more of what we produce – that ‘we’ thereby ‘beat’ foreigners. Pardon my rudeness, but anyone who holds such a belief is, on matters of trade, a complete ignoramus.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030








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