… is from page 226 of Douglas Irwin’s superb 1996 book, Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade :
Consequently, despite the abundant and repeated criticisms that have been made about the theoretical case for free trade, the broad presumption behind free trade has not been substantially undercut, but has remained intact.
DBx: Indeed so. And Doug’s point is no less true in 2018 than it was when he published these words in 1996. The reason is not difficult to find: free trade is a policy of rejecting government creation of artificially high degrees of scarcity. Free trade is a policy based on the recognition that more goods and services available in a country’s markets means, on the whole, more goods and services available for the people of that country to consume. Protectionists peddle the opposite conclusion – and, I admit, I don’t envy the task that they set for themselves – namely, that a government’s creation of artificially high degrees of scarcity make the people of that country richer rather than poorer. Protectionists anticipated Orwell by centuries, because for protectionists, less is more and more is less.