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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 80 of Jagdish Bhagwati’s 2002 book, Free Trade Today:

[S]ince the [trade] sanctions are used by governments that are themselves morally imperfect, the credibility of their actions in behalf of morality is necessarily suspect and breeds cynicism and evasion.

DBx: So-called “trade sanctions” and other obstructions erected by governments to prevent their own citizens from trading freely are often justified as responses to other governments’ unethical behaviors (such as, for example, other governments’ imposition of protective tariffs that obstruct the citizens of other countries from trading freely). Yet as Bhagwati notes, nearly every government that erects such obstructions allegedly in response to other governments’ unethical behavior itself regularly engages in such behavior.

Whenever you encounter any of the many excuses for protectionism, you can safely bet your pension against a penny that that excuse is nothing more than a post hoc rationalization of the predatory cronyism that is protectionism’s essence.