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Quotation of the Day…

… is from Laura LaHaye’s 2008 essay “Mercantilism,” which is a chapter in David Henderson’s indispensable Concise Encyclopedia of Economics:

Modern mercantilist practices arise from the same source as the mercantilist policies of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. Groups with political power use that power to secure government intervention to protect their interests while claiming to seek benefits for the nation as a whole. In their recent interpretation of historical mercantilism, Robert B. Ekelund and Robert D. Tollison (1997) focused on the privilege-seeking activities of monarchs and merchants. The mercantile regulations protected the privileged positions of monopolists and cartels, which in turn provided revenue to the monarch or state.

DBx: In our more-democratic age, the sales pitch for mercantilist tariffs, import quotas, and subsidies differs a bit from the sales pitch of 300 years ago. But the baneful consequences, for the masses, of these restrictive policies are today the same. Also the same is the reality that at the root of all protectionist policies is a hybrid mix of rank economic ignorance, cronyism, and political opportunism,


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