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Quotation of the Day…

… is from Walter Russell Mead’s essay – “Geopolitics Trumps the Markets” – in yesterday’s Wall Street Jounral:

Companies may be outraged that hastily imposed tariffs introduce irrational and counterproductive costs, but they also fear the consequences of antagonizing an administration that can impose new and larger tariffs at will.

DBx: The case for a policy of unilateral free trade rests on a foundation built of bricks in addition to the truth that trade restrictions deny to domestic buyers many opportunities today to achieve gains from trade that are as large as possible. A few months ago Richard McKenzie wrote eloquently of another brick in the foundation for the case of a policy of free trade – namely, free trade promotes economic growth in dynamic ways, by sparking the growth that comes from entrepreneur-unleashed creative destruction.

The Mead quotation above points to yet a third brick in the case for a policy of unilateral free trade: under such a policy, we buyers are not obliged to tug at our forelocks as we, genuflecting, beg state officials for permission to spend our earnings as we choose.

Not only does a policy of free trade free us from the need to spend time and resources (and dignity) begging the state not to obstruct our commerce – and not only does such a policy discourage producer groups from spending time and resources begging the state to obstruct our commerce – such a policy also reduces the economically destructive uncertainty that is always present whenever and to the extent that state officials have the discretion to obstruct economic activities.