My former GMU Econ colleague Omar Al Ubaydli reminds us of the single greatest benefit of more-open trade and greater economic integration across political borders: increased prospects for peace . A slice:
These are more than academic theories; it is easy to find illustrations by examining the history of international relations. One of the most salient is the European Union: after centuries of devastating conflict, Europeans started to integrate economically with the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community. Half a century later, the result is deep levels of cooperation across all domains, Brexit aside, and, most importantly, a lasting peace. Similarly, during the deepest economic crisis of the 20th century – the Great Depression of 1929-1937 – countries adopted aggressive economic stances toward each other, accompanied by the imposition of trade barriers. People started to view economic relations with foreigners with suspicion and the result was the worst conflict in the history of the world, the Second World War.
For us old-fashioned or European-style liberals, or humane American real liberals 2.0, the grounds are far too wide. A private person, we all say, is simply not to be coerced. As Lincoln noted in 1864, “With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases, with himself, and with the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor.” The coercive power of the slave-owner is the same as that of the tax eater, the positive liberty to violate the negative liberty of others.