… is from page 89 of Pierre Lemieux’s excellent 2018 monograph, What’s Wrong With Protectionism? :
The moral concern for fairness is often, if not usually, an excuse. What is blamed as unfair trade is any situation in which one’s price is undercut by one’s foreign competitor. The outcompeted producer is the one that makes the complaint. Neither consumers nor the most efficient competitors generally call free trade unfair.
DBx: Count on it: anytime you encounter a producer alleging that trade is “unfair” – or that the “playing field” isn’t “level” – you encounter a producer out to pick your pocket by denying to you the opportunity to take advantage of the best deals possible. You encounter a producer seeking state help in treating you unfairly.
Modern sensibilities (happily) do not permit such a thief to openly declare his desire to enrich himself at others’ expense; therefore, such a thief masks his predation with faux ethical argumentation – in particular, here, the false supposition that he, as a domestic producer, is ethically entitled to that share of others’ incomes that others would otherwise choose to spend on imports.
Protectionists arrogantly presume that domestic consumers exist for the benefit of protectionists.