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A Question for Protectionists


Given that you are so thoroughly convinced of the (utterly bizarre) proposition that greater abundance that comes into the home country from different political jurisdictions presents such a threat to the living standards of people in the home country that the state must have a policy of reducing this abundance, are you also thoroughly convinced that the state must have a policy of reducing the greater abundance that comes from –

– discoveries in the home country of new deposits of “natural” resources such as petroleum, iron ore, and magnesium?

– improved skills – such as those acquired through worker training and through better schooling – of workers in the home country?

– improved health of workers in the home country?

– a deepening of the division of labor in the home country that allows any given number of workers to produce more output?

– the increased productivity of home-country workers caused by increases in the amount of capital they work with?

– any declines in the amount of destruction that natural disasters inflict on the home country?

– improvements in the home-country’s infrastructure?

– improvements in financial markets that enable a larger number of home-country entrepreneurs to get the funds they need to launch or to expand businesses that increase the amounts of goods and services available for sale to home-country buyers?

– improvements in organizational and managerial practices that enable home-country firms to produce from any given amount of resources greater amounts of outputs for sale to home-country buyers?

– better packaging, faster and more reliable trucks and other transportation vehicles, and other innovations that reduce the amount destruction and damage done to goods being transported to market?

I assume that your belief in the dangers posed to home-country citizens by a greater abundance of goods and services leads you also to endorse, in addition to an active state policy to restrict imports, also an active state policy of tamping down all of these, and any other, sources of a greater abundance of goods and services. And so I ask explicitly: Do you believe that the state should punitively tax, for example, workers’ access to on-the-job training? If not, why not?