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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from David Hume’s essay, first published in 1759 or 1760, “Of the Jealousy of Trade” (here from page 330 of the 1985 Liberty Fund collection of some of Hume’s essays, edited by the late Eugene F. Miller, Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary):

If the spirit of industry be preserved, it may easily be diverted from one branch to another.

DBx: Widespread and growing prosperity requires not that today’s existing industries and jobs be preserved and protected from competition – that is, protected from having to satisfy changing consumer demands. Quite the opposite. To the extent that policies attempt to freeze in place today’s specific economic arrangements, tomorrow’s economic prosperity is lessened. What is fundamental and essential is what Hume calls “the spirit of industry.” If that spirit is preserved, society will continue to grow economically. If not, society won’t.

Every protective tariff, every obstacle to trade, every artificial burden on market-tested innovation works as a punitive tax on the spirit of industry. To recognize this reality is to recognize that protectionists, while they assert that they are friends of economic growth, progress and prosperity, are enemies of these benefits. The policies protectionists support – in addition to being economically ludicrous – work not to enliven the spirit of industry, but to slay it.