Bonus Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on February 3, 2019

in Balance of Payments, Myths and Fallacies, Trade

… is from page 159 of the 1971 Augustus M. Kelley reprint of the 1880 Sixth American edition of Jean-Baptiste Say’s 1803 A Treatise on Political Economy (Traité d’économie politique) (footnote excluded); this is the final sentence of Say’s “Digression, Upon What is Called the Balance of Trade”; the “childish and absurd” system to which Say refers is mercantilism and its quest to maintain a “favorable” balance of trade:

The day will come, sooner or later, when people will wonder at the necessity of taking all this trouble to expose the folly of a system, so childish and absurd, and yet so often enforced at the point of the bayonet.

DBx: Say said it correctly: efforts to maintain a ‘favorable’ balance of trade are indeed childish and absurd. The day, however, has yet to arrive when those who champion these childish and absurd efforts receive nothing but the resounding ridicule that they so richly deserve.

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