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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 124 of Douglas Irwin’s excellent 1996 book, Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade:

[Friedrich] List’s harsh attacks on the “cosmopolitan school” of [Adam] Smith frequently distorted the position of classical writers, who were not romantic cosmopolitans neglectful of the national interest, and even List admitted in his preface that his attacks were exaggerated for effect.

DBx: Protectionists – having no solid arguments on which to build their case that prosperity springs from artificially contrived scarcity – frequently resort to distorting the writings of great champions of free trade, including (of course) those of Adam Smith. The very fact that List felt the need to ‘exaggerate’ Smith’s cosmopolitanism – i.e., to distort Smith’s cosmopolitanism – speaks volumes about the quality of List’s own arguments.


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