… is from page 133 of Bas Van Der Vossen’s and Jason Brennan’s excellent 2018 book, In Defense of Openness :
Tariffs enrich the few at the expense of the many, the many in the developed world and the developing world.
DBx: It’s the truth. Contrary to the fantasies of both “Progressives” and conservative nationalists, tariffs do not enrich ordinary people at the expense of corporations, oligarchs, and foreign peoples or governments. Instead, tariffs are a special privilege, enforced with threats of coercion, given to a subset of domestic producers. The enrichment of these producers comes chiefly at the larger expense of fellow citizens – fellow citizens as consumers, and fellow citizens as producers whose businesses and jobs are made less productive, and perhaps even impossible, by tariffs’ artificial diversion of resources from more-productive to less-productive uses.
Yes, tariffs do also reduce the economic well-being of some foreigners. But contrary to the popular delusion that countries are in economic competition with each other, economic harm suffered abroad does not mean economic gain enjoyed at home. Indeed, economic harm suffered abroad typically brings about economic suffering at home.