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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 663 of Douglas Irwin’s indispensable 2017 volume, Clashing Over Commerce [2]:

The collapse of Communism in 1989 allowed Eastern Europe and later the former Soviet Union to become integrated into the world economy, although their impact on global trade was modest. A more important consequence of the collapse was the discrediting of the socialist planning model, involving high trade barriers and state-led industrialization policies, that had been embraced by many developing countries.

DBx: How short is human memory?! The correct lesson, identified above by Doug, that was drawn 30 years ago from communism’s collapse is now all but forgotten. Young people cheer the 19th-century dirigiste promises of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as if these promises are new (“Progressive”!) and haven’t the abominable track record that they actually have.

Making matters even more bizarre is that increasing numbers of American conservatives also now embrace and peddle this dangerous dirigiste idiocy. Oren Cass, Julius Krein, Daniel McCarthy, Henry Olsen, Marco Rubio, and other conservatives call for the U.S. government to implement high trade barriers and state-led industrialization policies.

I’m not surprised that Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and their freshly undiapered fans are charmed by the prospect of such policies. They truck only in base emotions. I’m not even surprised by Rubio: being a politician, he’s in a clan whose members very rarely evince any sense of decency and respect for their fellow human beings.

But I expect(ed) more from people such as Cass and Olsen. Alas, I don’t get more. They, too, seem to be shockingly unaware of history’s lessons; they, too, seem to be allergic to economic reasoning. How utterly dispiriting.

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