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Will the Beirut Boom Cause a Beirut Boom?

The Fund for American Studies president Roger Ream e-mailed me a few days ago to draw my attention to this New York Times report on the recent devastating explosion in Beirut. Roger noted this passage specifically (emphasis added by Roger):

The consequences of yesterday’s explosion will be even more serious than the immediate casualties and property damage. The main grain silo, which holds some 85 percent of the country’s cereals, was destroyed. Even more, the port will no longer be able to receive goods. Lebanon imports 80 percent of what it consumes, including 90 percent of its wheat, which is used to make the bread that is the staple of most people’s diets. About 60 percent of those imports come through the port of Beirut. Or, at least, they did.

Commenting on this passage, Roger perceptively wrote in his e-mail:

Surely this explosion will accomplish what very high tariffs on imports could not, which is to reduce the country’s trade imbalance. This will be a test case to see if this destruction begins prosperity to the country.

If protectionists such as Donald Trump, Peter Navarro, Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Peter Morici, Ian Fletcher, and Warren Platts are correct in their understanding of trade, then Beirut’s recent boom should spark a Beirut economic boom.


(I thank Roger for his kind permission for me to share here his e-mail.)