… is from page 376 of the final (2016) volume – Bourgeois Equality – of Deirdre McCloskey’s soaring trilogy on the essence of bourgeois values, on their transmission, and on their essential role in modern life (original emphasis):
Trade was a context for widespread individual responsibility, as against obedience to the hierarchy’s commands.
DBx: Indeed so. Under a policy of free trade, no one is compelled to buy or to sell – no purchases are artificially penalized and no sales are subsidized. Each person is left free by his or her own government to make whatever peaceful and non-fraudulent offers he or she chooses to whomever he or she wishes.
In contrast, protectionism is a policy of third-parties – government officials – obstructing their own citizens’ freedom to buy and sell. Therefore, the notion that free trade is a policy of elitism while protectionism is a policy of enhancing the voice and freedom of ordinary people is about as absurd a notion as has ever been peddled.
Today – September 11th – is Deirdre McCloskey’s birthday. May it be a wonderful one – and may she, for her sake and for ours, have many, many more.