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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 74 of the late, great Harold Demsetz’s richly rewarding 2008 book, From Economic Man to Economic System:

Industrialization, even more than farming, involved production in quantities greatly in excess of the needs of those whose work produced this production. The consequences of this are profound. If gains from specialization are to be won, people need to become comfortable and secure in their dealings with others who, for the most part, are strangers.

DBx: This Adam Smithian point perhaps sounds trite when stated so straightforwardly. But in reality people resist its implications. Prominent among those people who resist this point’s implications are ‘nationalist conservatives’ in the United States who advocate protectionist policies as a means of ‘bringing back’ manufacturing jobs. By stoking skepticism of dealing with strangers – by causing fellow citizens who buy imports to feel uncomfortable when doing so – ‘nationalist conservatives’ weaken a cornerstone for the flourishing of manufacturing.

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