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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 26 of Edwin Cannan’s 1914 tract, Wealth: A Brief Explanation of the Causes of Economic Wealth:

Civilization started where communication, and consequently co-operation, were easiest, and so far as we can go back in history, the peoples which are now civilized have had a large supply of products, brought from distant places.

DBx: Indeed. And therefore it is fair to describe protectionists as enemies of civilization.

That protectionists are unaware that they are enemies of civilization is, of course, true. Also true is the fact that modern-day protectionist measures almost never completely cut off all international trade. But the logic of protectionism is uncivilized. Carried to its logical conclusion, protectionism pursued for economic purposes not only impoverishes the people of the countries that protectionists intend to enrich, it cuts these people off from other human beings. Protectionism thus deprives the people of the home country not merely of the material gains that come from free trade, but also of the learning and cultural mixing that international commerce engenders. Protectionism is uncivilized and barbaric.