… is from Scott Lincicome’s and Alfredo Carrillo Obregon’s April 19th, 2022, paper, “The (Updated) Case for Free Trade“:
Contrary to common descriptions of trade as transactions between nations (or even something that one country does to another), in reality it is millions of daily economic exchanges voluntarily undertaken by individuals across national borders. These international exchanges – little different from ones made between U.S. cities and states – make us richer in real terms by enabling us to consume more (in both quantity and variety) and work less, while improving broader economic growth and innovation in the process. “Free trade” simply gets the government (i.e., tariffs and nontariff barriers) out of the way.
DBx: Few policy topics are as encrusted with as many bizarre fallacies as is international trade. And no such fallacy is more bizarre than that which holds that free trade is a policy ‘imposed’ by elites on ordinary people.
This fallacy is the equivalent of the belief that your gun-owning neighbor ‘imposes’ on you a policy of free trade by his refraining from pointing his pistol at your head to demand payment whenever you purchase items from merchants who he disapproves of.