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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 161 of the 1971 Augustus M. Kelley reprint of the 1880 Sixth American edition of Jean-Baptiste Say‘s 1803 A Treatise on Political Economy (Traité d’économie politique):

Should any one maintain, that the advantage of producing at home counterbalances the hardship of paying dearer for almost every article; that our own capital and labour are engaged in the production, and the profits pocketed by our own fellow-citizens; my answer is, that the foreign commodities we might import are not to be had gratis: that we must purchase them with values of home production, which would have given equal employment to our industry and capital; for we must never lose sight of this maxim, that products are always bought ultimately with products. It is most for our advantage to employ our productive powers, not in those branches in which foreigners excel us, but in those which we excel in ourselves; and with the product to purchase of others. The opposite course would be just as absurd, as if a man should wish to make his own coats and shoes. What would the world say, if, at the door of every house an import duty were laid upon coats and shoes, for the laudable purpose of compelling the inmates to make them for themselves? Would not people say with justice, Let us follow each his own pursuits, and buy what we want with what we produce, or, which comes to the same thing, with what we get for our products. The system would be precisely the same, only carried to a ridiculous extreme.

DBx: Indeed.

The following reality cannot be too often proclaimed: Protectionism is to sound economics what Lysenkoism is to sound biology. It is embraced only by the uninformed, the ideologically benighted, the incurably dull-witted, or the greedy rent-seekers.

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