… is from page 23 of economist Lionel Robbins’s insightful and still-relevant 1937 book, Economic Planning and International Order:
It is as though the national area imposing the tariff had moved further away from other areas: or that the cost of moving goods between areas had been enhanced by greater inefficiency of transport in respect of the commodities protected.
DBx: Pity protectionists. They operate at a terrible disadvantage, for it is their lot in life to argue that the people of a country grow wealthier as the efficiency of their economic efforts is made less. Protectionists are obliged to explain how reducing fellow citizens’ access to goods and services results in citizens having greater access to goods and services.
Protectionists were Orwellians before Orwell was born. For protectionists, more is less and less is more. Efficiency is inefficient and inefficiency is efficient. Freedom to trade is tyranny and prohibitions on trade are freedom. Working and shipping the resulting outputs to strangers is enriching while receiving outputs in exchange is impoverishing.