… is from page 312 of economist Lionel Robbins’s insightful and still-relevant 1937 book, Economic Planning and International Order:
Even the celebrated argument for the protection of infant industries has worn a little thin by now. Analytically the thing is conceivable. But in fact it does not seem to happen. The infants are brought to birth. But they never cease to need protection.
DBx: Yes. And the success of “infant industry” protection is conceivable only in the sense that it is conceivable that politicians and bureaucrats will act apolitically and have more business acumen and access to greater knowledge than is possessed by countless private entrepreneurs and investors each spending only his or her own money in competition with each other. So, yes, conceivable. But “conceivable” in the same way that it’s conceivable that someone will survive an accidental fall off of the roof of a skyscraper by landing in a downy snowdrift atop a mountain of mattresses. Conceivable. But only madmen recommend free-fall jumping from the roofs of skyscrapers.