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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 173 of Wilhelm Röpke’s 1959 book, International Order and Economic Integration:

The drawing of a political frontier changes nothing in the substance of the economic process as a constant exchange of goods and services produced by division of labour, unless such a political frontier is used to hinder exchange by political means.

DBx: Among the most silly yet indomitable and widespread economic fallacies is that the nature of voluntary exchange that takes place within political borders differs categorically from the nature of voluntary exchange that takes place across political borders.

On more than one occasion I heard the late, great Manuel Ayau ask in puzzlement this question: If before the December 1992 division of Czechoslovakia into two separate countries no one objected on economic grounds to the residents of Prague trading freely with the residents of Bratislava, why does anyone think that economic problems arise if this free trading continues after Czechoslovakia was divided into two different countries?

Great question.

I know from experience that protectionists aren’t shy about offering answers to questions such as this one. I also know from experience that the answers offered by protectionists reveal only their desperation to justify their peculiar theory that 10-3=15; I’ve yet to encounter any such answer that holds water.

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