… is from page 264 of the 2009 Revised Edition of Thomas Sowell’s Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One:
The United States was likewise transformed from a predominantly agricultural nation to an industrial power with the aid of skills, talents, and technologies brought to the country by massive inflows of immigrants from Europe, and with vast amounts of foreign investments which helped build such infrastructure as canals and railroads in the nineteenth century. Moreover, the United States continued to be the world’s leading recipient of foreign investment on into the twenty-first century.
DBx: This important piece of 19th-century American economic history is overlooked by today’s protectionists who insist that America’s unprecedented economic growth during that century was caused by the U.S. government’s frequent imposition of
protective tariffs punitive taxes on Americans who chose to make their businesses’ budgets or household incomes go further by purchasing goods from abroad. Today’s projectionists regularly combine their admiration for America’s 19th-century protectionism with assertions about how awful are today’s U.S. trade deficits and about how effective higher tariffs will be at eliminating said awfulness. (Also, of course, many such protectionists today further demonstrate their ignorance of history by joining their hostility to imports with hostility to immigrants.)