… is from pages 149-150 of the 1983 Leland Yeager translation of Ludwig von Mises’s 1919 book, the English title of which is Nation, State, and Economy:
Admittedly it is possible, if one disregards costs, to produce within the country goods necessary for waging war. But in war it is important not only that weapons and war material just be on hand but also that they be available in sufficient quantity and in best quality. A people that must produce them under more unfavorable conditions of production, that is, with higher costs, will go into the field worse provisioned, equipped, and armed than its opponents.
DBx: There is indeed a genuine national-security exception to the case for free trade. But this exception is far more limited – and, hence, far more dangerous if its limitations are overlooked – than those who use it either realize or let on.