≡ Menu

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 5 of Robert Ekelund’s and Robert Tollison’s fascinating 1981 book, Mercantilism As a Rent-Seeking Society:

The balance-of-trade objective was nothing more than the by-product of the interplay of numerous self-interested parties who were seeking rents from monopolization in these early nation-states.

DBx: Yes. And so the balance-of-trade (or, more generally, the balance-of-payments) concept remains today good for nothing more than generating excuses for each government to burden the bulk of its citizens with trade restrictions and subsidies designed in fact to enrich a small handful of politically influential producer groups.


Bob Ekelund (1940-2023) was my dissertation advisor at Auburn University. Bob Tollison (1942-2016) was my former colleague at George Mason University. I miss them both.