Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Economic nationalism

An excellent article against "economic nationalism" by Sheldon Richman of the Foundation for Economic Freedom.

Yes, under free trade in a global economy people have to adjust to changing conditions. What's the alternative? Government policies to freeze the status quo in place? If that thinking had prevailed earlier, some of us would be poor farmers and blacksmiths today; the rest would not have been born. Moreover, disruptive change is not something only foreigners can cause. A modern new plant in California can mean unemployment in Ohio. What does the economic nationalist say to that? Do we need trade barriers between states? Why not between cities, neighborhoods, households? If that makes no sense, then we're just arguing about how big the free-trade zone should be. When you trace the principle out consistently, you see that protectionism is no blueprint for prosperity or even security.

The way to minimize the hardship of change is to make sure the
marketplace is free of government intrusion.

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