Free Trade & Trade Policy

A Capitalist Looks at Free Trade

Protectionists seeking relief from the rigors of foreign competition bring to mind Milton Friedman's dictum, "The great enemies of face enterprise are businessmen and intellectuals — businessmen because they want socialism for themselves and free enterprise for everyone else; intellectuals, because they want free enterprise for themselves and socialism for everyone else." I speak from personal experience. Baseball-glove leather was ... [click for more]

Producer Interest vs. The Public Interest: The Origin of Democratized Privilege

In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith constructed some of the most devastating arguments against the then-prevailing system of economic policy — mercantilism. In practically every country in Europe, governments regulated, controlled and planned the economic activities of their subjects. In France, the regulations were so detailed that they specified how many stitches should be used in attaching ... [click for more]

Democratized Privilege: The New Mercantilism

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, most of the governments of Europe established a set of economic policies which became known as mercantilism. Kings, princes and parliaments implemented and vigorously enforced detailed and pervasive controls and regulations over almost every aspect of economic life. Many imports were prohibited, and ... [click for more]

Free Trade versus Protectionism

A specter is haunting the economies of the world. It is the specter of protectionism. In one country after the other, cries are heard that international trade, rather than bringing mutual prosperity, imposes economic hardship on some nations so that others may gain. Trading practices among nations are declared ... [click for more]

The Tariff Idea

One of the fallacies popular throughout the world is the belief that exports are good and imports are bad. If we sell more than we buy, we have a 'favorable' balance of trade - and that is supposed to be good. Actually, in a free market there is no such thing ... [click for more]

The Heritage of Economic Liberty

For the Founding Fathers, economic liberty was inseparable from the case for political freedom. Many of the grievances enumerated in the Declaration of Independence concern British infringements on the free movement of goods and men between the thirteen colonies and the rest of the world. It was not a coincidence that ... [click for more]
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