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Protectionism and Bastiat

2009-08-02

I was responding to an article on Seeking Alpha and their comments system seems to have developed an obstruction, so I figured I would post here.

I suggest the writings of Frederic Bastiat, who put comparative advantage and other economic principles in such simple terms that only the most disingenuous simpletons could deny them.

Protectionism is an economic policy to ban or tax imported goods, or correspondingly give tax breaks or subsidies to domestic production in an attempt to support domestic business.

The problem with protectionism is that it only solves a problem you can see — unemployment. The problem you do not see is that the dollars spent propping up domestic business could have been used to build a product for export, pay university tuition, or develop a drug to cure cancer, etc. Any time money is taken away from a market-selected enterprise and given to an enterprise that is unable to compete in the marketplace, it is used less efficiently.

If you have never read Bastiat, I recommend that you do so right now. That’s OK, I don’t mind if you stop reading my blog.

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