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A Protectionist is Someone Who…

Summary:
… cannot adequately explain why each and every household in the world does not itself literally build its own home, literally grow its own food, literally spin the thread and weave the textiles that it literally sews together into its own clothing, literally manufacture its own automobile, literally treat its own medical ailments, and literally produce for itself each and every good and service that its members consume. When asked why we don’t observe each and every household being completely self-sufficient in this literal manner, the protectionist replies “Don’t be ridiculous!  That’s silly.”  Of course, this reply is exactly correct.  But what the protectionist misses is the fact that this very same reply is no less appropriate as a response to any argument that he or she makes in

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… cannot adequately explain why each and every household in the world does not itself literally build its own home, literally grow its own food, literally spin the thread and weave the textiles that it literally sews together into its own clothing, literally manufacture its own automobile, literally treat its own medical ailments, and literally produce for itself each and every good and service that its members consume.

When asked why we don’t observe each and every household being completely self-sufficient in this literal manner, the protectionist replies “Don’t be ridiculous!  That’s silly.”  Of course, this reply is exactly correct.  But what the protectionist misses is the fact that this very same reply is no less appropriate as a response to any argument that he or she makes in support of trade restrictions.

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Don Boudreaux
He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

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