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A Protectionist is Someone Who…

Summary:
… admires Smith’s prudence in saving, applauds Smith’s gumption in entrepreneurially channeling those savings into the construction and operation of a factory in the protectionist’s home country, and celebrates the economic opportunities that this factory gives to those who work in it, but who – upon learning that Smith lives, not in Buffalo (as the protectionist originally thought), but in Toronto – execrates Smith’s prudence in saving, warns of mysterious dangers of Smith’s gumption in entrepreneurially channeling those savings into the construction and operation of a factory in the protectionist’s home country, and utterly fails to notice the economic opportunities that this factory gives to those who work in it. (Note that in neither case does the protectionist pay any attention

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… admires Smith’s prudence in saving, applauds Smith’s gumption in entrepreneurially channeling those savings into the construction and operation of a factory in the protectionist’s home country, and celebrates the economic opportunities that this factory gives to those who work in it, but who – upon learning that Smith lives, not in Buffalo (as the protectionist originally thought), but in Toronto – execrates Smith’s prudence in saving, warns of mysterious dangers of Smith’s gumption in entrepreneurially channeling those savings into the construction and operation of a factory in the protectionist’s home country, and utterly fails to notice the economic opportunities that this factory gives to those who work in it.

(Note that in neither case does the protectionist pay any attention to the benefits of Smith’s factory to consumers.  Protectionists care only for producers.  Protectionists notice consumers only insofar as consumers are folk who, because they stubbornly insist on spending their money in ways that consumers judge to improve their welfare – consumers’ welfare – rather in ways that promote the welfare of the subset of existing producers who are the focus of protectionists’ concerns and affections, must be taxed, blocked, bridled, or otherwise prevented by the state from spending their money in ways that protectionists find disagreeable.)

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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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