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Tag Archives: free trade

Adam Smith: Myths and Realities

Myth: Adam Smith argued that the welfare gains from free trade among nations were limited to countries’ exploitation of their production cost advantages. The Reality Behind the Myth: Adam Smith is heralded today for his incisive argument for free international trade, unfettered by tariffs and quotas that curbed imports and “bounties” (subsidies) that promoted exports. For two centuries prior to the publication of The Wealth of Nations (1776), advanced countries had...

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Darlymple on Coronavirus

There is much wisdom in this piece by Theodore Darlymple on the coronavirus epidemic. At the end of the article, he writes: The world has suddenly woken up to the dangers of allowing China to be the workshop of the world and of relying on it as the ultimate source for supply chains for almost everything, from cars to medicines, from computers to telephones. No doubt normal service will soon resume once the epidemic is over, even if at a lower level, but at the very...

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Boise State Speech Next Monday

On Monday, November 4, I’ll be giving the Brandt Foundation Lecture at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. It will be the first time I’ve been in Boise since I stated overnight there in April 1971. Details are here. Title of talk: The Case for Free Trade Date: Monday, November 4 Time: 7:00 p.m. Location: Jordan Ballroom, SUB If you’re an EconLog reader and you come to the event, please come up before or after my talk and say hi.

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Boudreaux’s Export Error

In an otherwise good critique of a recent op/ed by Steve Moore, titled “Steve Moore Is No Free Trader,” economist Don Boudreaux makes his own error. He writes: First, exporting, as such, no more enriches a country than does vandalism or arson. Exporting enriches a country only insofar as the people of that country receive imports in return for their exports. Unlike Mr. Moore, every true free trader understands that exports lead to growth only if and to the extent...

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Theatre of the Absurd: Godot, Trump, and Xi

In Samuel Beckett’s postwar play “Waiting for Godot,” a defining work in the theater of the absurd, Didi and Gogo are waiting for Godot, nobody knows who Godot is, and he never comes. In many ways, the current trade negotiations between the American government and the Chinese government verge on the absurd: for most subjects of the two governments, such negotiations are meaningless and tragic. Look at the economics and politics of international trade with the...

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Gérard Araud on the decline of neoliberalism

Alex Tabarrok quotes from an interview of French Ambassador Gérard Araud: I don’t think that anything irreparable is happening in the U.S. I don’t know what would have happened in France if Marine Le Pen had been elected, because our institutions are much weaker. Let’s look at the dogma of the previous period. For instance, free trade. It’s over. Trump is doing it in his own way. Brutal, a bit primitive, but in a sense he’s right. What he’s doing with China should...

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Adam Smith’s Beautiful Reductio ad Absurdum

I’m about to leave for home from an excellent Liberty Fund colloquium on “Free Trade and Liberty” in La Jolla. Thanks to Liberty Fund, discussion leader Sandra Peart, organizers Pierre Lemieux and Liberty Fund’s Hans Eicholz, and the other participants. One of the readings is from Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Here’s a great passage where he does a really nice reductio ad absurdum to make the point that, for a given...

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Peter Schiff: NAFTA Rebrand Is a Marketing Fraud

President Trump managed to put together a new NAFTA deal with Canada just before the deadline. In his latest podcast, Peter Schiff called the “NAFTA rebrand” a marketing fraud.When Donald Trump was a candidate, he said NAFTA was the worst trade agreement ever negotiated by anybody. Even as he was taking credit for the new deal he just negotiated, Trump reiterated how bad the original deal was. Now he is saying the new NAFTA is the greatest deal ever negotiated.So, we went from the worst...

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In Defense of Openness: Excerpt

I’m pleased to announced In Defense of Openness is now available. Here’s the blurb: The topic of global justice has long been a central concern within political philosophy and political theory, and there is no doubt that it will remain significant given the persistence of poverty on a massive scale and soaring global inequality. Yet, virtually every analysis in the vast literature of the subject seems ignorant of what developmental economists, both left and right, have to say about...

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Our “Prosperity” Is Now Dependent on Predatory Globalization

So here’s the story explaining why “free” trade and globalization create so much wonderful prosperity for all of us: I find a nation with cheap labor and no environmental laws anxious to give me cheap land and tax credits, so I move my factory from my high-cost, highly regulated nation to the low-cost nation, and keep all the profits I reap from the move for myself. Yea for free trade, I’m now far wealthier than I was before. That’s the story. Feel better about “free”...

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