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Economic Commentary

On the Political Economy of Trade Restraints

If you laid all the economists in the world end to end, or so the story goes, they would never reach a conclusion. On one subject, at least, this maxim is inaccurate. Virtually all economists agree that only a liberal world trading order can make every nation better off. They understand, as did Adam Smith, that free trade is truly the source and essence of the wealth of nations. This ideal, however, has never been realized. Instead, history charts a continual ebb and flow of protectionism. We can point to countries, rich in human and natural resources, that have withered behind trade barriers, and others, lacking such endowments, that have traded their way to world prominence.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit clevelandfed.org for updates.

Suggested Citation

Jordan, Jerry L. 1993. “On the Political Economy of Trade Restraints.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 4/15/1993.

This work by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International