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.
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