1845 vs. 2008: Protectionism Hasn't Changed
In a classic, satirical anti-protectionism essay by French economist Bastiat, French candlemakers' in 1845 petitioned against "the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival is none other than the sun."
According to yesterday's FT Times, The European Candle Institute is currently petitioning the European Union against "a surge in Chinese candle imports that is unfairly damaging our businesses."
The complaint says that hundreds of jobs have been lost in the past few months, and that Chinese producers are selling below the costs of their EU rivals.
The French candlemakers in 1845, according to Bastiat, wanted to pass a law "requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, and blinds -- in short, all openings and holes through which the light of the sun can enter houses, to the detriment of the candle industry."
The European candlemakers today want to impose anti-dumping duties against China in retaliation against "unfair prices."
HT: Tim Worstall