Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fair Trade = Protectionism

From an article by George Mason economist Walter Williams:

"Some people justify their calls for protectionism by claiming that they're for free trade but fair trade. That's nonsense. Think about it: When I purchased my Lexus from a Japanese producer, through an intermediary, I received what I wanted. The Japanese producer received what he wanted. In my book, that's a fair trade.

Of course, an American auto producer, from whom I didn't purchase my car, might whine that it was unfair. He would like Congress to impose import tariffs and quotas to make Japanese-produced cars less attractive and available in the hopes that I'd buy an American-produced car. In my book, that would be unfair."

MP: Based on past experience, whenever somebody calls for "fair trade," it's a sure bet that what they really want is some kind of protectionism for an inefficient domestic producer or industry.


At 1/17/2007 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While "fair trade" may not be the best adjective. Isn't there some relevance to identifying the differences that various government structures bring to free trade. Could national health care(a burden placed on Japanese society, not the individual companies) be considered a subsidy for the Japanese automakers when it is compared to domestic manufacturers?


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