” Daniel Griswold argues that free trade is not only more efficient than protectionism but also more moral.”
” One: Free Trade Respects Individual Dignity and Sovereignty
A man or woman engaged in honest work has a basic right to enjoy the fruits of his or her labor. It is a violation of my right to property for the government to forbid me to exchange what I produce for something produced by a fellow human being, whether the person I’m trading with lives across town or across the ocean.
Protectionism is a form of stealing, a violation of the Eighth Commandment and other prohibitions against theft. It takes from one group of people, usually a broad cross section of consumers, and gives the spoils to a small group of producers whose only claim to the money is that they would be worse off under open competition.
Free trade meets the most elementary test of justice, giving to each person sovereign control over that which is his own. As Frederic Bastiat wrote in his 1849 essay, “Protectionism and Communism”:
Every citizen who has produced or acquired a product should have the option of applying it immediately to his own use or of transferring it to whoever on the face of the earth agrees to give him in exchange the object of his desires. To deprive him of this option when he has committed no act contrary to public order and good morals, and solely to satisfy the convenience of another citizen, is to legitimize an act of plunder and to violate the law of justice.”
Read the whole thing . The essay dates from 2001 but that does nothing to diminish the validity of Mr Griswold’s argument . On the contrary , the intervening years of State growth and the corresponding inflation , depression and recession demonstrate more than words how the morality of the free market far surpasses that of the coercive State .