Free Trade

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

It is incredibly reckless to double taxes on imports from a particular country with the stroke of a pen. As robust and well-capitalized as the US is today, such actions foment more conflict, feed resentment, fuel nationalism, and take unnecessary risks with the economic well being of people the world over.

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Should the political order reflect a vision of society as a free association of individuals engaging in free exchange for mutual and general benefit and creating a complex society thereby?  Or should it come from one that sees membership of a collective entity as primary and allows trade among insiders but puts barriers in the way of trade with outsiders?

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Rent-seeking is a problem that those on the left should have to answer for whenever they propose extensive new regulations. But as President Trump's recent steel tariffs show, the problem knows no political ideology, and is an inevitable occurrence at the friction point between personal connections and power. The only way out, it would seem, would be to greatly reduce the very power to regulate.

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

I do not deny that countless other modern-day politicians are also mercantilists. But this fact doesn't mean that Trump is less of a mercantilist than he really is. He is a poster-boy for modern-day mercantilism.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

The cure for the deficit problem is not to hamper free trade but to replace the dollar as the international reserve currency with a private currency and to reduce America’s budget deficit, which absorbs the financial inflows from abroad.

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

What’s called “economic nationalism” is really just a cover for a political power grab and the manipulation of the public. The price is paid by you and me and everyone.

Monday, July 30th, 2018

When aggression is military, each government attempts to protect its citizens from that which is unleashed by foreigners. But when aggression is economic, it is unleashed by each government against its own citizens. 

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

The cause of free trade is fortunate this time to have the support of the merchant class.

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Whenever our government “retaliates” with trade restrictions of its own, it unfairly tilts the playing field here at home in favor of politically potent producer groups and against the rest of us.

Monday, July 16th, 2018

The very best system of national defense is one that reduces the prospect of war. It is one that diminishes the need to actually send into battle war machines and manpower. So anyone sincerely committed to a program of using trade policy as a means of strengthening national defense supports as an indispensable cornerstone of that policy free trade.

Monday, July 9th, 2018

It’s worth reflecting on all the ways in which this trade war seems to depart from the historical pattern. They suggest something important: this trade war is born not of strategy but of ideology.

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Ending military involvement in civilian navigation and public-waters regulation is one important step in any systematic reform to the scope of the federal government.

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

These foreign-government interventions supply no good ethical excuse for “retaliation.” In fact, losing nothing to which they are entitled, home-country producers themselves act unethically when they demand that the home government inflict upon fellow citizens the same unjust depravations that foreign governments inflict upon their citizens.

Friday, June 29th, 2018

Trump’s trade war is heating up. What should central banks do to ensure their economies aren’t damaged too much?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

After all these efforts, all these interventions and tax-back loans, nothing could prepare the company to deal with a loss of its foreign markets. This is why the company said this week that it would move some production overseas due to increased costs from the EU's retaliatory tariffs against the Trump administration's taxes on imports of steel and aluminum.

Monday, June 25th, 2018

The hoopla and hysteria about balance of trade deficits, and that somehow “others” are taking advantage of us because we buy more from them than they buy from us, in fact, is the result of an analytical myopia of failing to “follow the money” through all the different forms and channels that import and export spending can take, both for an individual or the country as a whole. Once you do, you realize that the balance of trade “problem” is all an illusion.

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

Economic nationalism, characterized by restriction on trade and migration toward the goal of political control, has a different sales pitch and cultural feel from the central planning of generations past. But it is no less an attack on free enterprise, industrial rivalry, and consumer control of production. Ultimately it is just another way to undermine property rights, freedom, and the limits on the power of the state.

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

It’s the 295th birthday of Adam Smith, champion of trade and the philosophical mastermind who explained the end of the old world and the beginning of the new. And yet, on this day, after so many centuries of intellectual work to promote free trade, a trade war is upon us.

Monday, June 4th, 2018

We’ve got a genuine problem, a new crop of world leaders who are willing to sacrifice economic rationality, international cooperation, and world peace to feed their nationalistic political ambitions via the brute force of protectionism. Trump is leading the way.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

The company ZTE (Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment) in Shanghai had employed as many 75,000, and does business in 160 nations, while relying heavily on importing American component parts and manufacturing cellphones and other digital equipment. The US Commerce Department came down hard on the company for dealings with North Korea and Iran. It fined the company $1.2 billion and banned American exports to the company for fully seven years. It was all part of the “get tough” policy that Trump has been promoting his entire career.

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