Protectionism In A Christmas Carol

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his is another one that's been in the queue for a while, The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection by Dr. Russell Roberts of GMU. As an aside, I think Dr. Roberts is one of the brightest minds around. The discussions he has with Drs. Munger and Boudreaux on EconTalk are fantastic. Dr. Roberts blogs at Cafe Hayek. I had already read The Invisible Heart and enjoyed it (my daughter did too). Wasn't sure what to expect when I picked The Choice from the library after having put it on hold. Only about 130 pages, a quick read. It's written like Dickens's A Christmas Carol. But instead of the ghosts of Christmas past/present/future visiting Ebenezer Scrooge … a circa-1960 television manufacturer is visited by the ghost of economist David Ricardo. ;-) I know, it sounds dopey, but I think it works. Either that or I'm too enthralled with the subject matter. ;-) Anyway, Ricardo takes Ed Johnson, the CEO of the Stellar Television Co. of Star IL on various journeys into the future to see what the world would look like (his town of Star, IL in particular) if various levels of protectionism held sway with politicians and policy. It's worth noting that one does not need to…show more content…
But Dr. Roberts explains the benefits and costs of free markets and trade in a clear and cogent manner again and again in various scenarios. Of particular value are the treatments of the concepts of 'fair-trade' and so-called trade deficits. These two issues are some of the most divisive and controversial parts of the trade debate. As expected, Dr. Roberts explains the facts in a way that just about anyone can understand. Dr. Roberts also illustrates how we use what he calls the roundabout way to wealth to explain how we get richer when we specialize and trade. Not a trivial point, imho. There are also some side mentions of Bastiat's concepts of what is seen and not
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