September 07, 2015

The Problem with Protectionism

What is protectionism? Protectionism is defined by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as "the theory or practice of shielding a country’s domestic industries from foreign competition by taxing imports." Protectionism is the opposite of free trade (and when I say free trade, I don't mean the kind of cronyism often promoted by politicians under that name).

Protectionism (the concept if not the term) has been in the news lately because it, along with immigration reform, is one of two big planks of presidential candidate Donald Trump's platform. Self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders is also a protectionist.
The big problem with protectionism isn't that it is economically harmful (though it is). The big problem is that it is immoral.

Brian Jacobson: 
[T]he blockades, sanctions, propaganda, and UN resolutions encourage us to hate our international neighbor and engender ignorance and suppress any mercy we might have for other image bearers of God. . . . any law against free-trade is a violation of scripture’s command “you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” (Mark 12:31) and that “whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets,” (Matt 7:12). In fact God explicitly forbid having one set of laws for the native and another for the strangers who sojourn among you (Ex. 12:49) which is exactly what tariffs are. It frankly doesn’t even matter whether free-trade is “good” or “bad” for the U.S. or if China is “killing” us in trade. Tariffs are simply a violation of the eighth commandment; stealing from your international neighbor. . . . Complaining on Facebook about Mexicans, Chinese, and other poor countries getting job is not just bad economics its hatred for your neighbor, and its sin.
Read the rest here.

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