Audio Clips

30 May 2012

The Universality of Protectionism

Haiti receives millions of items of used clothes from America every year.  They call this clothing "pepe".  Pepe comes mostly from Haitian-Americans who buy it at second-hand stores and then ship it to Haiti for sale.  Some people in Haiti want to ban pepe because it has made it harder for tailors, textile companies and others to make a living because people prefer to buy the pepe.  It never ceases to amaze me that there exists in some people an impulse to deny liberty to their neighbors.

If my neighbor wants to buy used clothes and that results in the local tailor having problems making a living, then the tailor needs to evaluate his career choice.  I shouldn't put a gun to my neighbor's head and force him to buy from the tailor, and yet that is the first impulse of many people.  Of course, they don't view it as compulsion.  They just view it as preventing a particular transaction from happening, because, it's obviously the wrong kind of transaction!  Naturally, they know better than us what we should do with our money and efforts and, by golly, they're going to show us how right they are by forcing us into their utopian vision.

No comments: