Last week, Don Boudreaux praised my attempt to re-explain the Law of Comparative Advantage, but his latest post on the same theme puts mine to shame:

If governments fought real wars like they fight trade wars, here’s
how the transcript of the communiqués between the leaders of two
warring nations would read:

Leader of Absurditoptia (A): I say, leader of
Stupidia – we demand that you stop occupying that contested strip of
land.  If you refuse, we’ll have no choice but to shoot our own

Leader of Stupidia (S): You don’t scare us!  That land is ours.  And if you do kill some of your own people, make no mistake that we will immediately – and just as cruelly – commence to killing our own people.  Courage is our national motto!

(A): Ha!  You’re bluffing.  But I’m not.  I’ve just
courageously ordered my troops to mow down in cold blood ten percent of
my fellow countrymen.  Take that!


Sure, Henry George said almost the same:

rotective tariffs are as much applications of force as are blockading
squadrons, and their object is the same–to prevent trade. The
difference between the two is that blockading squadrons are a means
whereby nations seek to prevent their enemies from trading; protective
tariffs are a means whereby nations attempt to prevent their own people
from trading. What protection teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time
of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.

But for my money, Don says it better.