The Tariff ‘Protection’ Fallacy

Henry George ,

Protection or Free Trade

To every trade there must be two parties who mutually desire to trade, and whose actions are reciprocal. No one can buy unless he can find someone willing to sell; and no one can sell unless there is some other one willing to buy. If Americans did not want to buy foreign goods, foreign goods could not be sold here even if there were no tariff. The efficient cause of the trade which our tariff aims to prevent is the desire of Americans to buy foreign goods, not the desire of foreign producers to sell them. Thus protection really prevents what the “protected” themselves want to do. It is not from foreigners that protection preserves and defends us; it is from ourselves.

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Capitalism: The Engine Of Human Progress

It took six thousand years from the invention of the wheel until we developed the two-wheeled cart. … From the time of Moses to Wyatt Earp we moved from two-wheeled carts to four-wheeled carts — buckboards and stagecoaches. Yet Wyatt Earp, who is an adult when he participates in the gunfight at the OK Corral, sees the movement from four-wheeled carts to the Model T. My grandparents were born before man had ever seen powered flight, yet lived to see a time when you could buy a trip into space. The rapid increase in innovation and the wealth of the masses occurred because the West gradually developed the economic system of market capitalism and a compatible political system.

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