Who’s Afraid of Cheap Imports

Robert Murphy: “I personally like to use a reductio ad absurdum when it comes to international trade, and the widespread fear of ‘cheap imports.’ When arguing with someone along these lines, I first ask, ‘So are you saying that it would it be better for the US if foreigners shipped us expensive imports?’ This usually causes some hesitation. Then I follow up with what is, in my opinion, a zinger: ‘So if cheap imports are bad, does that mean foreigners would really be hurting us if they shipped us goods for free?’ I think this question makes something click for many people, because no matter how much they’ve read about domestic job destruction, they still harken back to the childhood truth that it is good to receive presents.”

via Michael Stastny.

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