Magazine December 31, 2016, Issue

Protection Racket

(Siri Stafford/Getty Images)
Critics of free trade traffic in myths

Advocacy for free trade can sometimes be dogmatic and utopian. It can overstate the contribution that reducing trade barriers makes to the spread of peace and democracy. It can ignore the harm that liberalized trade does to particular workers, industries, and communities. It can assert, dubiously, an absolute right to trade, positing that governments should never interfere in voluntary economic transactions.

People who want to raise trade barriers — by, for example, imposing higher tariffs to discourage the purchase of imports — often deny that they are protectionists and say that they themselves support free trade. They say they are merely

To Read the Full Story
Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


Prosecutor, Heal Thyself An item in the Week in the December 5 issue begins: “If there’s anything more New Jersey than having a corrupt political figure create artificial traffic troubles to ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ We haven’t seen liberals this interested in Russians and fake news since Walter Duranty. ‐ Trump picked ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his nominee for secretary of state. As the ...
Politics & Policy


AUTUMN SONG after Chassignet Little flower, you live in constant danger: Likely to be crushed under foot or torn by wind, Sun-scorched or gobbled by a goat. These October days streaked with regrets and tears Are ...
Happy Warrior

Hillary Gone Wild

“Bigfoot. Chupacabra. The Loch Ness monster. All rarely seen. All shrouded in mystery. Tonight, we’re headed to the woods of Westchester County to search for the most elusive legend of ...


The Latest