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OpenMarket: Trade and International

  • Trade Is as Old as Humanity

    August 31, 2018

    Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of long-distance trade going as far back as 200,000 years ago. The artifacts are mainly things such as obsidian tools that are relatively imprevious to the ravages of time. In fact, such finds can determine economic health through history. After the fall of the Roman Empire, long-distance artifacts such as foreign coins, papyrus, and oil lamps suddenly disappear from Europe’s archaeological sites. We call this low-trade period the Dark Ages.

  • Trade Restrictions Will Not Improve National Security

    August 30, 2018

    One of the most persuasive arguments trade protectionists use is the national security argument. It serves as a “get out of jail free” card with many conservatives, and progressives will also often let slide policies with national security implications. When it comes to trade, it turns out that not only do trade barriers fail to improve national security, they actually hurt it in the long run—as Iain Murray and I briefly spell out why in our recent study, “Traders of the Lost Ark.”

  • Australian Government Calls for Interchange Fee Ban

    August 27, 2018

    One would expect that years of failing policy would force policymakers to reconsider the wisdom of their actions. But not for the Australian Productivity Commission, the Australian government’s think tank, which recently advocated for doubling down on a decades-old policy of price controls for payment cards.

  • Brexit Britain Provides Opportunity for New Style of U.S. Trade Agreement

    August 27, 2018

    Despite its reliance on raising tariff barriers as a weapon in trade negotiation, the U.S. will soon have the opportunity to negotiate a new free trade deal based around some of the principles Ryan Young and I outline in our recent study “Traders of the Lost Ark.” Assuming it does not arrange to stay within the European Union’s customs union, the UK will regain full power to negotiate trade deals when it leaves the EU in March 2019. The administration should jump at the chance to create a new model for future trade deals.

  • Trade Made Renaissance Art Possible

    August 24, 2018

    Trade and specialization make all kinds of life-enriching innovations possible. In fact, Italian Renaissance art was one of them, a gift that continues to inspire us five centuries later. Re-opening trade with the Middle and Far East is what allowed Europe to climb out of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. Venice, in particular, was a hub of trading activity, as Peter Frankopan points out in his 2016 book The Silk Roads: A New History of the World.

  • 'Infant Industry' Argument Does Not Justify Trade Barriers

    August 22, 2018

    Most startups fail. The conventional wisdom is that about 90 percent of businesses fail within five years of their founding. For companies making new types of products in brand-new industries, maybe protective tariffs or other trade barriers can give them a little bit of a breather from foreign competition until they become established enough to compete on their own. This is the “infant industry” argument, and was first popularized by no less than John Stuart Mill.

  • World Trade: The Special Case of China

    August 20, 2018

    While free trade with all nations is the avowed goal of both free traders (as we outline in our paper, Traders of the Lost Ark) and the current administration, it has to be acknowledged that China is a special case. China has repeatedly been a bad actor in trade, breaking international trading norms in several respects. Something has to be done – but what?

  • Protectionism Keeps People Poor

    August 17, 2018

    Why do people trade with each other at all? Because it makes them better off. As Iain Murray’s and my paper “Traders of the Lost Ark” opens: “Imagine yourself on a tropical island. Plenty of sunshine, trees for shade, and beautiful white sand beaches all around. You have the whole place to yourself. This idyllic paradise would be one of the poorest places on Earth. Why? Because you would have no one to trade with.”

  • Rediscovering a Moral and Economic Case for Free Trade

    August 15, 2018

    In our new paper, “Traders of the Lost Ark,” my Competitive Enterprise Institute colleagues and I attempt to articulate a strong moral and economic case for free trade. Free trade has long been one of CEI’s core issues, and we felt it necessary to restate the case given current policy disputes. Those disputes, we believe, have lost sight of what trade is and why we engage in it, and in so doing will lead to the infringement of liberty and great economic harm.

  • Carbon Taxers in Full Retreat in Canada

    August 5, 2018

    New Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on August 2nd his government was filing suit in Ontario’s Court of Appeal challenging the Canadian federal government’s constitutional authority to require the provinces to enact taxes on carbon dioxide emissions. Ontario joined another suit brought by Saskatchewan in its provincial court last month.  Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said that his government would consider joining Ontario’s suit. 


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