Sunday, September 21, 2008

Landsburg on Protectionism and Creationism

In a previous post I argued that Obama's defense of "fair trade" was intellectually equivalent to the defense of intelligent design, with the additional downside that "fair trade" can have very substantial negative effects on the welfare of humanity.

Landsburg, the author of Armchair Economist, makes a similar case in this article (HT Smith):
Protectionism, like creationism, requires an extraordinary level of willful ignorance. The consensus for free trade among economists is approximately as solid as the consensus for evolution among biologists, and it is a consensus supported by a solid body of both theory and observation. To ignore that consensus betrays a degree of anti-intellectualism that frightens me.
He also talks about many other instances of bad economics found in both Obama's and McCain's economic proposals. His conclusion:

I'm sure I'm right about trade and pretty sure I'm right about taxes and health care, but that's because I've thought long and hard about these issues for decades. It seems to me that we ought to be humble about the things we haven't thought hard about, and for me that includes foreign policy. The best I can do is bet that whoever's getting most of the other stuff right is getting this right too. The bottom line is that I support John McCain. With trepidation.

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