Monday, October 23, 2006

Henry George on Free Trade

Henry George, the 19th century economist and social reformer, is best known as an advocate for taxes on land (as discussed in Chapter 8 of my favorite economics textbook). But these quotations about trade (via Larry Kudlow) show that he was passionate about other topics as well:
I was educated a protectionist and continued to believe in protection until I came to think for myself and examine the question.
-Henry George

Free trade consists simply in letting people buy and sell as they want to buy and sell. Protective tariffs are as much applications of force as are blockading squadrons, and their objective is the same--to prevent trade. The difference between the two is that blockading squadrons are a means whereby nations seek to prevent their enemies from trading; protective tariffs are a means whereby nations attempt to prevent their own people from trading.

- Henry George, Protection or Free Trade 1886