Free trade websites

Here is a meta-blog on free trade from the Netherlands, but in English.

Here is translation by Wiki, in this case translating Bastiat into German.  How long will it take?

Here is my podcast with Ha-Joon Chang on free trade, courtesy of the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Chang is the author of Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism.  I believe in that myth and I try to hold his feet to the fire.



I thought you really showed the folly of Chang's ideas with your barrage of questions. The Socratic method is the best way to expose someone's terrible idea. You are a master of that method, bravo!


So what is an economists take on the fact that europe during it's hayday of industrialization had massive amounts of protectionism yet Europe prospered.

David Lundquist,

Are you talking about the 1800's? What was the tax take as a percentagoe of GDP back then? Less than 5%? Less than 1%?

I honestly don't know the exact number, but I am highly confident it is a small shadow of today's deadweight loss taxation levels in Europe.

Chang's idea reminds me of the east Asian way of protective parenting. I am not sure whether it is good or bad. But in East Asia, it does seem to produce decent kids.

I read a review of Chang's book recently (here) that I laughed my way through. Surely it exaggerates some of the book's arguments (corruption is not a problem because we had corruption in the U.S. as well? What?). I googled around and found Chang to be much more reasonable, though I still largely disagree with him. I think he underestimates the problem of transitional gains traps and special interest politics.

The podcast is interesting. I found it curious that he supported tariffs/subsidies in rich countries.

Dear Tyler,
in the "Post a comment" section that is seen after pushing the button Preview, the field "Email Address" is preceded by the promise that it [the adress] won't be displayed with the comment.
This is technically true but since it suffices to click on the signature to see the commentator's address I wonder if the promise might not be, hmmm how shall I put it, a topological image of the truth.
Best wishes from your faithful


I was surprised by your question about whether giving voting rights to corrupt countries will improve governance. I did not understand where you were going with it. Of course, it will improve governance of WB and IMF, may not improve governance in their home countries. Are you suggesting that India, Brazil and China should not get more voting rights because they are corrupt and WB and IMF should continue to stick to vote chosen based on economic strenght in 1944. Isn't this the height of corruption?
I guess, by your argument WB should not have chosen their chief economist from China since it is a corrupt country.

I am an unrepentent free trader, but I am not sure dismantling protection will overnight wipe out corruption in poor countries. The standard argument in favor of free trade are potent enough and you do not have to use corruption as a scapegoat. I know you are better than that.

The Myth of Free Trade is a book by Ravi Batra. Ha-Joon Chang's book is Bad Samaritans, although "The Myth of Free Trade" appears in the subtitle.

Igor: mp3 link here:

It's worth noting that "Bad Samaritans" is a Friedrich List reference. Make of that what you will.

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