Richard Ebeling emails:
The Nassau Institute in the Bahamas has posted the video recording of my talk on “Globalization and the Free Society,” which I delivered at the University of the Bahamas on February 22, 2017.
The principle and policy of international freedom of trade is under attack nowadays, both in the United States, Europe and in other parts of the world. The return to trade barriers and restrictions is advocated by a variety of politicians and governments, in other words, a return to protectionism and forms of neo-Mercantilism.
What is lost sight of, indeed, too taken for granted, is how very much the quality and standard of life that we enjoy in the “developed” countries, and which millions of others are coming to enjoy around the rest of the world, is due to, dependent upon, the practice of degrees of freedom of trade that has developed over, especially, the last two hundred years.
It coincides with the emergence and partial implementation of the classical liberal ideal of individual liberty, private property, free enterprise, rule of law, and constitutionally limited government. This served as the institutional setting and backdrop against which the human spirit of industry and innovation was freed from the confine of previous political restriction and control.
The economic liberation of mankind from poverty emerged out of the freeing of trade, so the logic and development of the efficiency of a division of labor combined with free market-oriented entrepreneurship could raise the productivity, increase the quantity, and expand the variety of a growing number of goods and services never before available to people everywhere around the world.
The danger, now, is that those who speak against our globalized economic system will hamper and hinder not only its further development, but take the world backwards with limits and restriction on the ability for gains from trade, freely entered into guided by the discovery of peaceful and voluntary mutually agreed upon exchange.
But it need not happen, if the principle of personal liberty and freedom of association – including across political borders – is defended and the grab bag of protectionist and neo-Mercantilist fallacies are successfully refuted.