Friday, November 4, 2016

The Case for Peter Thiel as an Elitist

Mr. Peter Thiel

Mr. Thiel:

While defending protectionism à la Donald Trump you commit several factual errors.  The most comical such error is your charge that free trade is elitist.

Is it elitist to let individuals spend their money as they choose?  Is it elitist to oppose punitive taxation of ordinary people who stretch their budgets by buying lower-priced imports?  Is it elitist to stand against corporations seeking special privileges?  Is it elitist to object to shielding domestic producers from the competition that obliges them to serve consumers as well as possible and as consumers demand?  Is it elitist to resist the creation of legions of government officials wielding the power to supervise and to override the voluntary, peaceful economic decisions of private citizens?  Is it elitist to support a policy – free trade – that, were it followed consistently, would rid Washington of hordes of lobbyists and other rent-seekers by making their ‘services’ futile?  And was it elitist of the framers of the U.S. Constitution to strip each state government of the power to deny its citizens the freedom to trade with citizens of other states?

In short, is it elitist to condemn government policies that artificially swell the profits and wages of politically powerful domestic producers – policies that, by the way, also artificially shrink the earnings of politically weak domestic producers – by obstructing the peaceful commerce of the people?

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

The above originally appeared at Cafe Hayek.


  1. Peter Thiel, Bilderberger

  2. Can the distinguished professor show any examples of actual free trade that are occurring in reality that do not have a government intervention activating it?

    Oh yes, free trade in the absence of govt would be great, but like so many other things that are advocated on this blog, it is a fantasy.

    1. Without the government activating it? Do you mean putting their greasy hands into it? Does government "activate" you to buy food? Does government "activate" a grocer to sell you food? You seem to be implying that these things are caused by government as if in its absence our tribal ancestors never traded food for obsidian because there was no government to "activate" such trade. Just because the government has forced themselves into almost every transaction doesn't mean they are the cause of transactions.

      You want an example of free trade without government, go to a local yard sale. Do not both sides benefit from these transactions? Does government "activate" yard sales? Would yard sales be better if the government was involved?


  3. How is this sustainable or a sign of economic strength:

    "...A country that does not generate savings
    sufficient to finance its own investment needs must
    attract surplus foreign savings in the form of a
    capital inflow. Such a country records negative net foreign
    asset purchases, or equivalently, is a net borrower from
    the world. ..."

    Viewing the Current Account Deficit as a Capital Inflow