Long overdue, here’s another letter to a hostile reporter:
“August” in My expression of protection is like a parasite.They accused me of not appreciating that many jobs have intrinsic value to employees and make you feel protected.
I am not guilty. I don’t deny that some people – say Jones and Jackson – have an intrinsic value in holding certain jobs. My argument is simply that. other People — Smith, Adams and Williams — shouldn’t have to pay Jones and Jackson to enjoy that intrinsic value.
If that price is high enough for Jones and Jackson, make them pay for it by taking a pay cut if necessary. After all, this intrinsic value accrues not to Smith, Adams, and Williams, but to Jones and Jackson. If imports reduce the demand for the products that Jones and Jackson produce in their domestically important jobs, if Jones and Jackson are unwilling to take the wage reduction necessary to continue in those jobs, then Jones and Jackson’s net worth is less than the value of those jobs that earn them the highest wages.
For Jones and Jackson to work as parasites on Smith, Adams and Williams to keep their wages from collapsing by enlisting the state to restrict Smith, Adams and Williams’ freedom to buy imported goods.
There is no way to avoid the conclusion that conservation means economic dependence. By its very nature, conservation artificially limits the economic options of some people – thus making them poorer by denying their rights – to artificially weaken the economic options and resources available to protected producers, i.e., parasites. No society can be fully free or fully civilized as long as conservation is possible.
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
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