Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Poorest and Their Children the Main Victims of Trade Boycotts

Fletch continues his articles at on ‘Reclaiming Adam Smith’ with parts 3 and 4 and also continues to be on target. This time he tackles arguments that Adam Smith “would never have condoned trade with countries that employed “child or slave labor”, showing that while Smith firmly denied that slave labour was efficient and was managed by some frightful examples of humanity, he did not advocate boycotts of trade as solutions to other problems, adding that trade boycotts do not work and often make the people affected – the poor of a society - worse off, but not the despised regime elite, in some cases, for a generation or more (South Africa, Cuba, North Korea), assuming the helpless children live through it, which child mortality often ensures they don’t, and the eventual gainers from political changes would have gained anyway from the political upheavals post-regime collapse or removal:

Fletch writes (no. 3 article):

“In the end, I would argue that the moral stance is to embrace free trade among free individuals, not merely in spite of, but, particularly in cases of those countries that have poorer wage systems, fewer worker protections and decidedly less free economies. This is because, if anything, history has demonstrated that this is the surest way to bring such oppressive systems to an end (a point I will elaborate on in my next column) and increase the general prosperity of all concerned.”

And adds in no 4. article:

“South Africa, a country whose Apartheid regime imposed a minimum wage for the express purpose of preserving jobs for the white minority at the expense of the native Zulu population, was not the target of full economic isolation. A number of companies, however, were pressured by “morally superior” liberal groups to cease operations there. The effect: even greater unemployment among the Zulus. Time and again, in country after country, liberals have demanded that US corporations divest themselves of “sweatshop” operations. The result: companies that had provided greater employment opportunities to an impoverished population, typically at wages higher than were the norm before their arrival, succumbed to the pressure and pulled up stakes, leaving greater unemployment and dimmer prospects in their wake.

The pattern isn’t simply repeated in the majority of cases; it is repeated in every case.”


“For that matter, look at China. From the end of World War II until the 1970s, China was isolated, closed off from international interaction and trade with much of the West, including the United States. Since opening up to international trade, the country has become ever more economically free. Where, at one time, the overwhelming majority of the country had been impoverished and subjected to socialist oppression, now agriculture is no longer collectivized, many of the state run operations have been privatized and the overall standard of living has increased dramatically.”

[Read more of this excellent series and bookmark it at:]


Blogger Indefatigathingummy said...

I very much enjoy your blog.

May I ask why you don't make hyperlinks to the pieces you quote, instead placing the URLs at the bottom of each post unlinked?

5:01 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

I agree, but I do not know how to do it, which may sound daft but in the absence of knowing how, until somebody shows me how, I just plod on.

What is obvious to those who do know how - 'its easy once you know how' - I live with what I do know.

Apologies, all round.

6:21 pm  
Blogger Indefatigathingummy said...

ah well, tis but a moment to explain. When creating a post, you should see a variety of buttons above the posting area in Blogger. One of these looks like a chain. Highlight some text. Hit the chain button. This will open up a small dialogue box allowing you to paste the URL (you have copied it already? Good) of the site you wish to link to. And that's it.

5:32 pm  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...


You are indeed a genius. Many, many thanks. So simple when you know how. Knowledge is a non-rival good and I am truly grateful for you sharing it with me.

I was ignorant and you showed me how. I was informed and my quality of life improved. I only wish I could do something similar for you.

6:19 pm  

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