tisdag 5 december 2017

Mercantilismus redivivus

Seen from a non-mercantilist perspective, ie the view which was held by classical economists from the Physiocrats, via Smith and Ricardo, to Henry George, roughly 1750 to 1890, the picture looks very different from the usual anti-Brexit narrative. EEC/EU trade policy would have been castigated by the classical economists as a revival of the mercantilism which they had worked so hard to refute.

The contemporary return of mercantilism was never based on a rebuttal of the classical view. It is just that the power of sectional producer interests has turned the majority of politicians, commentators and professional economists into mouthpieces for policies which work to their advantage; essentially, it is rent-seeking behaviour.

The interesting thing for future generations to ponder will be how it is that these  producer lobbyists, acting against the well-being of the public at large, succeeded in getting so many members of the intelligentsia to speak for them.

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