Adam Smith observed in 1776 that economies work best when governments keep their clumsy thumbs off the free market\’s "invisible hand." Two generations later, in 1817, the British economist David Ricardo extended Smith\’s insights to global trade. Just as market forces lead to the right price and quantity of products domestically, Ricardo argued, free foreign trade optimizes economic outcomes internationally.
Reading Adam Smith in Copenhagen — the center of the small, open, and highly successful Danish economy — is a kind of out-of-body experience. On the one hand, the Danes are passionate free traders.
Now I agree, there is indeed something different about Denmark but their attitude to trade isn\’t anything to do with it. Because, you see, they\’re members of the European Union. Trade with the other 26 members is by definition free as it is between any pair or more of the 27 members.
Trade with countries outside the European Union is nothing to do with Danish attitudes or domestic politics. It is a sole competency of the European Commission itself: doesn\’t matter a damn how much the Danes like (or don\’t) free trade. They don\’t get to make the decisions.
You\’d hope that someone writing 5,000 words on the subject would note that point but from the extracts I can see he doesn\’t.