Now here\’s a scary thought

Out there in Singapore there\’re students studying development economics, a course of study in which they are asked to consider one of my arguments:

W4 Group 4 Homework 9: Trade and FDI
April 11th, 2011

Article 1: Putting the Free in Free Trade

Arguments against free trade:

Mark Thomas: Free Trade does not result in redistribution of income and pareto improvements.

William Polly: Protectionism helps keep jobs for those who otherwise have to settle for a less desirable job.

Arguments for free trade:

Tim Worstall: Since optimal redistribution is absent with or without free trade, go with the more efficient solution, free trade.

Author: Protectionism interferes with human rights.

Policy Suggestion:

Government should provide a social safety net for those affected negatively by changing trade patterns instead of implementing protectionist policies.

Umm, \”Eeek!\”, I think.

It\’s one thing to rant away to the world on my blog, rather another to find out that you\’re actually being used as a study aid…..

6 thoughts on “Now here\’s a scary thought”

  1. New ranking for you and our dear Mr. Murphy to compete in:


  2. Congratulations, Tim; but I’m not surprised. As I’ve said before, you have that rare talent – the ability to explain complex ideas simply…Perhaps you should make an approach about being a Visiting Fellow in Singapore?…Anyway, well done!

  3. Which Mark Thomas are they talking about in the first one?

    Because, while I’ve met him, like him, and think we need that sort of committed activist investigative campaigner, he is, well, a bit bonkers, especially on economics. Is there another Mark Thomas, or is this their “intro 101, keep it fun and simple” seminar?

    Tim adds: It’s actually Mark Thoma, lefty American economics professor.

  4. How do you think Adam Smith got started?

    He put forward his ideas in open debates, i.e. a very specific market place and because these ideas had value they were promulgated.

    Since the guidance in The Wealth of Nations was very widely applicable, a great deal of innovation took place.

    Thus a man of no particular heritage, who expressed his ideas in a single (albeit comprehensive) book is still considered to be the foundation of free-market liberal thinking.

    Maybe it is time to start thinking about your own “Wealth of Nations” Tim? (and “Yes” – I have read “Chasing Rainbows”).

  5. Write “The Poverty of Nations: How Western Civilisation Buggered Itself Up”. It has the mandatory colon.

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