So, there’s a letter from 1,100 economist floating around. Insisting that trade agreements have made the world much richer blah, blah, blah. So, I was going to write a typically Worstallian piece. Nah, it’s not trade agreements, it’s lower transport costs. Agreements are nice, useful, make us richer etc, but transport hugely outweighs tariffs etc.
And, you know, all economists would agree when this is pointed out, it’s just we don’t normally bother to do so.
Just before I charge off thought I’d just check the drop in transport costs. I know absolutely it’s true for late 19th century, let’s just check it is for post-war 20th.
It ain’t. Ad valorem shipping rates have been pretty constant actually. Complicated stuff – what gets shipped has changed etc, times are much shorter, smaller load can be shipped, less theft – but my thesis isn’t, really, very true at all.
So, not writing a piece on that claim then.
But that is my application to teach at Islington Technical College screwed then isn’t it? Altering stuff on the basis of facts?
Just to make it worse, then looked up a bit of trade theory to see why I disagreed with it. Turns out I misunderstood it. Ho hum….