Comment: Now, we've come full circle...

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Now, we've come full circle...

I enjoyed the article you cited.

Here's the content from the ellipsis in your second paragraph:

That first wave of protectionism peaked in 1828 with the so-called Tariff of Abominations.

Seems like the people "represented" by the democratically elected government weren't too fond of the protectionism.

Continuing on with the article you cited, some other notable passages are:

It is more accurate to say that the country grew in spite of import restrictions.


Economist Frank Taussig, in a thorough examination of those tariffs, found that they did nothing to promote domestic industry. “Little, if anything, was gained by the protection which the United States maintained” in the first part of the 19th century, he concluded. That finding considerably questioned the validity of the infant industry argument. “The intrinsic soundness of the argument for protection to young industries therefore may not be touched by the conclusions drawn from the history of its trial in the United States, which shows only that the intentional protection of the tariffs of 1816, 1824, and 1828 had little effect,” Taussig said.

Thus, the early experience of the United States confirms the weakness of the idea that protection can aid infant industries. In practice, so-called infant industries never grow competitive behind trade barriers, but, instead, remain perpetually underdeveloped, thus requiring protection to be extended indefinitely. As Gottfried von Haberler put it:

"Nearly every industrial tariff was first imposed as an infant-industry tariff under the promise that in a few years, when the industry had grown sufficiently to face foreign competition, it would be removed. But, in fact, this moment never arrives. The interested parties are never willing to have the duty removed. Thus temporary infant-industry duties are transformed into permanent duties to preserve the industries they protect."

So much for tariffs helping infant industries, huh?

Even though I was mistaken that Lincoln's protectionism was the first to grace the US (see how easy that was), my argument against protectionism has been confirmed and bolstered at every turn of this discussion. In order to support your argument, now, you would likely have to turn to some very statist sources rife with fallacy.

The hole has gotten rather deep. I'm not surprised that you wish to bail at this point. After all, admitting error often wounds one's pride. Personally, I am always open to admitting when I realize that I am wrong. It's a more honorable path, in my humble opinion.

However, I will shake your hand, as I understand your current dilemma.