Protectionism: Trade Policy in Democratic Societies

By Jan Tumlir | Go to book overview

formed over very long periods of time. For perhaps four centuries men have been thinking in terms of adversary sovereignty, with the implication that the state must have a reserve of unlimited discretionary power to protect its society against other states. States could not trust one another because all states were alike. For at least three generations, Western societies have considered redistribution of income and wealth a legitimate and important function of the state without worrying about the need for establishing any limits to it. And for almost a generation now, our politics has been dominated by the belief that the government knows what to do to maintain the private economy in satisfactory operation and that it should therefore be responsible for its operation and have the powers necessary for discharging that responsibility. All three conceptions are clearly inadequate to cope with contemporary reality, but it will take time for governments to elaborate more adequate conceptions and to persuade national electorates of their adequacy.

The question is, however, how much time we have left. From the policies conducted by the Western governments, the recently sovereign developing countries learn how the world works. Western influence on the world, though still great, is declining. Eventually our societies will be the minority partner in the terrestrial enterprise. What do we want the majority to believe about the liberal idea that animated the West's historical achievement and that we continue to profess but have, in recent decades, ceased to act upon? What kind of world will it be, if the majority comes to believe that the idea is a sham?


Notes
1.
Henry A. Kissinger, "U.S. Must Take Lead in Revamping World Trade Policy," International Herald Tribune, October 29, 1984, reprinted from Los Angeles Times.
2.
One could go further and say, invoking the experience of the last twenty years, that the international order is bound to suffer when diplomacy is called upon to deal with routine, regularly reappearing problems such as industrial demands for protection from foreign competition. The inherent tendency of diplomacy in dealing with any issue is to take into account all other relations between the two countries concerned; it has, in other words, a natural proclivity to discriminate.

-72-

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Protectionism: Trade Policy in Democratic Societies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Foreword v
  • Jan Tumlir - August 18, 1926-June 22, 1985 vii
  • 1 - The Economic and Political Aspects of Protection 1
  • 2 - The Historical Aspects of Protection 19
  • Notes 36
  • 3 - The New Protectionism 38
  • Notes 55
  • 4 - A Systemic Solution 56
  • Notes 72
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