In 1845, during a period when there was a rising tide of protectionism in France, the French economist Frederic Bastiat (pictured above) wrote a famous satirical parable known as ‘The Candlemakers’ Petition.’ In that famed economic fable, Bastiat humorously wrote to the French parliament on behalf of French candlemakers and lantern makers and lobbied the French government to enact protectionist legislation against the unfair competition of a foreign rival – the sun. I’ve taken the liberty of channeling my ‘inner Bastiat’ to revise and modernize ‘The Candlemakers’ Petition’ for today’s protectionist climate that is being advanced by a president the Wall Street Journal referred to as ‘the first authentic protectionist to win the White House since the 1920s.’
Here’s my 2017 version of ‘The Candlemakers’ Petition.’
A PETITION: From the American Lighting Association (a trade association representing the US lighting industry), US lighting and bulb manufacturers including Aero-Tech Light Bulb, American Light Bulb Manufacturing Company, LedRadiant, Morstar Electric, and LED-Green, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (the trade union representing America’s electrical workers).
An Open Letter to President Trump on behalf of the US lighting industry.
You are on the right track when it comes to international trade. You reject abstract economic theories about trade and have no time for the claims that economic abundance and ‘making America great again’ can come from low import prices. For political purposes, you correctly concern yourself with the fate of US producers and US workers, and wisely ignore US consumers. You wish to protect US producers and manufacturers from more efficient foreign rivals, that is, to rightfully reserve the American market for American producers and their American workers to ‘make America great again.’
This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 19, 2017.