by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The great benefit of trade is the imports, not the exports — the politicians always get that wrong. You would think that the United Kingdom, with its proud history of world-bestriding trade, would appreciate that first of all countries. For eons, kings, consuls, emperors, and khans undertook enormous pains to keep the trade routes open and to establish new ones, building everything from roads to navies to educational institutions (propagating the once-arcane sciences of accounting and basic finance) to enable the exchange of goods. It is a myth that the Romans salted the fields of conquered Carthage: They ate the grain Carthage grew, and only would have been starving themselves. They needed those imports.
In our time, we have stood that on its head, and as the merchants of the world bring the best of everything to our shores for our use and delight, our biggest worry is that they are not charging us enough money for their goods. These are dumb times.
There is going to be a U.K.–EU trade deal. …
… As I have argued before, this presents the British with the opportunity to make themselves a very good deal that requires no input from Brussels at all, a very British solution to their manufacturers’ worries about importing the materials and components they need: unilateral free trade. Hang up a sign reading “Yes, Please,” and send a thank-you note to John Major for refusing to exchange the British pound for the euro. Treat British subjects like free and intelligent adults, which many of them are, and let them choose for themselves what kind of shoes they want.