One of the more onerous aspects of being a superintelligence is the way in which many critics have a tendency to erroneously assume one is operating at the same level of near ignorance that they are. In response to the inaugural Voxic Shock podcast, in which I interviewed economist Ian Fletcher about his book, “Free Trade Doesn’t Work,” a number of free-trade champions actually attempted to appeal to David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage, which utilizes an example of trade between two countries in two products to argue that trade is intrinsically beneficial to a national economy.
I am never sure whether to be more amused or insulted when I am met with a critical response of this kind. Possessing a B.S. in economics, having published a book on economics and the current economic depression and being one of the millions of college-educated Americans who have passed an Econ 101 class, I am, as it happens, familiar with the theory. Furthermore, I have actually read Ricardo’s 1817 book, “On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation,” which contains the theory and what passes for the reasoning behind it. This does not appear to be the case with most of the free-trade enthusiasts who appeal to it.
Note to the column: This column contains the promised empirical evidence that Felix was demanding. On a related note, if you have not yet heard my interview with Ian Fletcher on the subject of international trade, it is on the Voxic Shock #1 podcast. And further to the subject, a critique of Hazlitt’s chapter 11 will be posted tomorrow.