… is from page 179 of the 2015 Fourth Edition of Douglas Irwin’s indispensable volume, Free Trade Under Fire; Doug is here discussing Uncle Sam’s byzantine procedures for shielding U.S-based producers from the competition posed by what U.S. bureaucrats determine are imports offered to American consumers at prices that are too low:
The antidumping process is riddled with subtle tricks and arbitrary biases that invariably favor the domestic petitioner, making it ironic that AD [antidumping] rules are a part of the “fair trade” laws.
DBx: Whenever you hear someone demand that trade be made “fair” – whenever you hear someone plead for trade to be conducted on a “level playing field” – you can bet your pension that you are hearing a domestic producer, or its spokesperson, soliciting the state for protection from competition. You are hearing sweet words deployed to mask a sour plea for monopoly power. You are hearing a greedy corporation or other politically powerful producer group appeal to those who hold power that that power be wielded against fellow citizens who dare to spend their own money in ways that promote their and their families’ best interests rather than in ways that promote the interests of the greedy corporation or other politically powerful producer group.
You are hearing, in short, a seeker of unfair privilege – a demander that the playing field be tilted against consumers’ broad interests and toward its own narrow interests.