"Free trade is not based on utility but on justice.
- Edmund Burke
ECONOMISTS HAVE KNOWN FOR CENTURIES that trade is not a zero-sum game. One nation’s wealth does not require another nation’s poverty. On the contrary. A single nation cannot grow rich on its own; its success requires that its neighbors thrive as well. It’s free trade that raises people out of poverty and reduces income disparities. It’s not about who gets more of the pie; it’s about more pie for all.
By exploiting its own advantages in natural resources and climate, and further refining the skills of its people that developed as a natural outgrowth, each nation can produce a surplus of its native specialty to share with its neighbors. As a result, free trade produces the greatest good for the greatest number. Not only do the pies grow larger, but the choices on the menu grow even more diverse.
ON THE OTHER HAND, is any trade between nations ever truly "free"? All commerce is affected one way or another by the particular regulations, taxes and even traditions and culture of each nation involved. As a consequence, disputes arise over whether trade that is allegedly "free" is also "fair." The exporter, the importer, even the middle-man have their own vision of what’s fair, and ample opportunity to put their thumbs on the scale, if you will, to fudge the outcome. Yes, maybe the pie is bigger, but do you trust your neighbor to slice it fairly?
THE CHAIRMAN, who likes his lunches free and his coffee fair trade, in the meantime has called a debate to settle the topic:
RESOLVED: Trade Free or Die!
The Debate will be held on April 4, 2018, at O’Gara’s Bar & Grill, 164 Snelling Avenue North, in Saint Paul at the corner of Snelling and Selby. Additional parking is available in the Associated Bank parking lot, one block to the north.
The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o’clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. There is no dress code, however gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies are encouraged to adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen arriving sans tie yet wishing to discourse on the resolution, the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand several remarkable selections. Questions regarding debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (651)245-6991 or the Secretary at (651)485-1699.