For Consideration: Tariffs

(Cafe Hayek) Tariffs proved wonderfully attractive to those who benefitted from them. Farmers who grew wool were protected against the harsh wind of foreign competition. So were planters who grew cotton. Both thereby increased their profits. Capitalists and workers in the iron industry, as in pottery, coal, vinegar, candy, and paper production, enjoyed tariff rates that ran to 50 and 60 percent. Protected from the cruel world, such “infant industries” were enabled to grow – or perhaps only to retain their infantile ways….

In recent decades a charming and imaginary history of that outcome has been written. Its theme is that giving capitalist firms a monopoly somehow energized them.

Stanley Lebergott (1984), The Americans: An Economic Record, p. 153.