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What We're Reading: A Case Against Protectionism

September 2, 2016 2 minute Read by William McKenzie
Agustin Carstens, governor of the Bank of Mexico, discusses the economy in the Financial Times.

Agustin Carstens, governor of the Bank of Mexico, had an important observation in the run up to the meeting of the G-20 in China on September 4 and 5. Carstens made the case against protectionism this way in a Financial Times interview.

"The state of the world, the rate of growth of the world economy is not such that we could afford to limit the growth potential through protectionist measures."

Indeed. Remember our own economy expanded by annual rate of only 1.1 % in the second quarter of this year. With such anemic growth, what sense does it make to engage in a trade war and restrict the ability of our manufacturers, farmers, and innovators to sell their products abroad? And what sense does it make to risk creating higher prices for our consumers by putting the squeeze on imports into our country?

Carstens also effectively issued a charge to those of us who believe that we should remain engaged in the global economy. He put it this way:

"My own sense is we probably declared victory some years ago in the sense of saying globalisation is here to stay, everyone is happy with it, and then we sort of stopped rooting for it."

True. Arguments for a cause need to keep being made. In this case, the case is for trading across borders as a way to grow economies, here and abroad. And it needs to keep being made given the pushback to international trade, which, as Carstens notes, is a concerning reality.


Author

William McKenzie
William McKenzie

William McKenzie is editorial director for the George W. Bush Institute, where he also serves as editor of The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute.

Active in education issues, he co-teaches an education policy class at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. He also participates in the Bush Institute’s school accountability project.

Before joining the Bush Institute, the Fort Worth native served 22 years as an editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News and led the newspaper’s Texas Faith blog. The University of Texas graduate’s columns appeared nationwide and he has won a Pulitzer Prize and commentary awards from the Education Writers Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the Texas Headliners Foundation, among other organizations. He still contributes columns and essays for the Morning News and The Weekly Standard.

Before joining the News in 1991, he earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at Arlington and spent a dozen years in Washington, D.C. During that time, he edited the Ripon Forum.

McKenzie has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, on the board of a homeless organization, and on governing committees of a Dallas public school. He also is an elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, where he lives with his wife and their twin children.

Full Bio

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