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In Defense of OpennessWhy Global Freedom Is the Humane Solution to Global Poverty$
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Bas van der Vossen and Jason Brennan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190462956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190462956.001.0001

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The Moral and Economic Case for Free Trade

The Moral and Economic Case for Free Trade

(p.58) 5 The Moral and Economic Case for Free Trade
In Defense of Openness

Bas van der Vossen

Jason Brennan

Oxford University Press

The chapter makes a prima facie case for free trade. It argues that the case for international free trade is just as strong as the case for free domestic trade. This case is strong because trade restrictions involve coercively interfering with people’s freedom to interact on mutually acceptable grounds; such restrictions generally stand in need of justification. Second, there also exists a strong economic case for free trade. Standard economic models and history suggest that freeing up trade strongly benefits both buyers and sellers, irrespective of where they live. The chapter concludes that even though it does not offer a conclusive case for free trade by itself, the burden of proof squarely lies with those who would defend trade restrictions.

Keywords:   free trade, tariffs, comparative advantage, economic liberty, coercion, basic liberties, John Rawls

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