Thursday, August 02, 2007

1028 Economists

1028 economists sign a petition against protectionist sentiment in general and in particular with regards to China. Most are people I've never heard of , but many familiar names such as George Reisman, Walter Block, Bryan Caplan, Lawrence White, Walter Williams, Greg Mankiw (Who tipped me about the list), Edward Prescott and Larry Kudlow also appear.

The reason it was only 1028 wasn't because they couldn't find more, but because they wanted the same number as the number of economists who in 1930 signed a petition pleading with president Herbert Hoover and Congress not to implement protectionist legislation. A petition that was ignored with destructive effects.

My main problem with the petition is the implicit Economic History theory in it that it was the protectionist legislation that caused the Great Depression. While it certainly was negative and aggravated the downturn somewhat, the main cause for the downturn was monetary factors, with an inflationary over-investment boom and stock market bubble followed by sudden shift to sharp monetary deflation.


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