In a 1990 recorded debate on free trade and protectionism, The Frazier Institute‘s Michael Walker stated the following:
…the competition that we have in trade is not a competition in which somebody loses and somebody wins, it’s a competition in which everybody wins. And this idea that, as a competitor to the Americans, the Japanese in some sense won is nonsense. Look at all the Japanese automobiles on American roads. Everybody who drives a Japanese automobile or uses a Japanese product is a winner as a result of this competition that there has been between the Japanese and the Americans for the sympathies of the American consumer.
And here’s Walker’s reply to Steven Cohen’s (Cal Berkeley Prof) objection to the above:
What you seem to be saying in your argument against free trade is that the customer is always right, unless they pick an imported item. And if they pick an imported item, then they require the help of the government to tell them “look you’ve made an unwise choice here, and therefore we’re going to put a tariff or a quota on to prevent you from selecting the imported article, whether it’s the Japanese automobile or the Korean television set or whatever because you don’t have the ability to make this kind of choice yourself.”
I know many folks who adamantly resist the argument/evidence on behalf of free trade. I find it ironic, perplexing even, that many of those folks consider themselves fighters for freedom.