The fruits of free trade


"There grew there [India] a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches. These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungrie" (John Mandeville).

The myth of the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary is one which transcended the ages, from its first recorded mention in the 5th century till the Age of Discovery. However, whilst the validity of this ridiculous myth may be questionable, the benefits of free trade (which were my first thoughts upon reading of this resource) are much more certain.

In Britain our deluded ancestors were able to benefit from the wonders of trade and the soft white fibre that is cotton, without any valid knowledge of how it was produced. Trade enabled these naive individuals to carry out mutually beneficial exchanges to get this special ‘wool’. Everyone could benefit, regardless of their differences. In fact, disagreements over value are what make each trade possible.

Years later with the industrial revolution, emergence of capitalism and huge expansion of international trade, the British saw not only unprecedented economic growth, but also, more specifically a boost to cotton manufacturing, with textiles becoming Britain’s leading export.

Trade still remains essential to our economic prosperity, and thus we must hope that politicians and our European cousins, who are desperate for vote winners, don’t make the error of restricting trade any further. No doubt if they did, they would cause unintended effects, support private interest groups, add to the burden of high prices on the poor, decrease efficiency, reduce choice, harm quality, limit innovation, encourage retaliation, discourage development worldwide, slow technology transfer, harm relations between nations...(does the list end?)... and restrict the movement of the latest Asian fruit: the produce from the LCD bush.