Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Economic nationalism is incompatible with durable peace

"It is an illusion to believe that a nation would lastingly tolerate
other nations' policies which harm the vital interest of its own citizens.
Let us assume that the United Nations had been established in
the year 1600 and that the Indian tribes of North America had been
admitted as members of this organization. Then the sovereignty of
these Indians would have been recognized as inviolable. They would
have been given the right to exclude all aliens from entering their
territory and from exploiting its rich natural resources which they
themselves did not know how to utilize. Does anybody really believe
that any international covenant or charter could have prevented the
Europeans from invading these countries?
Many of the richest deposits of various mineral substances are located
in areas whose inhabitants are too ignorant, too inert, or too
dull to take advantage of the riches nature has bestowed upon them.
If the governments of these countries prevent aliens from exploiting
these deposits, or if their conduct of public affairs is so arbitrary that
no foreign investments are safe, serious harm is inflicted upon all those
foreign peoples whose material well-being could be improved by a
more adequate utilization of the deposits concerned. It does not matter
whether the policies of these governments are the outcome of a
general cultural backwardness or of the adoption of the now fashionable
ideas of interventionism and economic nationalism. The result is
the same in both cases." Ludvig von Mises, HUMAN ACTION, p.682

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