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Mar 29, 2010

The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection; A review

Economics as a subject makes an impression of being a tedious and dull subject to many which maybe, to some extent true. However, after reading a at least a dozen books about free market economics, what i can say for sure is that economics if expressed in simple terms and in a way so that readers can related them to their day to day lives is not only an interesting subject to learn but also an addictive realm of knowledge. After reading Russell Robert's articles and books however, one can confidently say, economics when written about by Mr. Roberts, is mesmerizing in the least.

The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection by Russell Roberts, is a book that deals with various aspects of free trade, international trade and protectionism. Written in the form of a novel and a very simple language, the book helps the readers grasp the complex concepts and issues of free trade and its benefits along with the harms of protectionist policies easily. The novel has brilliantly used a fictional story to make a strong case in favor of free trade and debunk the related myths. Plentiful of examples, help to reinforce the fact that free trade not protectionism is the way to prosperity. Protectionism not only helps to enrich a few people at the expense of many but also acts towards creating a stagnant and innovation-less, growth-less economy and thereby impoverishing people.

David Ricardo comes to life to discuss international trade theory and policy with Ed Johnson, a fictional American television manufacturer seeking trade protection from television manufacturers. Their dialogue is a sophisticated, rigorous discussion of virtually every major issue in trade theory and policy. Roberts paints the picture of American economy under free trade and under protectionism clearly.

Besides the brilliant use of fiction to make the book fun to read, what will impress you about the book is the way, Roberts has tried to answer to every objection imaginable raised against free trade. After completing the book, there will be very few, if any, questions or doubts with the reader about the benefits of free trade and the harms of protectionism.

Something that could have made the book even better , a little more elaboration on the "dumping" argument. Overall, a Must Read book , if you really want to know how free trade benefits all and how protectionist policies are encouraging impoverishment..something very relevant in the context of Nepal.