Featured from our new eBook, Chi-Yuen Wu’s An Outline of International Price Theory features some solid analysis of mercantilism and its early debates. When it comes to special interest groups arguing against free trade, little has changed in 200 years:
The protection versus “free trade” controversy at the end of the seventeenth century was connected with the East India trade. In the latter half of that century the imports of Indian textiles into England were increasing, especially in the last two decades. Owing to the high costs of production, the English textile industries could not withstand the competition of the Indian imports. The result was that in the last decade of the century the English woolen and silk industries faced a grave crisis. Those industries were experiencing depression and unemployment, and complaints were made by the weavers and the public in general against the East India trade.
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