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photos by Lara Shipley

If It Quacks Like a Duck…

March 26th, 2004 · No Comments

So there’s an Orkut community called Outsourcing Backlash [Orkut account required] that describes itself as:

A community for those who believe unmitigated outsourcing and unbalanced international trade is bad for America, and for those who object to being labeled as “isolationist” and “protectionist” for those beliefs.

Ok, I’ll buy that with respect to “isolationist” (a term I seldom hear bandied about vis a vis economics anyway, probably because nobody is…) but according to Merriam Webster, a protectionist is:

an advocate of government economic protection for domestic producers through restrictions on foreign competitors

and protection here means:

the freeing of the producers of a country from foreign competition in their home market by restrictions (as high duties) on foreign competitive goods

So there are two possibilities here. One is that they’re saying they don’t like outsourcing, but that this dislike has no public policy implications. That seems unlikely. The other is that they just don’t understand what a “protectionist” is, and that they’re it. Still, as I’ve noted before, nice to see that protectionist has come close enough being seen as a synonym for mouth breathing troglodyte that even folks who aren’t sure what it means don’t want to be branded one.

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