Marc earlier noted the depressing state of political literacy in the US. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a remarkable statement of economic literacy in the news today – and by someone who isn’t a trade economist. In this case, the example came from entrepreneur Elon Musk (who was seconded by fellow businessman Lyndon Rive). He, unlike most Americans, seems to totally get one of the reasons why protectionism designed to offset foreign “external” subsidies (subsidies allegedly aimed at helping domestic – in this case Chinese – companies compete in a foreign market) is unwise:
When asked whether or not the U.S. should erect trade barriers designed to protect American solar-panel manufacturers, Mr. Musk said: “If the Chinese government wants to subsidize the rollout of solar power in America, OK, it is kind of like ‘thank you’ is what we should be saying.”
Now I’m not sure the Chinese people would want to thank the government for such actions!