Yesterday we wrote of, here at home, the long lost beauty of equal protection before the law, which the 14th Amendment of our Constitution mandates – but our government almost never delivers.
By forsaking this important tenet, we opened wide the door to cronyism – with government playing favorites amongst private sector players. Decades later, we have a heinous patchwork quilt of laws and regulations – oft even contradictory rules that have been time and again warped to the will of the highest bidders.
The result is anything but a free market economy. Want to know why our nation has basically stagnated for decades? A crucial component of the sclerosis is our government’s steadfast refusal to treat everyone equally.
But as brilliant as our Constitution is – it is not the original font of this particular piece of wisdom. The idea that government should treat everyone equally – goes back a bit further. At least to ancient Greece – and Aristotle: “The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.”
That’s good news. It means it’s timeless – and without boundaries and borders. Which means we can – and should – apply it to everything. Including global trade.
Every global trade participant state’s domestic laws and regulations – of course affect international trade. If any state is engaged in unequal protection before the law – playing favorites amongst its domestic businesses – those businesses transmogrify those domestic advantages into international ones when they enter the global trade market.
A state subsidizes a commodity, or emplaces tariffs protective of that commodity, or engages…