Les mythes protectionnistes

NEW YORK – Lors d’un débat organisé l’année dernière à New York intitulé « Acheter américain/Embaucher américain, le contre feu des politiques » et devant des centaines de personnes, mon équipe constituée de trois défenseurs du libre-échange était opposée à un trio de partisans du protectionnisme souvent exposés à l’opinion publique. Nous nous attendions à perdre le vote final du public à 55% des voix contre 45%. Mais nous avons gagné, de manière assez impressionnante, avec 80% des voix en notre faveur contre 20% à nos contradicteurs. Le retour que nous avons obtenu de la part de plusieurs votants fut que nous avions gagné facilement parce que nous avions des arguments et des preuves alors que nos contradicteurs avaient des assertions et de l’invective.

A l’évidence, le pessimisme et le désespoir qui submergent souvent les partisans du libre échange aujourd’hui sont injustifiés. Les arguments des protectionnistes, nouveaux ou anciens, ne sont qu’autant de mythes facilement contestables. Voici quelques exemples parmi les plus fragrants :

Mythe n°1 : « le coût de la protection, et sa contrepartie, les gains du commerce, est négligeable. »

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