From Practical Economics
The idea that businesses need to be protected from foreign competition is an ongoing debate. National pride and a belief in self-sufficiency along with a competitive nature drive economic thinking towards protectionism. Although absolutely necessary in areas that are vital to national defense and security, protectionist policies are in direct opposition to free markets and the trading of scarce resources economically.
Building a wall around oneself as the Chinese once did might protect a nation from attack, but the economic costs are huge. With all of this said, trade practices need to be fair and the terms should not give an advantage to one trading partner.
Saving jobs at home with protectionist policies costs efficiencies in productivity lowering quality and raises prices. The result, capital that could be spent more efficiently is lost causing economic growth to be compromised.
Competition through free trade practices, whether at home or abroad creates the incentives that guide people to be more efficient, inventive and productive. Government mandated protectionist policies inhibit freedom by removing choices for individuals and stunting the human spirit. Protectionist policies are a renunciation of market capitalism and economic freedom in favor of economic despotism, mediocrity, and egalitarianism.
The exercise of freedom is not an easy undertaking and one can quickly fall prey to the protectionist lure. But understanding and placing trust in the principles and practices of market capitalism is the surest path to prosperity for all nations.