glyph 276: peace . free trade . transparent borders, freedom of movement . Anglosphere ... Ludwig von Mises Institute


"Richard Cobden, Activist for Peace", by Gary Galles

Repeal of the corn laws, England, 1846


Cobden saw free trade as the basis of peace, rather than government controlled trade, which often led to war, and to the moral and economic harm of people. And, indeed, the period of liberalized trade coincided with one of the most peaceful periods in history.

Author Jim Powell describes the reasons for free trade leading to peace in that era:

Peace prevailed, in large part, because nonintervention became the hallmark of foreign policy. Nations seldom tried to bully one another, and economic policy was a major reason why. There was unprecedented freedom of movement for people, goods, and capital. By reducing intervention in economic affairs, governments reduced the risk that economic disputes would escalate into political disputes. There wasn't much economic incentive for military conquest, because people on one side of a border could tap resources about as easily as people on the other side of a border. Trade expanded, strengthening the stake that nations had in the continued prosperity of one another as customers and suppliers. While free trade was never a guarantee of peace, it reduced the danger of war more than any public policy ever had.

entered before July 9, 2006

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