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← A response from Shermer

BoltzmannBrain's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by BoltzmannBrain

There's little reason to believe that free trade leads to greater morality. Usually we simply don't bother to find out where our goods come from. Maybe free trade has a small effect, but I see absolutely no reason to believe it is a major factor influencing moral progress.

Shermer put forward this free trade idea at Beyond Belief, several years back. A member of the audience, Scott Atran, raised the point that around 1910, Ottoman Turkey and Tsarist Russia were the only European powers that required a passport. Europe was thus a free trade utopia, and yet still, all hell broke loose.

Shermer's response was unconvincing. He admits that the First World War was an exception, but thinks his idea is generally true. The problem is, even a single war is often quite enough to lead to the complete destruction of a nation. Another World War will result in the deaths of billions of people, and possibly the end of civilization.

Fri, 03 Sep 2010 11:30:32 UTC | #510552