“I believe trade to be not just a matter of economics, but to be one of the most important manifestations of human freedom, and that barriers to trade impoverish us in an economic sense that is relatively trivial, and impoverish us in a moral and spiritual and institutional sense in ways that are far from trivial.” – Brian Lee Crowley, Kansas City, Missouri – 05 November 2008

For those looking to win the simmering debate on protectionism, The Audacity of Trade is a must read. Based on a talk to the North America Works Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley explains why it is more incontestable than ever that our continental prosperity depends on smooth and uninterrupted exchanges across the border. He says as people in all the countries of North America are raising more and more concerns about the legitimacy of free trade, it is more important than ever that we “be prepared to make, repeatedly and forcefully, the more fundamental argument that trade is a moral force, a force for good.”

Crowley provides the compelling case for how trade makes us rich as well as free. He explains, “There is a reason why societies that are open to trade are not just more prosperous, but generally more open, more free, more dynamic, more attractive to newcomers. Freedom is tightly linked to human development because freedom exposes us to new ideas, it gives us more insights into ourselves, it exposes us to ways of life we might not see or understand if closed up within the society in which we have grown up. And trade is part of that marketplace of ideas that helps us in the search for truth, by ensuring that all ideas are made available and are subject to criticism, and revision. The more open our society, the greater the chances that we will achieve our fullest potential as individuals and that is the highest good at which society can aim.”

To read the complete Commentary, click here.