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Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and The Great Depression

Irwin Douglas A

12 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 069115032X / ISBN 13: 9780691150321
Published by Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford, 2011
Used Condition: Very Good in Very Good DJ Hardcover
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244 pp., 8vo. Hardcover in dj. First edition. Very light edgewear to boards. Light bumping to spine ends. Slight cocking to spine but binding very sturdy. LIght soiling to textblock edges; red remainder mark to top edge. Pgs clean & crisp. Light soiling, scuffing, edgewear & dampstaining to dj. Bookseller Inventory # 152934

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and The...

Publisher: Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford

Publication Date: 2011

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good in Very Good DJ

Edition: First edition

About this title


The Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930, which raised U.S. duties on hundreds of imported goods to record levels, is America's most infamous trade law. It is often associated with--and sometimes blamed for--the onset of the Great Depression, the collapse of world trade, and the global spread of protectionism in the 1930s. Even today, the ghosts of congressmen Reed Smoot and Willis Hawley haunt anyone arguing for higher trade barriers; almost single-handedly, they made protectionism an insult rather than a compliment. In Peddling Protectionism, Douglas Irwin provides the first comprehensive history of the causes and effects of this notorious measure, explaining why it largely deserves its reputation for combining bad politics and bad economics and harming the U.S. and world economies during the Depression.

In four brief, clear chapters, Irwin presents an authoritative account of the politics behind Smoot-Hawley, its economic consequences, the foreign reaction it provoked, and its aftermath and legacy. Starting as a Republican ploy to win the farm vote in the 1928 election by increasing duties on agricultural imports, the tariff quickly grew into a logrolling, pork barrel free-for-all in which duties were increased all around, regardless of the interests of consumers and exporters. After Herbert Hoover signed the bill, U.S. imports fell sharply and other countries retaliated by increasing tariffs on American goods, leading U.S. exports to shrivel as well. While Smoot-Hawley was hardly responsible for the Great Depression, Irwin argues, it contributed to a decline in world trade and provoked discrimination against U.S. exports that lasted decades.

Peddling Protectionism tells a fascinating story filled with valuable lessons for trade policy today.

From the Back Cover:

"An astute and well-told account of a law more often invoked than understood, Irwin's examination of the Smoot-Hawley Act explains how--for good or ill--Congress lost its credibility as a maker of trade law. A valuable book for anyone who wants to understand the Great Depression and whether it could come back."--Eric Rauchway, author of Blessed Among Nations and The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction

"Douglas Irwin's elegant and sophisticated account of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff clears up some powerful and persistent myths. As Irwin shows, the tariff didn't begin with congressional logrolling (though that contributed substantially to the eventual outcome), it didn't cause the stock market panic of October 1929, and it didn't cause the Great Depression (but neither did it counteract deflation from abroad as some Keynesians and monetarists have claimed). And many of the book's details are fascinating and even bizarrely amusing."--Harold James, Princeton University

"Economists and economic historians have closely examined the Smoot-Hawley Tariff over the past few decades, but no one before Douglas Irwin has pulled together such a wide-ranging body of evidence to give us a solid and detailed understanding of the passage and impact of the bill. Understanding the Great Depression has become even more important since the global financial crisis, and that makes this book very timely. Brief, accessible, and clear, Peddling Protectionism should appeal to a wide range of readers."--Robert Whaples, Wake Forest University

"It would not surprise me if this became the definitive economic history of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. Synthesizing and fleshing out the best research and nicely connecting economics and politics, Peddling Protectionism provides a fuller accounting of, and a deeper perspective on, what is arguably the best-known U.S. tariff of the twentieth century."--Kris Mitchener, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

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