Most economists oppose government interventions that grant privileges to domestic producers, especially those that create price distortions arising from tariffs or quotas.
Despite this near-consensus, protectionist economic policies are the last domain of scoundrels, usually driven by the venality of the political class that support privilege-seeking trade unionists or industrialists.
Recent events show that these policies are not only economically irrational & counter-productive, they are also often have deadly consequences.
Turkish authorities have been using deadly means in an attempt to curb “smuggling”, an activity that is most often induced by excessive restrictions of access to certain goods or high tax rates on their consumption. A few weeks ago, 25 unaccompanied mules were shot dead by F-16s.
As it is, a more peaceful way to cope with smuggling, especially of harmless goods, is to allow free trade. For their part, Turkish villagers were quoted:
“We do not call it smuggling. “t is trade.”
Meanwhile, it has been reported that customs checks are holding up relief supplies for Nepal quake victims.
What is really at stake is government officials either refusing to relinquish some amount of power they have or their own access to revenue flows.
Protectionism is a cynical & deadly game that has real human costs & sometimes deadly consequences.