It is said that the hardest lesson to understand and learn in all of economics is why free trade benefits all of society. We have been consistently failing to learn this thoroughly and in numbers for many centuries – and bearing the cost accordingly.
The most obvious example of this failure in modern times can be seen in the Corn Laws debate prior to the reform of that legislation in 1846.
Its current manifestation may be seen in protests about the idea of a Pan Pacific Free Trade Agreement. Just how tough it is to learn and understand is evidenced by the very considerable number of extremely intelligent people from all walks of life – all of whom have benefited from free trade – who fail miserably to understand it.
The economists' job it seems, is never done.