The book, The Choice a Fable of Free Trade and
Protectionism, written by Russell Roberts, tells a story that grabs the
reader’s attention by explaining the very intricate and unseen aspects about
the economic system. This book is written in fiction format which is very
enjoyable to read, however, it is also very informational as it includes a very
insightful story that portrays the differences of free trade and protectionism.
introduces two main characters that he tells the story through. One of whom is David
Ricardo, a man that is for free trade, he is sent back from the gates of heaven
with a task to change the mind of Ed Johnson, who is for protectionism and a
CEO for a company that produces televisions. Johnson’s company is faced with a
competition overseas in Japan that is also producing televisions. Johnson wants to have a tariff on Japanese
televisions to help his company and more so his workers, so they won’t be
completely out of business. As Johnson acts on his decision, he takes into his
group a congressman, Frank Bates. Ricardo then gets worried because he sees
Johnson take these steps and he counters by taking Johnson into the future to
show him two scenarios that could occur. One of which is an America that is
strictly free trade, the other is an America that operates only within itself.
a reader, you are able to agree more with Ricardo than Johnson. This is because
it is very clear with all that was said that the story was written with a sway
towards free trade. Now, this can seem pretty biased to the audience, but as he
was writing this story he wasn’t forcing anything upon the reader. Russell
provided the scenarios and left it up to the reader to decide ultimately what
the right choice is. I feel like Russell did a spectacular job putting together
a book that not only sheds light onto an important subject, but at the same
time he made it enjoyable to read which is honestly hard to accomplish these
days. Personally, the ultimate theme I get from this book is that it’s not
always about how much we consume rather we need to take a step back and become
aware of the rest of the world and how they also matter. Free trade and protectionism plays a much greater
part than just economics.
Russell Roberts wrote a very intriguing book that helps
create a new view on free trade and protectionism in the world we live in
today. Readers are able to understand very easily the different aspects and the
severe consequences it could have on other people when we act selfishly.