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Against Protectionism

Anno XXXIII, n. 143, gennaio-febbraio 1998
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
Born in 1864 in Torre Pellice in Piedmont, Edoardo Giretti was an industrialist, a free-lance journalist and a member of parliament, where he was an opponent of Giolitti. The pages we present here are taken from his most famous work, Per la libertà del pane (For the Freedom of the Bread), published in 1901. Giretti’s arguments seek to confute the thesis that duties and protections in a sector which was then so essential could create situation preferable to that of free trade. The reader will thus appreciate how the anti-liberiste positions of that time were the same as those invoked today to support direct or indirect protectionist policies. More specifically, Giretti adamantly refuses the idea that free trade is a true principle in some circumstances and not in others, and that, basically, everything boils down to choosing the right moment for each. This position is perfectly in tune with Luigi Einaudi’s and the exact opposite of that of the protectionists, dirigistes and followers of corporatism who, alas, have always had the upper hand in the history of Italy.