by New Deal Democrat
Free Trade, the Primrose Path, and the Blinkered Blindness of macroeconomists
Here’s what I learned today: the origin of the phrase “being led down the primrose path.”
It turns out that in medieval times, one meaning of the word “primrose” was the “prime,” or first or loveliest, rose. Thus taking the primrose path was a particularly lovely journey. At least by the time of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” where Ophelia speaks of the “primrose path” to Laertes, the connotation developed of the use of a lovely and seductive experience to lure a mark to their misfortune or doom.
The doctrine of free trade is macroeconomists’ primrose path. Today’s example comes from Tim Haab’s blog “Environmental Economics,” in the below post entitled “Quote of the Day: Both sides win from free trade . . . sheesh,” which I am reproducing in full:
That moment you realize the Chinese administration understands economics better than the U.S. administration…
“In reality, China and the United States’ long term cooperation has brought about real benefits for both countries’ peoples, any unbiased person will clearly see this fact,” [Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying] told a daily news briefing in Beijing.