Import Restraints and Industrial Performance: The Dilemma of Protectionism

It is the thesis of this article that the remedies for the import problem– quotas, orderly marketing agreements, trigger price systems, and the like-do not provide adequate mechanisms for insuring acceptable industry performance or protecting the public interest. Instead of compelling–or even promoting-the kind of structural and behavioral changes which are imperative if an industry is to overcome its competitive infirmities, these protectionist devices, more often than not, are likely to have precisely the opposite effect, i.e., perpetuate the very infirmities that caused the industry’s plight to begin with. In short, an ailing organism is not prepared for the rigors of survival in nature by being privileged to live in the shelter of a hothouse.