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The Fair Trade Fraud: How Congress Pillages the Consumer and Decimates American Competitiveness Paperback – August 15, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Unlike other books that discuss America's foreign trade policies, Bovard's work looks critically at these policies and how they directly and adversely affect U.S. consumers. Stating that "fair trade consists largely of the U.S. government devising new ways to protect American consumers against the scourge of low prices," Bovard gives specific examples that illustrate his claim that U.S. consumers are forced to pay higher prices for many goods because of our protectionist foreign trade policy. Writing from the viewpoint of one who has investigated and reported on the inconsistencies and hypocrisies in government practices, he makes his position quite clear--the government decides what consumers may buy by levying stiff tariffs on and restricting imports of many foreign goods. A disturbing work on a timely topic. Recommended for public and college libraries for existing foreign policy collections.
- Lisa K. Miller, American Graduate Sch. of International Management Lib., Glendale, Ariz.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A disturbing work on a timely topic." --Library Journal

"Bovard offers a smashing condemnation of American trade policy and exposes the corrupt core of protectionism and the absurdity of Congress making trade more 'fair' by making it less 'free'. . . . (shows) how arbitrary and ultimately counterproductive and restrictive our trade practices are."--The Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade (August 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312083440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312083441
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,126,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Bovard is the author of Public Policy Hooligan (Kindle version 2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (St. Martin's/Palgrave, 2006), and eight other books. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, New Republic, Reader's Digest, and many other publications. His books have been translated into Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Korean. He is a contributing editor for the American Conservative and a regular contributor to the Future of Freedom monthly, published by the Future of Freedom Foundation.

The Wall Street Journal called Bovard 'the roving inspector general of the modern state,' and Washington Post columnist George Will called him a 'one-man truth squad.' His 1994 book Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty received the Free Press Association's Mencken Award as Book of the Year. His Terrorism and Tyranny won the Lysander Spooner Award for the Best Book on Liberty in 2003. He received the Thomas Szasz Award for Civil Liberties work, awarded by the Center for Independent Thought, and the Freedom Fund Award from the Firearms Civil Rights Defense Fund of the National Rifle Association.

His writings have been been publicly denounced by the chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Postmaster General, and the chiefs of the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as by many congressmen and other malcontents.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By on June 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought the book because Bovard clearly wasn't one of the two-week Okura Experts. For those not familiar with the local jargon, Okura Experts are Washington, D.C. appointees who run our trade policy based on a two week stay at the Okura, a luxury hotel near the American Embassy in Tokyo.
Like me, Bovard has been in the trenches and seen trade issues in Japan face-to-face. If you are willing to discard your media managed notions about how Japan cheats and is unfair on trade and look at the whole picture, this book is well worth the read.
Bovard is neither an apologist nor a basher, but I'll guarantee that if you read this book, you will never look at trade issues in the same way again.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By on January 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Bovard clearly expounds on the fact that our very own government is hiking the prices of consumer goods through the vehicle of trade restrictions. Via anti-dumping, quotas, arbitrary tariffs, and other forms of trade restrictions, America is violating the very principle of the free market that it worships. Full of countless statistics and facts (look at the number of footnotes), Bovard belabors his point beyond the threshold of absurdity.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on November 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
The main thesis of this book is great and perfectly worth the effort that Bovard has made in exposing a real problem. However, you have surely never read a more repetitive book in your life. Here Bovard tackles the inefficiency and capriciousness of US "free trade" laws and the bizarre politics at the Commerce department. US trade officials make an art of penalizing foreign companies for behavior that US companies are subsidized to commit, and have attitudes toward imports that we pledge to go to war to prevent in other countries. All the rhetoric about "free" trade from politicians is swamped by protectionism in real life, with unfair and often ridiculous consequences. For example, politically motivated tariffs against imported steel, designed to save a few jobs in the American steel-production industry, have destroyed a far larger number of jobs in American steel-using industries.
Once again, the points here are excellent but the book isn't. First, Bovard is prone to blanket statements and polemics like "The U.S. International Trade Commission is a loose cannon on the shipdeck of the American economy." Worst of all, Bovard's main point of argument is the fact that there are thousands of extremely arbitrary and unfair trade sanctions in US trade relations. That's good to know, but Bovard apparently feels the need to explain just about every one of them in a ridiculously repetitive fashion. Bovard's main points could be made much more effectively in an in-depth magazine article, rather than a rambling 300+ page book that becomes a never-ending and mind-numbing list of numbers and regulations. Bovard apparently doesn't notice that he makes the same point several hundred times. [~doomsdayer520~]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy on January 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
It's impossible to argue, for those who are 'awake' today and see our country in it's current state. Government spying on citizens and controlling them with the largest Prison State IN THE WORLD (U.S. now imprisons more people than any other government in the world and that includes PER-CAPITA & total population, including over countries like China, Russia and Dictatorships). Back in 1991, I was finishing High School and America was still "America", in it's final moments of freedom, having just finished the Cold War victorious. That was the LAST great American generation. Today, two and a half generations later, America is in ruins. HALF of Americans are on "Government Assistance" of some kind. All the "new jobs" are paying "slave-wages" to our young adults who cannot start families and are moving back in with their parents.

"Fair Trade" that began in the late 70's (when our factories moved overseas due to trade agreements and lowered tariffs) then culminated with NAFTA, was one of the MAIN reasons for the economic WASTELAND you see America in today. And the public is so brainwashed by the mass-media and dumbed down by our bad schools that they think America is still "great". Folks, it's not. America is a virtual 2nd World nation now. Most of our wealth has been transferred overseas and our Dollar's value is shrinking through inflation and the U.S. Govt has no spending power yet continues to borrow money it can't pay back (because the Govt surrendered American sovereignty and our businesses to Globalism and as a result, destroyed America's wealth).

James Bovard's book today is a chance for people to look back into the past and see that someone actually did tell the truth and laid out the consequences of the criminal policies our "Elected Masters" drew up in the back room to rob America blind/Sell-out America through a phony swindle called "Free Trade".
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Format: Hardcover
James Bovard (born 1956) is a libertarian author and lecturer who has written many other books, such as Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty, Shakedown: How the Government Screws You from A to Z, The Farm Fiasco, The Bush Betrayal, etc.

He asks, "Should the U.S. be imposing extremely high costs on the economy so that textile workers can be kept in jobs that pay worse than what they would likely find elsewhere?" (Pg. 59)

He notes, "A U.S. company needs almost no information to persuade (the) Commerce (Department) to initiate an inquisition of its foreign competition. American companies have not been penalized for submitting knowingly false information in order to persuade Commerce to investigate their competitors." (Pg. 139)

He argues, "Most violations of dumping laws are crimes without a motive. If foreign companies don't intend to take over the U.S. market, what incentive would they have to perennially sell at a loss? ... How can nations with little or no foreign currency reserves carry out a costly war of attrition against their American competition?" (Pg. 157-158)

He admits that "The case for retaliating against foreign subsidies is, at first glance, stronger than the case for penalizing foreign companies for differential pricing or low profits.
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