A Taste of Our Own Poison
...This push to protect intellectual property is defended as just one aspect of free trade - the aspect that benefits Hollywood. Since Adam Smith penned The Wealth of Nations, we've understood that borders are best when opened and when property from one country is respected in another. Free trade so enabled is the promised elixir for the woes of developing nations. Open your borders, protect property rights, and prosperity, the Smithies say, will quickly follow.
The dirty little secret, however, is that we don't respect the free trade rules that we impose on others. While the US sings the virtues of free trade to defend maximalist intellectual property regulation, we poison the free trade that developing nations care about most - agriculture - by subsidizing farming in the industrialized world to the tune of $300 billion annually. Rhetoric about family farmers aside, most of that money passes quickly to agribusiness. This is not Adam Smith; it is corporate welfare par excellence...
...The world is already skeptical enough about Adam Smith's magic. Throwing hypocrisy into the bargain can't help.