Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On this day

in 1778, James Hargreaves, the English inventor of the spinning jenny died. After he had begun to sell the machines to help support his large family, hand spinners, fearing unemployment, broke into his house and destroyed a number of jennies, causing Hargreaves to move from Blackburn to Nottingham in 1768.

Its a constant battle to demonstrate that innovation and improvements in efficiency benefit us all. I'll bet Tim Worstall has a name for it with reference to some academic piece, most likely in Wealth of Nations, but I am stuck with observation and experience. However you describe it, it is hard to argue that those who would have us still hand spinning to protect their jobs were right.

What we really need is for the EU to realise that protectionism benefits the few at the expense of the many, both within and without the EU, and get it to remove CAP and other trade barriers so everyone can benefit from innovation and trade.

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