The debate of protectionism vs. free-trade just received a new twist. In the blog by Don Boudreaux called Immigrants and Imports the idea that immigration is synonomous with importation is presentated. Boudreaux refers to a recent publication that explains how in the years following the civil war the economy grew so much, eventhough there was a policy of protectionism (i.e. high tariffs). At that time immigrants came into the country in droves. Protectionism is meant to protect American workers from foreign workers, but at that time the foreign workers were easily coming into the country. The foreigners brought with them the services, and they would soon produce goods right here in the US.
The foreign goods were produced in the US, but they still came from foreign workers. The argument is that the policy was not protectionism at all,but free-trade through immigration. If society today calls for protectionism, it must also make sure that open-immigration is stopped, or it will all be for nothing.