Peddling protectionism adroitly surveys the political economic and international causes and consequences of the smoot hawley act irwin opens his investigation outlining the peculiar political framework within which early twentieth century trade policy was fashioned in washington he notes the supreme irony of the fact that the initial proposal for tariff revision proffered by the republicans in 1928 grew out of a desire to help agricultural interests that had been savagely hit by the . Peddling protectionism smoot hawley and the great depression one of the more infamous pieces of legislation in american history is the smoot hawley tariff willis hawley a republican member of the us house from oregon promised the bill would create a renewed era of prosperity. While smoot hawley was hardly responsible for the great depression irwin argues it contributed to a decline in world trade and provoked discrimination against us exports that lasted decades peddling protectionism tells a fascinating story filled with valuable lessons for trade policy today. Whether deserved or not smoot and hawley have become synonymous with an avalanche of protectionism that led to the collapse of world trade and the great depression because of the controversy that surrounded its passage and the catas trophe that followed in its wake it is easy to resort to hyperbole when discussing the smoot hawley tariff
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