Here’s an interesting lesson from history on what might happen when Donald Trump assumers power next month. Reed Smoot was a xenophobic Mormon from Utah who believed that the recession in 1930s America was the result of overproduction of goods and a surfeit of imports affecting the competitiveness of the country’s domestic companies. Sound familiar? His answer was to hike import tariffs and customs duties to artificially protect US products through the introduction of the Smoot-Hawley Act in 1930. “The results were almost immediate. As global trade dried up, much of the world’s shipping fleet was mothballed and orders for new ships cancelled. Other major industries were affected – steel production, fishing, farming and manufacturing of all kinds. And predictably, America’s trading partners reacted in kind.”

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