One of the most egregious errors committed during the Great Depression was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. It was the highest U.S. tariff of the century and sparked massive foreign protest. Immediate retaliation from Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Canada destabilized the Western market. It nearly collapsed when Great Britain, France and Germany reacted to the crisis. Smoot-Hawley did not cause the Great Depression, but it certainly worsened it by initiating a wave of trade barriers that severely reduced world trade. It should be a caveat for all international trade issues and persuasively shows why protectionism is a dubious policy.
Major Themes in Economics
©1999 by Major Themes in Economics
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"Parade of Protection: A Survey of the European Reaction to the Passage of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930,"
Major Themes in Economics, 1, 3-26.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/mtie/vol1/iss1/3