Protectionism is a frequently used political tool. Sometimes, it is hidden in complicated laws, other times it is presented quite openly. As society is witnessing a wave of populist and nationalist ideas in Europe, especially in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), protectionist ideas are still widely accepted.
Politicians across the political spectrum bring up the question of autarky, or self-sufficiency in general, whenever they want to gain attention and stir emotions. Whether it concerns food supplies, protective equipment, medicine, or fuels, all of these can be seen as too important to be in the hands of the market.
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AFTERWORD: MONIKA BUDZÁK / DON´T WORRY, BE OPEN!
What proponents of self-sufficiency omit is the fact that the state of wealth we are currently witnessing is a result of the market economy, not autarky. No tools and ideas from the command economy could ensure more prosperity. But like economist Frederic Bastiat described in his concept what is seen and what is not seen, the majority of people tend to see only the first and direct effects of a political idea, neglecting its secondary and long-term consequences.
However, fighting for self-sufficiency in a political campaign does not mean that the political party has the tools to ensure it. This is the case in several countries (Slovakia, Czechia, Poland, etc.), where governments passed poorly prepared laws in order to favor domestic production. The result: no self-sufficiency, but many costs related to adopting these policies and legislative chaos.