Yes Virginia, Santa Claus Does Violate International Trade Rules

The dismal science could use a dash of whimsy, from time to time. So here's a letter to Santa Claus by a four-and-a-half-year old Johnny -- er, two UK embassy officials in Washington -- imploring St. Nick to please fly within international rules after a millennium of flouting basic trade laws. I sort of love this, a lot.


Dear Santa

It is with regret that I am serving you with a Section 415 Cease and Desist order in the matter of delivery of gifts and/or presents on the occasion of the Night Before Christmas on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Dean (hereafter "My Parents").

My Parents note the following violations of international trade rules which constitute a prima facie case of unfair competition in the delivery of but not limited to balls, teddy bears and games:

  • Anti-Dumping. The low price of zero dollars you charge is clearly below marginal cost. This seems to be a flagrant attempt to attain market share. No doubt you have your eyes fixed on Easter and Halloween, to say nothing of birthdays.
  • Labor standards. You have never accepted international standards for your workforce. Your elves toil for impossibly long hours and appear to subsist entirely on leftover cookies. My Parents have serious concerns about the long-term health effects of the "magic dust" which you pump into your workshops to enhance productivity.
  • Environmental standards. Your production methods are extremely carbon-intensive. My Parents are not convinced that your base in the North Pole is sustainable given the long-term decline in Arctic sea ice.
  • Intellectual Property. Santa-brand Tickle-Me-Elmo dolls are an unauthorized reproduction of the real thing.
  • Transportation costs. We regret your genetic modification of reindeer in respect of flight, and, in at least one case, red noses.

In light of these concerns, it is My Parents' view that I would be better off without any such "free" presents and that my arguments against such were "naive."

Merry Christmas.

Yours

Johnny (aged four and three quarters)


[via Real Time Economics]


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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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