Antiforeign Bias

I just started reading Bryan Caplan's The Myth of the Rational Voter, and so far it's a good read.  There are many passages I could quote here, but this one in particular backs up a point I've been making, though Caplan himself doesn't hammer it home.

It is misleading, however, to think about "foreignness" as either/or.  From the viewpoint of the typical American, Canadians are less foreign than the British, who are in turn less foreign than the Japanese.  During 1983-87, 28% of Americans in the General Social Survey admitted they disliked Japan, but only 8% disliked England, and a scant 3% disliked Canada.  It is not surprising, then, that the degree of antiforeign bias varies by country.  Objective measures like the volume of trade or the trade deficit are often secondary to physical, linguistic, and cultural similarity.  Trade with Canada or Great Britain generates only mild alarm compared to trade with Mexico or Japan.  U.S. imports from, and trade deficits with, Canada exceeded those with Mexico every year from 1985 to 2004.  During the anti-Japan hysteria of the eighties, British foreign direct investment in the United States always exceeded that of the Japanese by at least 50%.  Foreigners who look like us and speak English are hardly foreign at all.

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Don't know. Most

Don't know.

Most protectionists claim that protection is a matter of disparity. We should protect against the imports because they are too cheap, we should refuse investments of a foreign country because they are too productive not productive enough, etc.

This is  an evolution that is necessary to avoid the obvious reductio ad absurdum of protectionism applying to a single individual. 

Thus maybe the  canada and britain are not feared not because they speak english and are pale but because their economy is more similar and thus their are less pretexes for protectionism.

Samuel Huntington

A similar point was made in "Clash of Civilizations", though anti-Japanese bias seems as silly and retro as pet-rocks these days (it's all about the Chinese now!).