Reason TV: Jones Act Hurts Hawaii

Hawaii harbor
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Hawaii harbor

By  &  – “What would an enemy want to do to the people of Hawaii during war time?” asks Ken Schoolland, professor of economics at Hawaii Pacific University and scholar at the Grassroot Institute. “They would want to cut us off from international shipping. Well, this is what the law does to us all the time.”

Reason TV sat down with Schoolland to talk about the Jones Act, federal legislation that restricts foreign-flagged ships from engaging in commerce in domestic shipping lanes. Schoolland argues that this protectionist measure is crippling the Hawaiian economy and results in Hawaii’s imports being among the most expensive in the world.


Attorney John Carroll petitioned to overturn the Jones Act, but the petition was dismissed by the court with prejudice. Carroll says he intends to mount a vigorous appeal.

About 4 minutes.

Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Shot by Sharif Matar, Paul Detrick and Weissmueller.





  1. I agree that the act hurts Hawaii. Commerical ships power by Hawaii with goods that are going to return to Hawaii but are forced to go to California first. Those things are offloaded on the mainland and then placed back onto other ships to take the goods back to Hawaii. This increases the costs on food, carpeting, household items, gas, you name it! Far wiser to let the ships stop and offload in Hawaii, then continue on thus saving the islands and residents millions of dollars a year in higher prices due to all the additional shipping, handling and fuel prices involved. What seems smart obviously goes against the money people wish to make. Common sense should prevail and the courts should uphold the right for Commercial ships to offload directly in Hawaii.

  2. I can't understand why they want to close international trade. I thought the point was to make more money, not to make that impossible.

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