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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Steve Forbes once joked that if you ever find yourself in a middle seat on a plane and want to create some elbow room, try starting a conversation about U.S. monetary policy. It is a subject whose power to bore the pants off fellow passengers may diminish in coming years. Of dozens of potentially explosive... Read More
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Few aspirants to the American presidency have ever deployed a more effective slogan than Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again.” Although Hillary Clinton professed to believe that America has never stopped being great, in the end countless voters sided with Trump – and in many cases did so passionately, oblivious to all the Trumpian scandals... Read More
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Last December I initiated a series of articles collectively headed “Why Trump Is Winning.” They were published at Forbes.com and, to say the least, my editors there seemed underwhelmed. After all, the almost universally touted conventional wisdom at the time was that Trump’s support had a low ceiling. Once the field started thinning, his negatives... Read More
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Donald Trump’s speech on foreign policy on Wednesday has been widely and predictably misrepresented. The Economist, for instance, claimed to see many “errors” there, yet curiously failed to identify a single one. In suggesting his proposed strategy is riddled with contradictions, the only substantiation the magazine offered was this: Pace the Economist and its compulsion... Read More
If the polls are any guide, Donald Trump should romp home in tomorrow's New York State primary. Besides a home-state advantage, he will have key economic issues working for him. The fact is that in few regions of the United States does his case against the decline of American manufacturing resonate so powerfully. As the... Read More
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Why the Media's Silence on Japanese Protectionism Gives Trump Another Priceless Opening
In few places has Donald Trump’s rise caused more unease than in Tokyo. Indeed it is probably safe to say that, underneath an ostensibly imperturbable exterior, top Japanese officials are running far more scared than even Trump realizes. They have a lot to be scared about. Much of what the Washington establishment thinks it knows... Read More
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Donald Trump seems not to have noticed yet but the Boeing aircraft company has just handed him a perfect opportunity to target the middle ground in American politics. Boeing has for decades been perhaps the most egregious corporate exemplar of what Trump rightly denounces as the stupidity and spinelessness of U.S. trade policy. That policy... Read More
Americans of all political persuasions abhor human trafficking. So why is the Obama administration pushing a highly controversial trade pact that would reward nations with some of the world’s worst human trafficking records? It is a good question, and one that has been brought into sharp focus by reports overnight of the discovery of mass... Read More
It seems only yesterday that most of the world’s largest corporations were based in the United States. In the auto industry, for instance, there was General Motors, which not only towered over Ford and Chrysler but made Toyota and Volkswagen look positively Lilliputian. Those days are gone. On most measures Toyota and Volkswagen are now... Read More
Chinese leader Xi Jinping knows something Barack Obama doesn’t: America is finished. The U.S. economy is an ocean liner holed below the waterline. In the stateroom, the band plays on – but, on the bridge, the outcome is clear. With the arguable exception of the late-era Soviet Union, America is sinking faster than any Great... Read More
Nobel prize winners are supposed to have done something useful. Marie Curie discovered radioactivity – and thus gave us, among other things, X-rays. As for Albert Einstein, even before he became famous for his theory of relativity, he won a Nobel for describing photons, whose most familiar latter-day application is in optical fiber communications. Meanwhile... Read More
In all the economic turmoil of recent years, you might think the inventive spirit of the American people is one thing no one could take away. Think again. Bowing to the forces of globalism, Washington has in recent years gutted protections for American inventors. In an effort to “harmonize” U.S. patent law with that of... Read More
For nearly two generations now American economists have been trying to remake human nature to fit economic theory. Ralph Gomory has a different idea: remake economic theory to fit human nature. Gomory challenges the now almost universally held view that a CEO’s job is simply to maximize “shareholder value.” He believes that if American capitalism... Read More
America’s current account deficit—the widest and most meaningful measure of its trade – exceeded 3 percent of GDP last year. Meanwhile manufacturing was down to 11 percent. Given that services are weak exporters (and are generally highly labor-intensive to boot), how can the United States ever aspire to balance its trade again? That was the... Read More
Here is a question for Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin: do you care how you will be remembered by your grandchildren? My guess is, yes, of course, you do. Certainly you seem like a decent person – the sort of public representative who sincerely aspires to build a better tomorrow. Yet the other day you... Read More
In an article in today’s New York Times Sunday Review, I challenge a fundamental assumption underlying Washington’sembrace of globalism: the idea that no matter how fast American technologies leak abroad, an abundance of new production methods and new industries will keep bubbling up to take their place. This assumption is wrong because America has no... Read More
Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. Although the aphorism is overused, it accurately describes the dog’s dinner that British leaders have made of their society in the last half century. A good example of what I mean is the news overnight that the British government has appointed Mark Carney the next... Read More
Why won’t anyone talk about Tokyo’s auto protectionism?
Mitt Romney was in his element a few years ago as the Obama administration struggled to rescue the Detroit auto industry. In an eat-your-spinach tone, he ticked off his recommendations for reform. Top management should go, executive dining rooms should be shut, and factory wages slashed. Then there were the industry’s “legacy costs”: given how... Read More
Is America in terminal decline? Optimists and pessimists have been battling it out since the Carter malaise era of the late 1970s. Although occasionally the “American disease” has gone into remission, the evidence has consistently mounted that the problem is terminal. As a founding member of the declinist school, I keep hoping I am wrong... Read More
Although opinion is still tightly censored in China, Nobel Laureate Gary Becker’s views seem to be an exception. Publishers in China have to cleave close to the propaganda line on anything remotely bearing on the country’s mercantilist trade policy. Thus when a Nobel Prize-winning American economist is published by a prominent Chinese news organization, you... Read More
The conservative commentator Robert Kagan has made a splash by suggesting the United States is not in decline. Is he right? I have taken a look at his arithmetic. In his new book The World America Made, Kagan contends that America’s share of world output is as great now as it was forty years ago.... Read More
How currency manipulation destroyed American manufacturing
TOKYO—In the mid 1990s, I published a book entitled Blindside: Why Japan Is Still on Track to Overtake the U.S. By the Year 2000. The prediction in the subtitle did not, as they say, pan out. But it was more soundly based than casual readers of the U.S. financial press might imagine. The book offered... Read More
Meet the heterodox economists challenging globalism.
“I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws, or crafts its advanced treatises, if I can write its economics textbooks.” So said one of the greatest textbook writers of them all, Paul Samuelson. But even Samuelson didn’t live forever—he died in 2009 aged 94—and now others decide what the rising generation is reading. It is... Read More
The Pentagon sells out American manufacturing for Japanese bases.
TOKYO—When German executives visit Tokyo, they are often treated to a session at Bernd’s Bar, a notably authentic German pub. A bit too authentic, perhaps, given its Axis-era accoutrements. The last time I was there, one of the walls still featured a huge photograph of Willy Messerschmitt in conversation with Charles Lindbergh. It had evidently... Read More
The Betrayal of American Prosperity: Free Market Delusions, America’s Decline, and How We Must Compete in the Post-Dollar Era, Clyde Prestowitz, Free Press, 340 pages How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds, Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch, 264 pages George W. Bush’s under secretary of commerce for international trade, Frank Lavin, was once... Read More
America goes Ottoman shopping.
Here’s an economic history test: 1. Which Great Power pioneered the secular trend towards freer international trade? 2. Which Great Power first resorted to spiraling foreign indebtedness to pay for its wars? 3. Which Great Power first permitted large-scale foreign direct investment in its domestic industries and infrastructure? If you guessed such latter-day globalizers as... Read More
America will always be number one, won’t it?
TOKYO—Almost everything the Apple computer company sells these days comes with this memorable statement of origin: “Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China.” The implication is obvious: a few brilliantly creative, latte-quaffing, hybrid-driving Americans did the real work, while low-skilled Chinese assembly workers, laboring in serf-like conditions and earning a few dollars a day,... Read More
While it is still unclear how large the trade problem will loom in the presidential election, there is surely plenty to be worried about. On several occasions under George W. Bush, the monthly trade deficit has exceeded the total annual deficit -- $41 billion -- in the entire last year of his father's administration. Of... Read More
America’s burgeoning trade deficits threaten Greenspan’s legacy.
For those who watch the American economy, the Internet boasts few more useful resources than the Web site of the Federal Reserve. In a few clicks you can mine data on everything from the level of interest rates on Black Monday to the growth of steel production under Eisenhower. Whether the topic is the trend... Read More
By recent standards, the dismal U.S. trade figures for April 2000 counted as a relief. After all, imports fell slightly, and this helped narrow the trade deficit for the first time since August 1999. So much for the good news. Now for the bad: At $30.4 billion, the April deficit was just fractionally below the... Read More
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