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Is Trumpism the New Nationalism?
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Since China devalued its currency 3 percent, global markets have gone into a tailspin. Why should this be?

After all, 3 percent devaluation in China could be countered by a U.S. tariff of 3 percent on all goods made in China, and the tariff revenue used to cut U.S. corporate taxes.

The crisis in world markets seems related not only to a sinking Chinese economy, but also to what Beijing is saying to the world; i.e., China will save herself first even if it means throwing others out of the life boat.

Disbelievers in New World Order mythology have long recognized that this new China is fiercely nationalistic. Indeed, with Marxism-Leninism dead, nationalism is the Communist Party’s fallback faith.

China has thus kept her currency cheap to hold down imports and keep exports surging. She has run $300 billion trade surpluses at the expense of the Americans. She has demanded technology transfers from firms investing in China and engaged in technology theft.

Disillusioned U.S. executives have been pulling out.

And the stronger China has grown economically, the more bellicose she has become with her neighbors from Japan to Vietnam to the Philippines. Lately, China has laid claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and all its islands and reefs as national territory.

In short, China is becoming a mortal threat to the rules-based global economy Americans have been erecting since the end of the Cold War, even as the U.S. system of alliances erected by Cold War and post-Cold War presidents seems to be unraveling.

Germany, the economic powerhouse of the European Union, was divided until recently on whether Greece should be thrown out of the eurozone. German nationalists have had enough of Club Med.

On issues from mass migrations from the Third World, to deeper political integration of Europe, to the EU’s paltry contributions to a U.S.-led NATO that defends the continent, nationalistic resistance is rising.

Enter the Donald. If there is a single theme behind his message, it would seem to be a call for a New Nationalism or New Patriotism.

He is going to “make America great again.” He is going to build a wall on the border that will make us proud, and Mexico will pay for it.

He will send all illegal aliens home and restore the traditional value of U.S. citizenship by putting an end to the scandal of “anchor babies.”

One never hears Trump discuss the architecture of our rules-based global economy. Rather, he speaks of Mexico, China and Japan as tough rivals, not “trade partners,” smart antagonists who need to face tough American negotiators who will kick their butts.

They took our jobs and factories; now we are going to take them back. And if that Ford plant stays in Mexico, then Ford will have to climb a 35-percent tariff wall to get its trucks and cars back into the USA.

Trump to Ford: Bring that factory back to Michigan!

To Trump, the world is not Davos; it is the NFL. He is appalled at those mammoth container ships in West Coat ports bringing in Hondas and Toyotas. Those ships should be carrying American cars to Asia.

Asked by adviser Dick Allen for a summation of U.S. policy toward the Soviets, Ronald Reagan said: “We win; they lose.”

That it is not an unfair summation of what Trump is saying about Mexico, Japan and China.

While the economic nationalism here is transparent, Trump also seems to be saying that foreign regimes are freeloading off the U.S. defense budget and U.S. military.

He asks why rich Germans aren’t in the vanguard in the Ukraine crisis. Why do South Koreans, with an economy 40 times that of the North and a population twice as large, need U.S. troops on the DMZ?

“What’s in it for us?” he seems ever to be asking.

He has called Vladimir Putin a Russian patriot and nationalist with whom he can talk. He has not joined the Republican herd that says it will cancel the Iran nuclear deal the day they take office, re-impose U.S. sanctions and renegotiate the deal.

Trump says he would insure that Iran lives up to the terms.

While his foreign policy positions seem unformed, his natural reflex appears nonideological and almost wholly results-oriented. He looks on foreign trade much as did 19th-century Republicans.


They saw America as the emerging world power and Britain as the nation to beat, as China sees us today. Those Americans used tariffs, both to force foreigners to pay to build our country, and to keep British imports at a price disadvantage in the USA.

Then they exploited British free trade policy to ship as much as they could to the British Isles to take down their factories and capture their jobs for U.S. workers, as the Chinese do to us today.

Whatever becomes of Trump the candidate, Trumpism, i.e., economic and foreign policy nationalism, appears ascendant.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2015

• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Free Trade 
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  1. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    For those interested in more detail on the parallels between 19th Century U.S. v. Britain and 21st Century China v. U.S., see Ian Fletcher’s essay, America Was Founded As A Protectionist Nation.

    • Replies: @jimbojones
  2. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    America First.

    Sounds good.

    Can he deliver?

  3. Renoman says:

    He’s on a roll, he speaks the language of the uneducated masses, the only thing that can stop him is the mighty media machine or an up turn in the stock market. The folks down home are tired of the constant noise of the left, the whining women, the LGBT nonsense, the ridiculous taxes, the Racial BS, the disappearing jobs, the herds of foreigners. No Sir, they don’t like it and Don’s their only hope. Free trade has never been anything but a way for the filthy rich to exploit everyone under them, time to think about us. Mansions burning and yachts sinking, this is the future.

    • Replies: @Ozymandias
  4. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Great Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    The New Nationalism=Highly racialized…highly zenophobic…economically populist…anti-MEGA-CEO….Native Born White American Racial Nationalism=THE RACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Deport The Chinese Fifth Column now currently colonizing Montanna and Idaho……and eating the remaining Grizzly Bear and Black Bear populations of Montanna and Idaho…

  5. Some of Trump’s supporters don’t really care what his policies are. They just see him as a disruptive presence, and they adore anything that upsets the staid, controlling influence of the establishment GOP.

    Peace, love, truth,

    The Grate Deign

    • Replies: @J1234
  6. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Great Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    Dear Donald Trump

    This is all you have to do…state unequivocably in the debates:The very low wage labor policy of the Greedy Cheating MEGA-CEO owned Democratic-Republican Party is the force behind the open and deliberate policy of radically changing the demographics of America…for the very low wage-wage slave Labor Policy of the MEGA-CEO owned Democratc-Republican Party requires the importation of highly racialized-high fertility Democratic Party Voters….the nonwhite legal immigrant legal scab labor that deprives The Historic Native Born White American Working Class of the very very great benefit of a very severe labor scarcity…and the very great additional benefit of halting the demographic transformation of America in the name of low real wage labor markets in the US.


    Also state this unequivocably:There is no economic case for race-replacing The Historic Native Born White American Working Class with Asian legal immigrants…Muslim legal immigrants…Hindu legal immigrants…Sihk legal immigrants….Mexican legal immigrants….street by street…town by town…county by county…state by state….across Our America…..

  7. NATO was created to keep the Soviets out of, and the Germans in, Western Europe. Now that Germany is unified and an integral part of the West, and the Soviet Union a memory, the entire rationale behind our leadership of NATO has evaporated.
    If the Russians and the Germans want a rubber match, that’s their business, not ours. The American people will not tolerate our soldiers fighting another European land war. Our threats to do so are laughable. It’s time to quit pretending we’ll go to war to defend some European border.
    We won’t go.

    • Replies: @tbraton
  8. J1234 says:
    @The Grate Deign

    Some of Trump’s supporters don’t really care what his policies are. They just see him as a disruptive presence, and they adore anything that upsets the staid, controlling influence of the establishment GOP.

    Correct. Trump won’t be elected president. It isn’t going to happen. My guess is that he’ll eventually crash and burn over something he says or does, but it could be for some other reason. Regardless, the more voter support he gets at this early stage of his campaign, the more likely we’ll a Republican party – or, at least, a GOP nominee – that adopts his essential platform on immigration and trade.

  9. Are you sure the US would be entitled under WTO rules to impose a 3 per cent offsetting tariff on Chinese imports? I doubt it.

    You might have added in your comparison of China with 19th century America the free use made by Americans then of intellectual property.

    • Replies: @random observer
  10. @War for Blair Mountain

    Sorry, the term “The Race” has already been taken. Check out the National Council of La Raza.

    Whites might be finally joining the game.

  11. I’m happy with the disruptive factor that Trump is inserting. But has anyone wondered about what might be really going on? Trump is friends with the Clintons, he was a democrat for the longest time and he hasn’t really gone after Hillary much. Could he possibly be doing a “Ross Perot” for her? Waiting until the last moment to go 3rd party and hand the election to her due to the majority of the vote being diluted between the Republican and Independent candidates. Yet she still gets more votes than either individually receives. Bill Clinton got less than the combined votes given to Bush and Perot. But got more than either got separately. Effectively circumventing the majority will of the people. Can you imagine the benefits that stunt would pay to Trump? Being a major contributor is one thing. But a maneuver like that is a “whole nuther thang”. It will be interesting to see what Trump does if Hillary is forced to drop out. If he suddenly follows suite then as they say in the casino business, that’s a tell.

    • Replies: @tbraton
    , @Ozymandias
  12. tbraton says:
    @Fritz Pettyjohn

    “NATO was created to keep the Soviets out of, and the Germans in, Western Europe.”

    I believe the original formulation was that the purpose of NATO was to keep the Russians out, the U.S. in and the Germans down. With the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO lost its purpose and should have been disbanded.

    ” It’s time to quit pretending we’ll go to war to defend some European border.”

    Especially when that European border abuts Russia itself, and we are forced to defend former parts of the Soviet Union in the event of a dust up with their neighbor Russia.

  13. @Wizard of Oz

    There’s some truth there. I don’t think it obviates the case for a newly nationalistic American policy, or the criticism of China’s policies today from the perspective of those who have more or less adopted the Davos model and paid some of the prices for it.

    But it does behoove Americans to remember the history. China today gets compared a lot to imperial Germany. There is some use in that, but also limits. Similarly, China could easily be compared to that era’s America.

    America did then as China does now- protectionism, debt-fuelled infrastructure spending, debt writ large, capital markets reckless in the extreme, bubbles, opaque banking systems reliant on unregulated, ramshackle structures, shameless appropriation of intellectual property. Not to mention building railroads west and pouring in settlers to colonize and permanently integrate underpopulated frontier territories [Han to Xinjiang and Tibet, Americans to the Plains] and appropriating its entire surrounding region as a sphere of influence to be militantly protected regardless of the wishes of the people and countries therein [First and Second Island Chain, etc. = Monroe Doctrine]. Prickly, easily offended nationalism, objection to the diplomatic and commercial order and niceties set up to benefit older powers, sporadic but limited willingness by most to engage with cultures or value systems other than one’s own. You name it.

    Not that these sins were every uniquely American, or Chinese. Nor that I for one necessarily object to any of them. But America played a role eerily similar to China’s today.

    It was a different world overall though. The older powers with the money to invest were more culturally similar, the US responded to that in somewhat more positive ways, and the economic and demographic structure of that world meant that bumptious US growth fit more neatly with European requirement to export people and capital, and ultimately made more money that it did harm. Today’s more rigid, older world order is a tad more arthritic, and the expectations of its citizens for security and comfort are much greater.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  14. jtgw says:

    Libertarians like to argue that a return to old-fashioned mercantilism will result in wars. What are the risks of war with China if we start punishing their exports with tariffs? If we abandon the rules of world trade and simply pursue a narrow national self-interest, it might not take long before we feel entitled to use force or the threat of force to advance our own gain.

    As it is, I’m far less exercised about trade than about immigration. Whatever the economists may say, people are not just tradable commodities and I think the Donald is the only candidate whose immigration proposals put the interests of current citizens first and foremost.

    • Replies: @iSteveFan
    , @MarkinLA
  15. @Dave Pinsen

    I can also recommend Fletcher. He authored one of the better and more accessible books critical of the current iteration of the “free trade” doctrine. (“Free Trade Doesn’t Work”)

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  16. tbraton says:

    “Trump is friends with the Clintons, he was a democrat for the longest time and he hasn’t really gone after Hillary much. ”

    I wondered immediately after the first Republican debate why Trump didn’t respond to Megyn Kelly’s question about all the nasty terms he has used to refer to different women by invoking Bill Clinton and his actions (worse than mere words). Subsequently, I concluded that she is not a candidate for the Republican nomination, so he doesn’t need to unnecessarily stir up trouble there at this time, and, furthermore, there is no guarantee that she will be the Democratic nominee, so why muddy the waters needlessly. If she doesn’t get the nomination, Trump will have avoided tarnishing his reputation by soiling Bill Clinton’s reputation unnecessarily. Now, while I believe that dragging Bill Clinton into the debate may be premature at this point, I don’t feel the same about raising the Black Lives Matter issue, since that has the potential to roil the Democratic Party regardless of who the nominee is and energize the potential voters likely to be drawn to a Trump candidacy.

  17. @Renoman

    “…the only thing that can stop him is the mighty media machine or an up turn in the stock market.”

    Has no one noticed that “the mighty media machine” is collapsing? They are in a state of ruin, their credibility burnt to ashes. Anger at the lies of the mighty media machine is one of the biggest things Trump has got going for him. I find that this fact is consistently underappreciated.

    • Agree: Auntie Analogue
  18. @Seoulsurvivor

    “Can you imagine the benefits that stunt would pay to Trump?”

    Becoming the most hated man in America and watching all your business interests collapse doesn’t sound especially beneficial to me.

    • Replies: @Seoulsurvivor
  19. @Ozymandias

    I wasn’t suggesting that he would ham-fistedly acknowledge the scheme. I’m sure a valiant effort would be made to the end and the mechanics would remain between Trump and Clinton.

  20. And yet here we are talking about it. Us, and a lot of other people. This isn’t something that’s just going to slide by unnoticed. Perot caught a lot of flak in hindsight for his failed scheme. It will be a hundred times worse with Trump. If he leaves us at the altar, he’ll be a hunted man.

  21. iSteveFan says:

    As it is, I’m far less exercised about trade than about immigration. Whatever the economists may say, people are not just tradable commodities and I think the Donald is the only candidate whose immigration proposals put the interests of current citizens first and foremost.

    I think it is good to bring trade into the debate with immigration. Though immigration is my first and foremost issue, I realize that the ideology of free trade has helped contribute to our current immigration crisis. Remember if you are telling nations that they can no longer control what products are coming into their countries, then it is not that much of a stretch to start telling them they cannot control what people are coming in.

    Free trade as practiced amongst our fifty states requires the free movement of people. Within a nation, that is totally acceptable. Though I am told that in China the Chinese are not even allowed this right without government permission. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that free trade would eventually lead to the free movement of peoples. So addressing free trade should go hand in hand with immigration.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  22. jtgw says:

    The Chinese government does make it hard to change your permanent residence within the country, although movement itself is not restricted. The economic boom has been largely fueled by poor rurals moving to cities, which don’t have to provide for them because their welfare entitlements, such as they are, are tied to their permanent residence, not their temporary residence in the city where they work.

    I support free trade largely because cheaper imports benefit American consumers even as they harm American producers. The money that Americans can save as consumers can be reinvested in whatever industries Americans have a comparative advantage in. But when you let actual immigrants in, you’re changing the demographic makeup of the American people, so you can no longer talk about a net benefit to the entire people. Some groups of people, the lower skilled in particular, will absolutely suffer from the competition introduced by the immigrants, without enjoying any corresponding benefit.

    Someone suggested the US might follow a Gulf Arab model and let citizens live off the wealth generated by unrestricted non-citizen immigrant labor. I can see how such a system might work, though only if it were made much harder to become naturalized than it is now, and only if birthright citizenship were abolished. There would need to be sizable wealth redistribution so that our poorer citizens would not suffer in the competition. But while this might work out materially, I think it would be bad for the moral character of the nation to have so many citizens living off benefits rather than work.

    • Agree: Wizard of Oz
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  23. Realist says:

    Tariffs mean higher prices. They may also provide for more American jobs, but not necessarily.
    Higher wages mean higher prices

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  24. Bliss says:

    Trump to Ford: Bring that factory back to Michigan!

    This has got to be bad news to the WNs who actually rejoice over pictures of the ruins of Detroit. Good to see that Trump is a different breed than those traitors.

    He has called Vladimir Putin a Russian patriot and nationalist with whom he can talk.

    More proof that Trump thinks for himself, unlike 99% of current politicians. One can easily see Trump and Putin having a great working relationship. Worth noting here that Trump’s first wife is a slav from a a former Soviet Bloc nation, Czechoslovakia. His current wife is also a slav from the former communist nation of Yugoslavia.

    He has not joined the Republican herd that says it will cancel the Iran nuclear deal the day they take office, re-impose U.S. sanctions and renegotiate the deal.

    No wonder the Republican Establishment is terrified of him.

  25. Leftist conservative [AKA "radical_centrist"] says: • Website

    there are two crucial aspects of trump’s appeal that have not been closely examined by the mainstream or dissident media:
    1. Trump is not interested in cutting the welfare state for people who deserve it (e.g., Social Security); and he is not unfriendly towards a form of national healthcare that works better than obamacare. White people in general hold these same views. For some reason however the so-called dissident right is not in agreement.
    2) Trump gets a lot of his support because he talks back to the media. The media when analyzing his appeal prefers to restrict its observations to how his supporters like how he defies the GOP establishment. But they avoid discussing how his media antagonism gets him a lot of support. This media stance is telling–it tells us a lot about how vulnerable the mainstream media is.

    • Replies: @Realist
  26. MarkinLA says:

    There is no such thing as a even two-way trade relationship. Someone becomes dependent on the other and the one in the dependent position feels that they are subservient while the one in the superior position feels they can use it as a weapon. Japan attacked us because we cut off their oil and scrap iron when their military became dependent on it.

    Libertarians like to argue a lot of things that have nothing to do with reality.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  27. MarkinLA says:

    The money that Americans can save as consumers can be reinvested in whatever industries Americans have a comparative advantage in.

    This is pie in the sky thinking. The US was the world leader in television at one time. The US built the vast majority of PCs and there were semiconductor foundries in the US that are almost all closed now. Kodak was once world leader in imaging technology including focal plane arrays.

    Just what is this comparative advantage?

    • Replies: @jtgw
  28. MarkinLA says:

    Less people qualifying for welfare.

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @Realist
  29. @random observer

    A constructive extension of the thoughts about China now being comparable to 19th century America if I may say so.

    Off the top of my head I think the comparison with late 19th century Germany centres on the belligerent nationalism under an authoritarian government. I suspect that the Chinese may be somewhat more heterogeneous (diverse) as well as more waywardly individualistic compared to pre-1945 Germans. Certainly their individualism is marked when compared with the Japanese.

  30. jtgw says:

    Refusing to sell stuff to the Japanese is kind of the opposite of free trade, isn’t it?

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  31. jtgw says:

    Basically, it’s the idea that a country shouldn’t try to become self-sufficient in oil production when it has no oil. A country is better off producing what it’s best at producing and buying other stuff from other countries where that stuff is produced more cheaply.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  32. jtgw says:

    But then they have to spend more of their paycheck on goods because stuff is more expensive. Still the government needs revenue and citizens have to pay for it somehow. Abolishing the corporate tax would also attract more production to this country, and lowering or abolishing tax on labor would help raise wages. A universal consumption tax (the Fair Tax) would be able to generate the same revenue, and exporters would be at an advantage.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  33. Realist says:

    “Less people qualifying for welfare’

    That just hides the problem. The public still pays for higher wages with higher prices. Government funded welfare should be eliminated.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  34. MarkinLA says:

    Free trade – another pie in the sky unicorn. Why didn’t we sell stuff to Nazi Germany in 1944 if we truly believed in free trade?

    • Replies: @jtgw
    , @Ozymandias
  35. MarkinLA says:

    What someone “earns” is really all an illusion anyway. Isn’t it better to have everybody off welfare and believing he is a self-sufficient contributor to society? Doesn’t it make for a better family life if the kids can be proud of their providing father?

    This is just another area where economics is a joke – they have no appreciation for the things that make a functioning society.

    • Replies: @Realist
  36. MarkinLA says:

    If I wanted to learn what morons like economists believe I would have wikipeadiad the idiocy myself. I know all about the nonsense behind it. Portugal should make wine and Britain should make manufactured goods and they should trade.

    So some Brit is arguing back when manufacturing was a very tiny part of the economy that Britain should retain all the industrial might in the world and Portugal should always remain an agricultural backwater. Good for Britain when they need to push Portugal around.

    What I wanted to know from you was were was this mythic comparative advantage when the Japanese government backstopped all the losses Japan was incurring while they were destroying the US TV industry, and almost killed the US motorcycle and semiconductor industry? Now supposedly China has this mythic comparative advantage. Well what is ours since China routinely steals our technology and builds its own industries to first compete with us in low valued markets and then finally in high valued markets like the US and Europe? What do we do that the rest of the world should just gladly let us have all to ourselves and then trade with us?

    If you are the only person stupid enough to believe in economic theories, you will be the one in last place. Nobody in Japan or China believes in those silly theories.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  37. MarkinLA says:

    Abolishing the corporate tax would also attract more production to this country, and lowering or abolishing tax on labor would help raise wages.

    Are you really that ignorant of what corporations actually pay in taxes. Their effective tax rate is lower than yours. There are years that corporations like GE pay less than 2% of their income to taxes. GE spends 100 million dollars a year paying people to maneuver around the tax loopholes (that they pay Congress to put in) to avoid taxes. As for wages, no amount of lowering taxes on labor would offset one dollar an hour and no benefits wages. That is why they move from one third world country to another playing one off against the other to get the lowest wages possible (and of course bribing the government officials).

    • Replies: @jtgw
  38. jtgw says:

    I don’t understand what you’re trying to argue now. Are you trying to say that the US has not always practiced free trade? Well I never said they did. Or are you trying to say that free trade is bad because it leads to war? Well your example of cutting off trade with Japan kind of proves the opposite: it is likely that war with Japan would have been avoided if we had continued to trade with them.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  39. Realist says:

    I don’t disagree with your goal of employment. Which prompted my comment: End government funded welfare.

    “This is just another area where economics is a joke –”

    With this I totally agree. Economics is known as the dismal ‘science’. There is nothing scientific about it.
    Economics is like reading tea leaves….just not near as accurate.

  40. jtgw says:

    And companies would feel the need to evade taxes and offshore jobs if they didn’t have to face the kind of exorbitant corporate taxes that our government currently imposes. Get a clue.

  41. jtgw says:

    If you already know what comparative advantage means, why did you ask? And your rant suggests you still don’t understand what it means. Read the article I sent you again.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  42. @MarkinLA

    “Why didn’t we sell stuff to Nazi Germany in 1944 if we truly believed in free trade?”

    In August of 1939, British capitalists were shipping war materials to Germany just as fast as they could manage it.

  43. MarkinLA says:

    economic law

    This is the first clue it is meaningless pile of crap. Economics is not a science therefore there are no laws relating to it and the rest of that article was basically the drivel about Britain and Portugal I cited only more verbose. Try googling Ricardo the moron who first pulled this idea out of his ass and look at when he was living – at a time before the industrial revolution.

    Ricardo attempted to prove, using a simple numerical example, that international trade is always beneficial.[14] Paul Samuelson called the numbers used in Ricardo’s numerical example dealing with trade between England and Portugal the “four magic numbers”.[15] “In spite of the fact that the Portuguese could produce both cloth and wine with less amount of labor, Ricardo suggested that theoretically both countries benefit from trade with each other.”

    Notice this other phrase “attempted to prove”. These idiots actually think that can mathematically prove the correctness of their theories even though every day experience shows these people to be the morons they are.

    Most people with a real background in science know what a worthless parlor game academic economics really is.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  44. jtgw says:

    So what you’re saying is that it’s impossible to know the laws of economics? Why then should I believe your theories about free trade and not those of professional economists?

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  45. MarkinLA says:

    If you had enough background in science you would know that economics is not one. Therefore, any “laws” are just meaningless drivel.

  46. MarkinLA says:

    I am saying there is no such thing as free trade and that trade is not some cure-all that economists pretend it is. You obviously didn’t see that Japan and China (The US for that matter) have built their economies on anything but free trade. In fact, it was the free traders (first Britain and then the US) standing around waiting for everybody to join them who got overtaken.

    There was NO comparative advantage for the Japanese when they decided they needed to be in consumer electronics. The US was the world leader in TV technology and we even invented the transistor. The Japan’s MITI set a national goal that Japan would be in those industries and backstopped all the losses until their goal was achieved. There were no subsidies for Zenith and other American companies who were run out of business by Japanese dumping. The same for motorcycles, cars, and semiconductors. Why didn’t they simply make sake and let the Germans have the camera business, the Americans the TV business, and the British the motorcycle business – after all an economic law has proven that to be the ideal solution and you know that a law of economics can never be violated – LOL.

    Once you start to view the world through the lens of reality you begin to realize that these theories are worthless.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  47. jtgw says:

    So what you mean is there ARE discoverable laws of economics, they are just not the ones that most economists agree on? Because you seem to be pretty confident about the patterns you can find in economic history, which surely wouldn’t be possible if economics were not a science.

    And how have all the vast industrial subsidies and the protectionism worked out for the Japanese? Last I heard their economy was pretty stagnant.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  48. iSteveFan says:

    And how have all the vast industrial subsidies and the protectionism worked out for the Japanese? Last I heard their economy was pretty stagnant.

    Japan was completely devastated in 1945. By 1985 they were dominating in several industries from cars, to shipbuilding to consumer electronics. Their nation achieved great wealth. I’d say those policies worked out damn well for them.

    Now I don’t know how stagnant their economy is today. I know they don’t have the growth rates they once did, but they do seem to have a highly advanced infrastructure that was obtained through the processes that MarkinLA described. Their nation doesn’t appear to have the same income inequality that plaques the US and they appear to be in control of their future.

    The US on the other hand seems to have crumbling infrastructure, an increasing divide between the rich and the rest, and is destined to have a nation completely unrecognizable to its Founders. Free trade to me doesn’t seem to have worked out well since my interest is in actually preserving what made America great.

    Addressing the point about comparative advantage that you and MarkinLA were discussing, I don’t see how the Japanese, or Koreans for that matter, would ever have a comparative advantage in building cars. The US with its suburban lifestyles, huge open spaces and distances between major cities, seems like it would be the perfect nation to develop and build cars. Additionally the climate diversity of the US would seem to give us the edge in designing cars for everything from the desert to the arctic environments. Japan and Korea seemed cramped by contrast and don’t seem to have the domestic market conditions to develop a car industry. Yet somehow, someway they seem to have a comparative advantage over us. I think they have an advantage, but I think their advantage is anything but natural and is a product of a highly manipulative government.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  49. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    I’ve mentioned it on Sailer’s blog before, but the “balanced trade” idea espoused by the Richmans makes so much sense it’s a shame no one seems to have heard of them. Their idea, which they say is even allowed by current international trade law, is to have a “scaled tariff”, which is a tariff on countries that have persistent trade surpluses with us that goes away as the trade surplus goes away.

    So, for example, we slap tariffs on German, Japanese, and Chinese goods, and as they start importing more goods from us (or move more factories here), the tariffs go away. The idea is that trade is mutually beneficial when it’s balanced, not when one country hollows out the industrial base of another.

  50. Bliss says:

    “I know a lot of bad people in this country that are making a hell of a lot of money and not paying taxes,” Trump said in an interview with Time, in apparent reference to hedge fund and private equity fund managers. “The tax law is totally screwed up.”

    “They’re paying nothing and it’s ridiculous,” he added on CBS a few days later. “The hedge fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.” He went on: “They’re energetic, they’re very smart. But a lot of them, it’s like they’re paper pushers. They make a fortune, they pay no tax…The hedge funds guys are getting away with murder.”

    Good on Trump for raising this issue. He can do it because he doesn’t have hedge fund billionaires financing his campaign. Him and Bernie Sanders are the only candidates (afaik) for President who are on the right side on this issue. Especially Sanders:

  51. MarkinLA says:

    No there are no laws of economics because economics is not a science. The laws of physics are real and cannot change with the times. In economics there are only relationships that may hold some time and may not at other times and we can never know when they don’t. Even the so called law of supply and demand fails in the form of charity and you can never determine what the new price will be given the increased demand only that the price is likely to rise. Economists ramble on about a “demand curve” in order to pretend they are dealing with a real science but their picture has no numbers so it is basically worthless in any real analytical sense. They are dealing with non-numerical graphs until after the event when they can finally tell us with the 100% certainty we can expect of them. This is called qualitative – there is a relationship (maybe) but is it not quantitative where we can actually make dollars and cents projections. If your science is qualitative it isn’t very useful.

    Free trade is another one of their shibboleths – nobody outside the world of economics has any use for it and leaders of most countries recognize it’s worthlessness. How did the Japanese violate a law of economics so easily? How because it isn’t one. It was just some moron theorizing that had nothing to do with the real world and all the complex issues a country needs to confront not just the simple one of how do we get more and cheaper wine.

    Do you believe the drivel coming out of sociologists? If you don’t, then why do you think that people using the same techniques bringing their own biases to what they do would be any better at determining human behavior than sociologists? Human behavior is not rational, the times and technology are always changing. Different cultures value different behavior. 80 years ago Americans would hang their head in shame if somebody they knew saw them going into the welfare office. Now they would brag to them how much they are taking the system for. A Japanese apologized to the people pulling her out of the rubble after Fukushima for wasting their time on her when there were others more in need? How does that compare to Americans? Do you really think that with all these conflicting human behaviors as your data set that you can ever divine universal human behavioral traits such that you can actually make predictions that benefit society as a whole. Well I think what happened after 2008 has proven that not to be the case?

    And how have all the vast industrial subsidies and the protectionism worked out for the Japanese? Last I heard their economy was pretty stagnant.

    You really are ignorant about what is going on when you say this. There have been plenty of articles on UNZ about how the Japanese are doing a lot better than the press would have you believe. As for how they made out with their subsidized industries. I am sure you have heard of Toyota, Honda, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Kubota, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries just to name a very few.

    But the real question is what has free trade done for the US as I really don’t care about China and Japan. Free trade was all about outsourcing jobs to the third world by corporate execs who wanted bigger bonuses. They found a class of useful idiots and their stupidity they could make use of and free trade became pushed by their mouthpieces in the business press. Economists are like the astrologers, bishops, and entrail readers of the old royal courts. They provide the public with the necessary proof that what the king wants is foretold in the stars or ordained by god. Today, what the billionaires want has been “scientifically proven”.

    • Replies: @jtgw
  52. I am an uneducated pleb, but I thought that Britain was protectionist until The City and the Royal Navy could control world trade. Then there was more money to be made (by powerful financiers) with free trade even though this lead to British industrial decline from a position of dominance, until it was obvious Germany was a threat and so Britain ganged up with the French and Russians to stop them. That was obviously a mistake – in my view. But here we are.

    The USA seems to have done the same thing.

    How the World Works

    Americans persist in thinking that Adam Smith’s rules for free trade are the only legitimate ones. But today’s fastest-growing economies are using a very different set of rules. Once, we knew them—knew them so well that we played by them, and won. Now we seem to have forgotten

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  53. jtgw says:

    You’ve identified how the US would be a terrific market for cars, but you haven’t explained how the US is better equipped to manufacture them. It’s quite possible that Japan and Korea have much better conditions for manufacturing cars and selling them to Americans than Americans have for manufacturing their own vehicles.

    • Replies: @iSteveFan
  54. jtgw says:

    You insist that protectionism works, and yet you claim there are no laws to economics. Well, if economics is totally unpredictable, how can you be so confident that protectionism works? Maybe it’s pure historical accident with respect to whether protectionism works or not in any given time or place. You can’t say economics is not a science and then in the same breath insist that there are laws of economics we should respect, albeit not the same laws that mainstream economists believe in.

    I think what you’re TRYING to say is that mainstream economics is mistaken about some fundamental laws of economics, which is like a climate science dissident saying mainstream science is mistaken about global warming. You acknowledge that economics is a science, in that there are laws we can discover about how the economy works; you just disagree with your peers about what those laws are.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  55. iSteveFan says:

    You’ve identified how the US would be a terrific market for cars, but you haven’t explained how the US is better equipped to manufacture them. It’s quite possible that Japan and Korea have much better conditions for manufacturing cars and selling them to Americans than Americans have for manufacturing their own vehicles.

    And how did the Japanese and Koreans get those better conditions for manufacturing cars? Might it have been through the deliberate intervention of their respective governments? Might it have been through nursing those industries behind a protective trade wall and then subsidizing their exports to foreign markets? Didn’t the Japanese and Koreans benefit mightily from protectionist measures?

    • Replies: @jtgw
  56. MarkinLA says:
    @Working Class Englishman

    I am an uneducated pleb

    If only economists with a PhD were 1/10 as smart.

  57. MarkinLA says:

    These are not laws they are observances at the same level of:

    If I walk up to you and punch you in the nose, a number of things may happen. Some have a higher probability than others and we don’t know ahead of time what you will do:

    1. You won’t like it – probably close to 100%.
    2. You will try and punch me in the nose back.
    3. You may actually like it.
    4. You might run away thinking I am going to continue or I am a nut.
    5. You might try and kick my ass.
    6. You might grab a weapon.

    Where is the science in this?

    • Replies: @jtgw
  58. jtgw says:

    OK so we have a correlation between their post-war growth and protectionism, but also between their growth and their capitalist policies. Which is actually responsible for the growth, or did they not perhaps grow so fast despite their protectionism, rather than because of it? Especially if you’re starting from a low base, either because of wartime devastation or Maoism, basically any kind of free market structure will untap that economic potential, and protectionism won’t have much of a dampening effect, relatively speaking.

    Consider how, even after Deng began to liberalize the Chinese economy, many socialist strictures remained in place for years, e.g. private property was still technically illegal up until Jiang Zemin’s tenure. That didn’t really matter in the big picture because at least people were now allowed to make some money and some profits for themselves rather than hand over all their wealth to the state. But I think it would be tough to argue that the remaining socialism helped the growth along in any way.

  59. jtgw says:

    That’s what science is. Making and testing predictions based on observations.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  60. MarkinLA says:

    A sports book tout and stock picker make predictions and with more accuracy. Are they scientists?

    Economics like all social science is not falsifiable. If I say cutting interest rates will make the economy boom and it doesn’t happen, I don’t have to concede I was wrong. I simply say that we didn’t cut them enough. Eventually, the economy will boom. However, you cannot prove it was due to the cutting of the interest rates or something else.

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