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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

The High Price of Cheap Chinese Masks
Steve Sailer

May 20, 2020

Conservative nationalists in the U.S. are knuckleheadedly booting away their most persuasive case yet for rebuilding America’s industrial base: the shameful tale of how the Chinese were allowed to hoard almost all the facemasks.

As many on the right have already forgotten, in one of the more bizarre “We have always been at war with Eastasia” moments, just two months ago the national media were promoting the health establishment’s crusade against civilians wearing facemasks. But that hilarious history is rapidly being memoryholed, ironically aided by rightists worried that wearing masks as they go about their business would make them look beta. …

Human well-being depends upon negotiating borders. There are inevitable trade-offs between the advantages of openness and enclosure. You have to draw lines somewhere, and it’s important to get them more or less right. Facemasks are one kind of protective boundary, and ordering the public to leave their jobs and huddle in their homes because your globalist ideology meant America wouldn’t have enough masks is another kind of boundary enforcement. Which one is less ruinously expensive?

Read the whole thing there.

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  1. Rob McX says:

    Encouraging globalism among your competitors is an effective form of nationalism.

    • Replies: @Paul Jolliffe
    , @Anonymous
  2. Has anyone else noticed a recurring pattern here? A similar pattern is also visible in the NYC toll, among others. At some point I’d think this would become what people nowadays call a ‘thing’…

    I’ve heard of “Death Takes a Holiday” but this is ridiculous.
    Wish the stock market were this predictable.

  3. If the Elctrode of Truth was applied, a lot of pro-globabism types would admit they find factories “icky”. They don’t care where stuff is made, as long as it’s not around them.

    • Agree: Coemgen, Neoconned
    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    , @Neoconned
  4. God I love this story

    Non-eviction order leads to squatting in style in the Hamptons

    Some unscrupulous tenants in the tony Hamptons are using the state’s non-eviction order to squat in style, local landlords and real-estate brokers claim.

    The short-term renters moved into their beach-town pads on Long Island before the coronavirus struck and Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted a moratorium on evictions till at least Aug. 20 to protect those financially struggling amid the pandemic.

    The tenants are now allegedly twisting the non-eviction order to their benefit, refusing to vacate their prime summer pads even though their leases are up — and exasperated local landlords say there is nothing they can do about it.

    “We’re not talking about poor people,” a frustrated homeowner said of his tenant…

    In the words of the immortal Dennis More, “Blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.”

  5. Ack, typo! The immortal Dennis Moore! And his horse Concorde!

    Apologies gents, ladies. As you were.

    • Replies: @Aardvark
  6. @Redneck farmer

    It might be more accurate to say that they find people who work in factories “icky”, though they’ll never admit it, and profess that they are the champions of “workingpersons.”

    • Agree: Redneck farmer
    • Replies: @stillCARealist
  7. George says:

    Ok protect USA made N95 masks, but where do you draw the line? There are trillions of products at this point.

  8. guest007 says:
    @Mr McKenna

    This has to do with the reporting. The people who report deaths to the government (think of the paper work to do the paperwork for a death certificate) do not work on the weekends in many places. It can be seen in Tuesdays number seems to always be higher than Mondays.

    I also suspect that some health departments are using their emergency plan and operating 24/7 while others are not.

  9. guest007 says:

    I have been surprised that the Republicans/conservatives/right leaning groups have not focused on minority set aside contractors for the government. Why has no one looked at CDC’s contracting/procurement procedures for the Covid-19 testing. What has no one look at minority set asides for government sponsored research. How many local health departments are full of minorities who could not get into medical schools/graduate schools and took the easy jobs.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    , @Wilkey
  10. It’s reminiscent of how Janet Napolitano was rewarded with becoming Secretary of the Interior and head of the University of California for saying, “Show me a 50-foot [border] wall, and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder.” (If you are trying to picture exactly how an illegal alien would manipulate a 51-foot ladder, well, note that Ms. Napolitano majored in political science, not mechanical engineering.)

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  11. @guest007

    My father died at age 95 on a late Saturday afternoon in 2012. I doubt if this statistic was officially registered until the following Monday or Tuesday, possibly later.

    • Replies:
  12. Unit472 says:

    When Xi Jiping gave the world his New Years present I dimly remembered I had bought some masks years earlier when Hu Jintao unleashed an earlier pandemic.

    I looked around and found an unopened box of 50 3M masks made in St. Paul Minnesota that cost $21.98. Best investment I made in the last 10 years!

  13. Anonymous[382] • Disclaimer says:

    More and more I have come to the inclusion that ‘Globalization’ is really just a weasel word for ‘anti democracy’.

    As that profoundly wise man Enoch Powell said in a typically profoundly wise aphorism “There can be no European democracy since there is no European demos”. He was getting at the fraud and farce of the Potemkin ‘European Parliament’ and the unelected dictators of the ‘European Commission’.
    The real point is that the meaning of ‘Democracy’ is ‘rule by the people’ – which further implies *a* people, that is a community that strictly self identifies and self delineates. Further, this implies that this community is a ‘sovereign’ in that absolute power, in so far as it manifests in this delineation is, ultimately, in the hands of the people of this delineation.

    If we probe a bit further, we can see why forces hostile to certain self identifying communities are very anxious – for reasons of their own (Economist) – are eager to dissolve away, by stealth, the essence of democracy, that is delineation and the sovereignty of that delineation.

    • Agree: Rob McX, YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Coemgen
    , @Philip Owen
  14. How come South Korea, Japan, and Germany have enough masks? Are you sure it’s only China who hoarded? Alternatively, do you know any other place or time where a Bezos would offer hundreds of thousands of workplaces, only to be countered by a government gib double the salary? Stop deflecting, it’s the bread and circus you always wanted.

    Also, how come old people head counts are never halved by covid in Albania or Morocco, but routinely so in the oh-so-clean United States? Have the Albanians hoard all the soap? Have they hoarded all the good manners, like not spitting everywhere when sneezing?

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  15. they find factories “icky”

    It’s a reasonable perspective considering all the pollution produced of (low-wage) high-energy-use factories. Ambient air pollution is estimated to cause 4 million deaths/year worldwide. I think if I were living in some Chinese metropolis, acquainted with facemasks before any concern of a new virus, I’d have a bigger gripe against the role my government has taken up in globalism. The US, by contrast, needs only make some adjustment in regard to production of essential goods.

    It’s said that the US trade relationship with China has enabled their military build-up, but actually, as an expression of their extraordinarily robust societal productivity relative to consumption, China has managed to build up their military on top of running high trade surpluses. To the contrary, their mercantalist policy of fixing their currency to the dollar by recirculating the dollars back into the US for treasuries has facilitated US government largess, including obscene military spending.

  16. Clyde says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Great story! I am going to the NY Post to read the rest. What a greedy, unscrupulous mess NYC and NY State are. They should never get a Federale bailout. But if a new Dem President gets elected in November, the sky is the limit!

    So many of these large Dem run states want/need bailouts. They have been mismanaged for years, especially on insane pensions for Gov’t workers. Californicated and Illinois+Chicago are also fine examples.

    Just read it all at the NY Post. This is better than I thought!

  17. @Steve Sailer

    US and Europan mask denial was obviously dishonest, as @Steve describes. Western citizens are totally forgiving and tolerant vs. official media and government lies.
    Usually, a good intention is given as reason for socially acceptable and virtuous lies.
    We propose radical intolerance towards convicted liars. One lie and you are out. Three lies, you cannot believed for life. In natural sciences, repeated fraud leads to total shunning.
    ‘Fool me twice, shame on me”
    “The liar will not be believed even when he speaks the truth”

    The media, and institutions that lied about masks should be exposed constantly, repeatedly and informed that they are liars and cannot be trusted again ever.
    ======= citing from the full article =====

    Masks don’t work.

    —You can’t have masks because doctors must have them.

    —What? Well…okay, I guess masks work for doctors… But that’s because they studied Maskology for years at med school.

    —You are too stupid to wear a mask properly.

    —You get this respiratory infection not through breathing but through touching things, so wash your hands 100 times per day.

    —This disease is not spread through the air. Do you even know what the word “respiratory” means?

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  18. countenance says: • Website

    I made the prediction pretty early on that, while the globalist project as a whole wouldn’t be a casualty of Covid-19, mainly because of the shamelessness of the narrativemongers and the will to power of their bosses, that there would be a resurgence of Beijing-spiting economic nationalism.

  19. anonymous[898] • Disclaimer says:

    But surely the death itself is listed as occurring on the day it actually occurred! The statistics should reflect this.

    There should only be a temporary decrease shown for statistics published on the weekends and Mondays. Weekly periodicity should disappear.

    If graphs like the one Mr McKenna posted are showing the number of deaths reported on a given day regardless of the day it actually occurred, then that should be made clear.

  20. Steve, I see you are slowly coming around to the (Ron Unz designated) “hoaxers” point of view. You have been much more civil in your posts, comments, and acceptance of differing views that the other guy just mentioned.

    Isn’t it pretty damn obvious by now much of what the “hoaxers” have been noting and pointing out since this LOCKDOWN stuff started. I’m sorry, man, but didn’t you read some of your more illustrious commenters here … plus me? Do you believe those entrenched, special-interest lyin’-sacks-o-shit in the US Feral Gov’t over your own commenters?

    Listen, you came up with that great bit of noticing on the telephoto shots that have been DELIBERATELY distorting (haha) the story of how crowded beaches, parks, etc. are. Many of us may have had a subconscious inkling about this, but you did a great service to those not in the know about photography by explicitly pointing this out, and mercilessly beating the point home.

    OK, and you have been using 1/2 of your writing to lambast the fake narratives of the media, out of intention to deceive and out of stupidity, sometimes both, over the years. We appreciate your bringing to light all of these falsehoods from the NY Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, etc, as most of us don’t read these, but you can show us what the enemy is up to.

    After all that, just what made you have this blind trust in both media and government just this one time, during this phony crisis? I don’t get it. Did you think they suddenly got their shit together because “we are all gonna die” or something?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  21. Gordo says:

    Conservative nationalists

    What are they Steve? A bit like Judeo-Christians?

  22. @George

    “where do you draw the line? There are trillions of products at this point”

    You start with masks, gowns, gloves, ventilators (these last haven’t been as useful as thought, but may be next time. Oxygen sets and breather masks too, which seem to have been more useful.

    Pulse oximeters – China is making these in vast quantities, I’m not sure we make any. But then lots of things like X-ray machines are GE-branded but Chinese-made.

    Then pharmaceuticals. Huge numbers of our drugs are now made in India, famous for its high production standards, but nearly all the precursor chemicals come from China.

    One day, maybe ten or fifteen years hence, China’s going to do something that America will want to say ‘No’ to. But what sort of a position will America be in to say ‘No’, when China can cut off its supplies of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and almost everything else?

    See also this

    The bulk of his argument concentrates on the shortcomings of US manufacturing: “How can the US today want to wage war against the biggest manufacturing power in the world while its own industry is hollowed out?”

    An example, referring to Covid-19, is the capacity to produce ventilators: “Out of over 1,400 pieces necessary for a ventilator, over 1,100 must be produced in China, including final assembly. That’s the US problem today. They have state of the art technology, but not the methods and production capacity. So they have to rely on Chinese production.”

    General Qiao dismisses the possibility that Vietnam, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India and other Asian nations may replace China’s cheap workforce: “Think about which of these countries has more skilled workers than China. What quantity of medium and high level human resources was produced in China in these past 30 years? Which country is educating over 100 million students at secondary and university levels? The energy of all these people is still far from being liberated for China’s economic development.”

  23. moshe says:

    Here’s how masks work:

    In my current region if you are caught in public transportation not wearing a mask you get fined hundreds of dollars. And if a store (or restaurant!) serves anyone without a mask they get fined as well.

    So yesterday in the interest of remaining fed and being able to get places I caved and stepped into a pharmacy to purchase a mask.

    And it couldn’t have been easier!

    The pharmacy lady asked how many masks I wanted and at ¢70 a piece I opted for 3.

    She then pulled out of the open box on the counter 3 masks, one at a time, placing them on the counter.

    I swear to God.

    And these 3 masks that had been coughed and spoken OVER by her and hundreds of sick customers, and now manhandled by her, one at a time, were supposed to be the fabric I was to snort everu breath through.

    THAT’S why these dumb panic-driven do-something religiousisms are practically certain to cost more than their worth and why it is immoral to force people to follow through on them.

    In a perfect world maybe every humanbot would receive and wear and act perfectly woth their surgical masks. Everybody wouldn’t be angry all the time because they can’t breathe and can’t see peoples facial expressions, etc,, and eveybody would wear a pristine mask at all times and whatever other candyland fantasy Safespacers think will save the world.

    In the real world I promise you more people will gey sick as a result of masks than will be saved as a resultll of them.


    Or, better yet, stop causing all kinds of illnesses and sick behaviors by just cutting all talk about this entirely beyond, “if you feel sick, stay home”.

  24. @PiltdownMan

    You could put the fulcrum closer to the load and use the leverage to shoot the illegal over the wall. BTW, what is the illegal supposed to do once atop the wall? Pull the ladder up and use it to climb down? What about his poor compadres on the Mexican side? So someone should tell Big Sis that she needs to show us at least two 51 foot ladders. Show me illegals with two 51 foot ladders, and I’ll show you a watch tower with snipers ordered to shoot to kill.

  25. In a crisis, however, the reassuring nostrums of globalization can suddenly evaporate.

    But will they? It’s the question of the hour—and week and year and perhaps decade—before which all other questions pale in comparison: will the present crisis, whatever its origins, collapse or accelerate globalism?

    Could go either way.

    Logic and justice say globalism is discredited.

    But the polling and bettors are still plumping for it.

    The last time globalism fled the field in ignominy, it took the Great War.

    The time before that, it took the Great Plague.

    The time before that, it took the collapse of the Great Empire.

    I guess it’s gonna hafta get worse before it gets better.

    A lot worse.

    • Replies: @donut
  26. A few members of the Establishment back then were, I hope, lying.

    What, you’d rather they were liars, and not just criminally incompetent? I think it’s a mix of both. Trump has been trying to follow the propaganda science being spoon fed to him while the technocrats figure out what else they can get away with, but for the most part he goes along with everything they want, like a reed in the wind.

    The Ultimate Science Manual:

  27. Aardvark says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Wasn’t part of his song “steals from the poor and gives to the rich, stupid bitch”?
    That describes the COVID scam more or less.

  28. @Rob McX

    Rob McX said:

    “Encouraging globalism among your competitors is an effective form of nationalism.”

    Exactly right.

    The Chinese don’t want to import anything – they want to be the factory floor to the world.
    This means that all of the globaloney idiots in the MSM who dream of opening up a vast Chinese market to American manufacturers are fools.

    That “vast Chinese market for western manufacturers” is a chimera, a pipe dream, a delusion born of wishful thinking and an ignorance of history.

    Only those who know nothing of the intense ethnocentrism – 4,000 years old! – which is at the core of the collective Chinese soul could fantasize that they might somehow get rich by selling stuff to the Chinese in the long run.

    There is no long-term Chinese market for anything made outside of China.

  29. @Mr McKenna

    Mr. McK, Gov, Cuomo will step in and say…”Yes, they can stay. No, they can’t use the beaches.” problem solved. And the landlords are probably cashing rent checks.

  30. Thoughts says:

    What about the Indians saying they wouldn’t give us any Hydroxychloroquine?

    That was also a pretty big argument against Offshoring.

    • Replies: @82-IQ H1B Indian
    , @Rob McX
  31. @guest007

    Friends of mine closer to data collection explained exactly the same thing to me when I noticed odd Tuesday behavior out loud.

  32. EdwardM says:

    Janet Napolitano was Secretary of Homeland Security. In almost every other country, the analogous position would be Minister of Interior, but in the U.S. it’s a far more powerful position than Secretary of the Interior.

  33. As many on the right have already forgotten, in one of the more bizarre “We have always been at war with Eastasia” moments, just two months ago the national media were promoting the health establishment’s crusade against civilians wearing facemasks. But that hilarious history is rapidly being memoryholed, ironically aided by rightists worried that wearing masks as they go about their business would make them look beta. …

    These “I’m too manly for a mask” guys are tools.

    Sure you can pitch wearing a mask as “feminine” or “whimpy” because it is inherently defensive. So is wearing a helmet, so is locking your front door, so is … building the Wall.

    To me a mask means “don’t want to breathe that shit”.

    I bought a 3M respirator (7502, with 6001 organic filters–great product) several years back cause those crappy N95s don’t really do much with organic vapors from deck stain. I’m working all day staining deck, railings–not smelling, ergo breathing, shit. I wear it here in Florida for cementing irrigation PVC. Don’t want to breathe that shit. (And AnotherMom doesn’t run from whimpy mask boy, she loves me even more energetically for getting stuff done–and being smart enough to preserve my brain cells.)

    I’ve been wearing a disposable mask on the plane the last few years whenever anything’s “off”. Someone’s coughing a row back–don’t want to breathe your shit.

    China virus–don’t want to breathe that shit.

    Same with “the Wall”. I’m not “xenophobic” as in “fear” of foreigners. Just don’t want them invading and messing up my nation. Defense.

    Some guys apparently can’t figure out what masculinity is about. It’s not just masculine aggression vs. feminine submission. It’s also that women are more emotion driven and nurturing, while men are more logical and better at figuring stuff out.

    Masks are the logical way to crush a respiratory epidemic without all the “beaches are packed”, “they’re out there golfing!!!”, “stay inside and hide” feminine hysterics.

    • Disagree: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Thanks: Abe
    • Replies: @botazefa
    , @Abe
    , @Old Prude
  34. Paul says:

    “. . . Chinese in naive Western countries scoured stores and wholesalers, buying up masks to ship home.”

    Asians sometimes refer to the Chinese as the Jews of Asia.

    • Replies: @Abe
  35. botazefa says:

    Below a physician discusses dangers of masks. Mostly it is about hypoxia/hypercapnia from the N95’s

    As for the scientific support for the use of face mask, a recent careful examination of the literature, in which 17 of the best studies were analyzed, concluded that, “ None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.”1 Keep in mind, no studies have been done to demonstrate that either a cloth mask or the N95 mask has any effect on transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Any recommendations, therefore, have to be based on studies of influenza virus transmission. And, as you have seen, there is no conclusive evidence of their efficiency in controlling flu virus transmission.

    • Replies: @guest007
  36. @Mr McKenna

    Body count is updated on Mondays. Friday body counts are lower because many gubmint employees work ten hours a day four days a week.

    And/or it is fake.

  37. botazefa says:

    To me a mask means “don’t want to breathe that shit”.

    To me, wearing the mask says, “I think I’m being very smart, but in reality I don’t understand anything about the transmission of respiratory viruses.”

    Wash your hands. A lot.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  38. anonymous[521] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s easy to mobilize production of lots of cotton masks (not the n95 masks with special filter media).

    The real problem is an incompetent federal bureaucracy that recommended against wearing masks and dysfunctional Trump administration that didn’t organize the effort to ramp up production. It has been 4 months since the lockdown of Wuhan. How much time is required to increase production to 10 million per day?

  39. ironically aided by rightists worried that wearing masks as they go about their business would make them look beta.

    It’s cute, I don’t begrudge you your snark (you’ve taken far worse in the comments).

    For me, it’s less about looking beta than about, basically, a free speech issue. My being able to represent myself and my own views.

    It says I am not afraid and will not live in fear, I am moving forward to normal. That I think the risk is acceptable and a part of normal. That there is normal at the end of the tunnel.

    It also tells/shows other people that they can too, which is what I want for them to do. I am basically leading by example in my advice for others.

    People who disagree with my advice obviously will not like this. But I don’t like what they advise either. I am not trying to force my advice on them.

    Everybody else is doing what I do not want and it sucks and I hate it. I can’t go to the restaurant because it’s closed, I can’t go to a concert because it’s canceled, I can’t even get into the gas station because I don’t have a mask. Not wearing a mask is almost all I have, in terms of me doing this my way. If someone wants to take that away from me, I feel like they will have to kill me first, because I don’t want to live someone else’s shitty life. If I have to live under the boot heel of conformist safety nazis for the rest of my life with no end in sight, I might rather die of corona or be burned at the stake for evil plague sorcery.

    On the low end, I’ve got supposedly over the last 3 months, only a 3% chance of being infected. Since we can say in retrospect that I was not symptomatic if I did get it, multiple 3% chance of infection by 0.05%-.95% chance of asymptomatic infection. Then multiply that by the chance your grandma’s mask does not work, minus the chance the mask I am not wearing would have worked if I had worn it, then multiply by your transmission model to determine the chance I accidentally killed your grandma while I was in line at the store (times your grandma’s IFR).

    How many 0’s after the decimal point?

    If corona was communism, what would Alexander Solzhenitsyn do? If corona was a greengrocer under communism, would Vaclav Havel tell him to put a mask in his shop window? I have to live in my truth, even if I die by my truth.

    As for how it effects someone else’s grandma, I am not trying to effect anyone and I am not even infected. I stay away from grandmas and warn them I have not been social distancing if they try to kiss me (if they do it anyway, that’s their risk). The odds I infected people to death at Walgreens with the virus I 97% probably didn’t ever have, I can’t live my life if I’m trying to calculate and live around those kinds of odds. If you give them an unwarranted inch they will take unwarranted miles and have me mowing the lawn in a life preserver and water wings, just in case of unquantifiable tiny hypothetical risks to statistical people who freely chose to go to the store and not stay home.

    • Agree: Old Prude
    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  40. Whiskey says: • Website

    Globalism has the money. Where will all the corrupt third world and Eastern Europe politicians stash the stolen loot but the West?

    And they have an army of Western lawyers.

  41. varsicule says:

    I agree that this is probably the answer. But it’s amazingly stupid. I’m sure the death certificate or whatever the piece of paper/electronic record is called has the actual date of death on it. Why can’t they show that data by date of death rather than date filed?

  42. PPE kits saga is an interesting case study. Until 2 month ago, India’s domestic production of PPE kits was negligible (~40,000 kits per year). Why? Because it is cheaper for India to import from China rather than making it at home (sounds familiar?).

    Today in less than 2 months India is producing 450,000 PPE kits PER DAY and right now is second largest producer of PPE kits behind China.

    Before late 90’s India used to produce all the API’s within India. Now around 70% are imported from China because Indian govt didn’t subsidize private pharma companies where as Chinese companies got “soft subsidies” and offered API’s at 30% cheaper price. Now, after Covid-19 Indian companies changed track and started reviving domestic API units. Will take 3-5 years to complete that.

    Why do I mention this? Because India is at least one or probably 2 generations behind US in terms of Industrial prowess. So the inability to produce N-95 masks or PPE kits etc with in US has nothing to do with US Industrial prowess. Even today US Industry can outproduce any competitor. The problem is not on the shop floor.

    Indian political battles are as bitter and divisive as US political battles but at least during this crisis they were kept in abeyance. US elite on the other hand are deeply divided and even a crisis doesn’t seem to force them to temporarily suspend their internal feud. It is neither good for US not good for its friends.

    • Replies: @Coag
  43. Travis says:

    Daily deaths peaked in Sweden on April 15 , with 116 Deaths. Over the last 2 weeks daily deaths have averaged ~ 65 per day in Sweden.

    Sweden daily tracking update, 14 May. Increase of 69 in total mortality (now 3529), with deaths reported today marked in green in the slide from today's press conference of the Swedish health authority. Peak has shifted by one to 15 April (116) from 8 April (115).— Paul Yowell (@pwyowell) May 14, 2020

  44. @PiltdownMan

    Factories are “icky” in that that they cause pollution. They use lots of water that has to go somewhere, which means your local river isn’t so great for fishing or swimming. They use lots of energy that has to be generated by burning something, which means your air isn’t as clean as you’d like. To be sure, there’s ways to mitigate these problems, but they’re expensive, and we’d rather have the products be made cheaply and let the third world deal with the necessary pollution. I said necessary.

    Pollution, and I mean the local type, is the reason we don’t have factories much. Cheap labor will always be with us, immigrants or not. The unions committed suicide and taxes aren’t the problem really either. It’s pollution and regulations surrounding it that are the main problem.

    • Thanks: PiltdownMan
  45. donut says:
    @Almost Missouri

    When has it ever gotten better ?

  46. @George

    Ok protect USA made N95 masks, but where do you draw the line? There are trillions of products at this point.

    Long-term, proceed from the supposition that China, as a market, would suddenly cease to exist. All basic manufacturing materials/precursors should be sourced from US territory first, and secondarily, from allies that depend on us for their security, like Japan and its potential rare-earth find offshore.

    The US consumer would have to get used to far less superficial choice in products. Things would get more expensive. The Dollar Store, with its off-gassing toxic China detritus, would go bye bye. Amazon, Target, and Walmart would have far less variety of things to sell.

    There would be a similar contraction in business-to-business widget use. Manufactured goods/systems would be increasingly produced domestically, with an eye on longevity rather than constant automatic ‘upgrades’. Robotic manufacturing would augment/replace human based production lines whenever possible. Pollution mitigation would become an increasingly important industry. Complete production units of essential goods would be redundantly ‘siloed’ and diffused geographically in CONUS to defend against a knockout strike in time of war.

    US taxable business and retail revenue would take a big hit. The most important US expenditure would remain defense. The continuing trend toward automated weapon systems and a resurgence of nuke stockpiling combined with advanced delivery systems would offset necessary cost-saving cuts in manpower-intensive power projection.

    Concurrent with the above, Chinese nationals would be perma-banned from American territory. They are basically spies and thieves for China. American nationals, in turn, would not be able to do business with China. Once we’ve weaned ourselves from the Chinese peasant labor market, we can afford to be “xenophobic”.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    , @Anonymous
  47. Abe says:

    (And AnotherMom doesn’t run from whimpy mask boy, she loves me even more energetically for getting stuff done–and being smart enough to preserve my brain cells.)

    Some moons ago when our youngest kids were still in preschool, they were bringing colds and probably flus- you know the bad ones where you get chills, aches, ravaging soar throats- on a literally every 3 week basis. Since they were too young to practice anything approaching sane hygiene techniques what would happen is that the sick kid would give it to a sibling on week one, which ensured one parent got it on week two, which ensured the other parent got it on week three, and then by week four we were ready to start the process all over again.

    Anyway, after getting sick of this crap I bought a 4-pack of several hundred surgical masks from Amazon for under $10 and would every so often wear them around the house when it looked like a kid had a particularly nasty cold. Mrs. Abe teased me about it for several years but now that even such low-grade protection is scarce she is appropriately grateful for my foresight and has used the tissue from the surgical masks as liners for a slew of snazzy going-out-of-the-house masks she sewed up for the family out of fabrics that were going to be donated or thrown out (I got a cool Bat-logo one)!

    Wow, a group of people who live together, love each other, and take care of each other in complementary ways most suited to their genders, what a concept! Hope at some point Steve can get in an article about what COVID-19 tells us about feminism.

  48. @Thoughts

    What about the Indians saying they wouldn’t give us any Hydroxychloroquine?

    That was also a pretty big argument against Offshoring.

    err…India temporarily suspended exports to assess the impact of API supply disruption from China. Once the assessment is done, one of the first countries it supplied large quantities of HCQ was US (~50 million pills). Right now more than 100 countries were supplied with HCQ.

    In next 3-6 months, no matter which country discovers Covid-19 vaccine, majority of it will be produced and exported by India because 70% of all vaccines in world are currently produced in India.

    Reducing reliance on critical items is a sensible thing for any nation. I am sure that after this crisis is over, US will either produce or stockpile strategically important items with in US. Post Covid-19 world will not be the same as pre-Covid-19 world.

  49. Abe says:

    “. . . Chinese in naive Western countries scoured stores and wholesalers, buying up masks to ship home.”

    Asians sometimes refer to the Chinese as the Jews of Asia.

    Except that Chinese, at home and abroad, always seem to work themselves to death.

    My view is that the Chinese (with a ~105 mean IQ) are basically the world’s most functional nation of peasants. That is all.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  50. But there isn’t much evidence of Machiavellianism on this subject among U.S. elites. Instead, our public health experts were long bigoted against masks (until their sudden Road to Damascus conversion in April

    Or one might say, the road to de-mask us. I recall well the feeling in the streets of NY in the early days of March. Wearing a mask wasn’t just seen as dumb, but provocative. Like maybe you were a carrier and shouldn’t be out. I remember feeling a little like those glares you got on the sidewalk might escalate into a fight. Now of course those same people want to punch you for not wearing a mask. This psychological shift should be studied because it’s an amazing example of how herds of humans can be manipulated without any facts at all.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  51. Coag says:
    @82-IQ H1B Indian

    India can manufacture because the workers don’t expect high wages or good working conditions, so industrialists can pump out product with low operating costs.

    The US can’t manufacture because American workers have very high expectations about quality of life and will therefore drive operating costs too prohibitively high for the industrialists to even bother.

    It’s not even a “political” issue as you claim but a “psychological” issue.

    Because of this, American manufacturing will always be outcompeted by foreign imports on price—so ask why would any industrialist in their right mind even get involved in American manufacturing?

    Literally the only solution to the conundrum is banning imports and imposing autarky.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Joe Stalin
  52. Rob McX says:

    You’d need to be careful about what you buy from India.

  53. guest007 says:

    And what would the physician think would be the difference between Covid-19 being carried on droplets of bodily fluids coming out of someone;s mouth and flu.

    Confusing the idea that the virus is either on a surface or in the air as a particle versus being carried by some other particle such as sputum is one of the tells for identifying people who do not have a clue.

    Also, Harvard Medical System saw a signifcant drop in employee infections when they started requiring everyone to wear a mask while a work and not alone. If everyone wears a mask, it keeps your bodily fluids off other people. The mask also helps people control the touching of their face.

  54. Coemgen says:

    More and more I have come to the inclusion that ‘Globalization’ is really just a weasel word for ‘anti democracy’.

    You are aware of the psychological condition megalomania? A 21st century megalomaniac can virtually rule-the-world via control of the various types of international media and control over the global presence of Western military power. Yes, anti-democracy is a way to get control over Western military power.

  55. Wilkey says:

    I have been surprised that the Republicans/conservatives/right leaning groups have not focused on minority set aside contractors for the government.

    Do people here not really get it? Trump won in 2016 in large part because blacks, after Obama, didn’t show up to vote. A big part of his re-election strategy is based on NOT doing anything to antagonize the black vote, or doing anything that might cause them to care about the election. At this point I think Trump will probably lose (of course I thought he’d lose in 2016, as well). But, in spite of all his lack of discipline, the one thing he seems to well understand is the importance of the black vote and keeping them happy. If he has any chance at all of winning in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina, he will have to do well with that demo – or at least not encourage them to show up.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  56. @botazefa

    “Wash your hands. A lot.”

    The path to madness. Just ask Howard Hughes.

  57. @Lars Porsena

    “Everybody else is doing what I do not want and it sucks and I hate it.”

    The story of my life.

  58. Anonymous[279] • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I’ll never understand how some people bring this “with us or against us” attitude to every single issue. Who says Steve or anything else has to choose between “blindly trust media and gov” or “the virus as a “hoax”, the deaths aren’t real/don’t matter.”

    • Agree: AKAHorace
  59. @Abe

    “My view is that the Chinese … are basically the world’s most functional nation of peasants.”

    They sure do enjoy a good police state. Speaking of police states, Blue State governors are eager to build a COVID-inspired contract-tracing infrastructure. Which can be repurposed into a domestic Phoenix Program-like system of surveillance and elimination for President Gretchen Whitmer. She of the shiny shiny face.

  60. “In a crisis, however, the reassuring nostrums of globalization can suddenly evaporate. Instead power turns out to be in the hands of whoever controls territory and employs armed men to police it—just like those outmoded nationalists have been saying since roughly Joan of Arc.”

    But ultimately, what’s the answer, Steve? Should the US imitate the French example of subsidizing masks and other health safety equipment in case another COVID pandemic strikes? Would that go over with those taxpayers who believe in the free market and don’t believe that such a thing as the public safety is a rational excuse for government subsidization, no matter what the stated purpose? And, could there really be such a thing a limitation upon free trade? Is a nation really more than just the total GNP, GDP and globalist dollars, cents, and T-bills?

    Going forward, post-COVID 19, if these long term policies are not directly addressed by US leaders in such as way that puts people’s health, as well as jobs, ahead of the international bottom line, then globalization will slowly but surely begin to make a comeback.

  61. @Wilkey

    “If he has any chance at all of winning…he will have to…not encourage them to show up.”

    The one sure way that that occurs is if Biden picks a white person to run as his running mate.

  62. peterike says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Sadly that Post story about Hamptons freeloaders mentions no freeloader names, even though the reporters spoke to some. It would be delightful to know the names so one could guess as to their, ummm, ethnicity. And if ever there was a use for social media shaming, you’d think this was it. Oh well. You can always count on the press to never tell you the interesting parts of the story.

    • Agree: Meretricious
    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  63. @Dacian Julien Soros

    “How come South Korea, Japan, and Germany have enough masks?”

    Er, because they still have a manufacturing industry?

    • Replies: @Dacian Julien Soros
  64. anon[483] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Simple. Take a 7 day moving average. Granted, you your data is on average 3.5 days lagged. Notice, things are trending downward, with slightly lower highs and slightly lower lows.

  65. anon[911] • Disclaimer says:

    The US can’t manufacture

    Please explain this fact from the middle of March (2 months ago)

    Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) has restarted production of its hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets at its West Virginia manufacturing facility as a potential treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The company plans to have product available by mid-April and thinks it can ramp up to 50 million tablets, which could treat more than 1.5 million people.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  66. anon[483] • Disclaimer says:

    Tariff’s work, not immediately, but slowly and surely. Eliminate their cost advantage and they will be replaced. Not immediately, but over time and without massive disruption.

    Also, pick non strategic items, and don’t impose duties. Sneakers? Clothing? Textiles? We can’t boil the ocean and we dont want everything back and surely don’t need everything back.

    Overdoing it would ramp up inflation. It would also create even more pressure for immigration. Rigorously managed trade makes us richer. Open trade is like open borders. A strict embargo on imports would also be a disaster.

    • Agree: Coemgen, JMcG
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  67. Anon[100] • Disclaimer says:

    Canada today, May 20:

    After once advising against wearing masks to fight COVID-19, Dr. Theresa Tam has moved to saying it’s a possibility and now to recommending that Canadians use non-medical masks to contain their own particles if they can’t be sure of keeping safe distances from others.

    So masks are OK, but only as long as they’re the kind that don’t work well enough that doctors and nurses can use them and you can’t stay 6 feet away from others.

  68. Anon[348] • Disclaimer says:

    The best thing that could result from this pandemic is the death of globalization. The people who are having the hardest time in this pandemic might be the working rich, not the top 0.1% billionaires who can afford their own private jet or yacht and full time live in help, but the top 1% deca-millionaire working rich who work in law, finance, consulting, tech, who in one way or another profited off globalization. All the fancy international travels, luxury hotels, expensive restaurants, dinner parties, birthday parties, charity balls, operas, symphonies that make them “special” are no longer available, and what’s worse they can’t have Consuela come in to clean the house twice a week because she lives in the ghetto with husband and 5 kids and they all have coronavirus or at least are at high risk, so poor Becky has to clean her own 6,000 square foot home and scrub her own toilets, on top of cooking 3 meals a day, the horror! Even junior who is supposed to be off to Harvard or Stanford this fall may not have a school to go to so they can’t even brag about that.

    NR reported that 3M, the maker of the best N95 masks in the world, has bumped up their production of N95 from 30 million a month before March to now 180 million per month, though N95 masks are still hard to find, Home Depot and Amazon are still out of them. But the surgical masks are becoming more available. I was able to order a pack of 50 on Amazon yesterday for a 2 day delivery. Back when this thing started, we used to joke that “all the masks are made in Wuhan, China”, turns out it’s no longer a joke. The new masks I bought really were made in Wuhan, China. I think I’m going to leave them in the box for 14 days until the viruses are all good and dead before putting them on.

  69. @Anonymous

    Arrant nonsense. There is no British demos but Parliament functions.

    • Troll: Joseph Doaks
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  70. I am a mask sceptic. Nevertheless I have just been told to expect an order for 3 million masks a day starting next week. These things are going to be required on such a scale that hard automation will reduce the cost to triviality. You will get one every time you board a train. There will be vending machines for them, perhaps free to season ticket holders in every bus station.

  71. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Too late to do that. There has been a huge wave of Chinese acquisition of US and EU companies.

  72. It is a shame that instead of following Steve Sailer’s lead and seizing on an issue to (1) revive American manufacturing, (2) protect American health, and (3) embarrass the mainstream media, the ostensibly nationalist popular outlets are acting as if mask-wearing requirements are the Stasi hauling them off to the gulag.

    • Replies: @utu
  73. Anonymous[118] • Disclaimer says:

    This was the biggest missed opportunity in American history.

  74. Cortes says:

    “Or one might say, the road to de-mask us.”

    One might indeed.

  75. utu says:

    CDC continues promoting their position that masks are ineffective with this May 2020 paper

    Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures

    The paper reviews old research and does a meta study: “we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.51–1.20; I2 = 30%, p = 0.25)”

    Is there a flaw in their studies? Yes. Mask do not protect 100%. If a mask wearer is being repetitively exposed to virus eventually he will get infected in long enough time. Because flu season is long a mask wearer will eventually catch the flu. But this is not how to look at mask efficacy. What if the mask wearer is surrounded by mask wearers versus when the mask wearer is surround by people w/o masks? Mask wearing is not only about your personals safety. It is about the whole community safety. If everybody wears it there is a synergy effect?

    Mask wearing is community effort to reduce the reproductive number R0 to the point that the epidemic will stop. It is not that nobody with mask gets infected but it is about that the infectious people infect less people and this is most efficacious when both the infectious people and the uninfected wear masks. When the infectious person infects less than 1 other person on average the epidemic will die out.

    Why does CCD miss the most important point? Why do they concentrate only on masks as personal protective measures when masks are much more than that. The most important thing about the mask, the synergy effect as the reproductive number reducer is not promoted by CDC. Is it possible that CDC in the business of promoting flu vaccines which are rendered less important when the synergy effect of everybody wearing masks is implemented? Is it possible that East Asian countries are lagging behind in the vaccination programs promoted by WHO and CDC? Are they lagging because they wear masks?
    “Influenza vaccination rates have not been high enough in Japan.”

    “Overall vaccination rates were low in Japan with no increase in vaccination rates from the prior year. All WHO-recommended vaccination groups had rates less than 50% and a large gap remains between these recommendations and vaccination behavior. In 2011, the influenza vaccination rates among adults in the United States were 36.2%, almost twice the vaccination rate in Japan.”

  76. Anonymous[214] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Long-term, proceed from the supposition that China, as a market, would suddenly cease to exist.

    That’s what China itself has been doing by trying to develop free trade zones across Eurasia and the Pacific via its Belt & Road projects and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). These projects don’t include the US and are aimed at reducing dependence on the US. Once developed, these free trade areas would dwarf the US economically and reduce the US to a regional economic power, like Brazil, rather than a global one.

    But this is precisely why the US can’t back down from globalism and free trade as long as it wants to be more than merely a regional economic power of the Western hemisphere. In order to be a global power, it has to prevent other economic blocs in Eurasia and the Pacific from emerging, and that requires the US being globalist and allowing free trade and buying off other countries by importing their product.

    The RCEP being negotiated now includes China and many US allies, and accounts for about one-third of world GDP. It accounted for about 40% of world GDP when India was involved, making it the biggest free trade zone in the world, until US pressure got India to back out of it. The US got India to back out with various economic inducements and concessions. But there’s still a possibility that India may rejoin, which would then require the US to make further trade and other economic concessions.

    The much ballyhooed TPP was concocted as an alternative and counter to the RCEP.

  77. @Coag

    “Because of this, American manufacturing will always be outcompeted by foreign imports on price—so ask why would any industrialist in their right mind even get involved in American manufacturing?”

    WIND-AM (560) commentator Dan Proft likes to use the phrase “Comparative Advantage” when answering callers advocating for home shoring of products.

    • Replies: @anon
  78. @Philip Owen

    Too late to do that.

    Nah, it’s never too late. Tariffs would make those companies worthless in the US market, and further acquisitions can be blocked by law. If they aren’t in place already, laws/procedures can be approved/executed to nationalize foreign-owned assets on US soil in times of emergency. Apple, etc. would be wise to start drawing down manufacturing capacity in China, lest the Chinese fully seize the means of production.

    Appropriately enough, in the FP sidebar was an ad for

    Conflict of Nations

    World War III strategy game
    Experience strategy gaming in a global, unprecedented way.

    See more >

    • Thanks: Neoconned
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  79. Cave says:

    The largest remaining domestic manufacturer of N95 masks and other items, located in DFW, refused early on to ramp up production. Specifically because he did that before during N1N1 or whichever, and then when it was over, he was forced to lay off over a hundred people because the hospitals all went back to china for supply.

    He cofounded some sort of national mask organization, and sent multiple letters to obama begging them to build a national supply with a consistent contract for these sort of events.

  80. Rob McX says:

    I never understood how globalism was supposed to supplant nationalism in the real world because global institutions don’t have many guns

    I don’t think the people pushing globalism mean it to supplant nationalism in general. They just want white countries to stop being nationalist. Countries such as China and Israel aren’t going to buy into universalist creed. Nationalism for me, globalism for thee.

  81. “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

    More than the Soviet Union does.

  82. @peterike

    This WSJ story about NYC rent strikes dares to mention names, but I guess the WSJ is ‘edgy’ by MSM standards. (Ridiculous as that is to say.)

    “Most residents at 17 buildings near Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, N.Y., have committed to stop paying rent, organizers say”

    “Some of the residents can’t afford rent next month, organizers say. Others are able to pay but say they won’t, to help bring more attention to the cause.”

    Rent striking tenants quoted or depicted in the article:

    Ysvelia Silva (right)

    Ysvelia Silva planned to spend this spring training for the New York City Marathon. Instead, she is calling neighbors in her apartment complex and urging them not to pay rent next month.

    She’s 66 years old, moderately obese, and was training for the Marathon. Right.

    Wilson Siguencia, Evelin Rojas, Luz Marina Franco, Lucia Rojas, Iván Contreras, Claudia Nuñez…

    There’s a pattern here but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    Claudia Nuñez, another tenant on strike who said she was infected with the coronavirus. “They have to make a consideration for us.” She said she depends on disability compensation following an injury at her previous job, adding those payments have been delayed.

    Why would regular disability payments (which seem to go out to about half of the population in this country) suddenly be delayed? I call BS.

    One tenant (mentioned at the very end of the article) doesn’t fit the pattern, though.

    Carol Moss, who lives in the same building as Ms. Silva, said she hadn’t heard about the strike.

    “I know that feeling. I worked for 40 years for my last job and I know what it’s like to not be able to do something, but you still make do,” said Ms. Moss, who has lived in her apartment since 1978 and is retired.

    She will pay her May rent, she said. “I have to have somewhere to go.”

  83. Anonymous[502] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rob McX

    I don’t think the people pushing globalism mean it to supplant nationalism in general. They just want white countries to stop being nationalist. Countries such as China and Israel aren’t going to buy into universalist creed. Nationalism for me, globalism for thee.

    Exactly. “Globalism” is an inaccurate, even misleading, way to refer to what is going on. We need better language to describe what is happening. Any ideas?

    • Replies: @anon
  84. Anonymous[502] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rob McX

    Encouraging globalism among your competitors is an effective form of nationalism.


  85. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Apple’s iPhone was designed in the UK. (Most mobile phone technology is of UK origin). The firm which did it, these days a video chip specialist was recently bought by a Chinese firm. There was then an IP battle with Apple where it was revealed just how much of the iPhone originated in the UK. This is bigger than one country or two.

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
  86. JMcG says:

    Mylan. The company helmed by the daughter of Joe Manchin (D) WV. The company that jacked the price of epipens from 30 to 600.00 in no time at all! Maybe we ARE better off with Chinese production.

  87. MBlanc46 says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Ah, poor babies. Rich folks from the Hamptons are pretty far down my list if those to have sympathy for.

  88. @Philip Owen

    This is bigger than one country or two.

    Right, so obvious moves would be to pressure the Anglosphere and Europe to also shut out China. Want to sell tech to Apple, and make/sell BMWs in the US? Don’t do business with China. Want NATO protection and US military hardware? Don’t do business with China.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  89. anon[329] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Stalin

    WIND-AM (560) commentator Dan Proft likes to use the phrase “Comparative Advantage” when answering callers advocating for home shoring of products.

    David Ricardo has been dead for nearly 200 years. WIND should save money by firing Dan Proft and hiring a team of talkers from India to take his place…for half the salary.

    Comparaitve advantage at work.

    • LOL: JMcG
  90. anon[329] • Disclaimer says:

    We need better language to describe what is happening. Any ideas?


  91. @Anonymous

    But this is precisely why the US can’t back down from globalism and free trade as long as it wants to be more than merely a regional economic power of the Western hemisphere.

    That potential outcome is fine by me. Ideally, as I wrote, the Anglosphere and Europe would join the US against China. And I imagine Japan and other Asian/Pacific nations would not want to be under the dictate of an emerging China—and if not, the US would continue to do business with those countries. Maybe, like India, those countries will recognize the RCEP for disaster and pull out before the late 2020 signing.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    , @Anonymous
  92. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Exactly. Look at how small Switzerland, Denmark and Hungary are. But they enjoy sky-high living standards and have a decent, reasonable sense of themselves.

    Why this continual “We’re Number One” obsession? Look at the ten most populous nations, and compare them with those I named above. Where would you rather live?

    • Thanks: Jenner Ickham Errican
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  93. @Rob McX

    I don’t think the people pushing globalism mean it to supplant nationalism in general. They just want white countries to stop being nationalist.

    They just want white countries to stop being white.

    And they’re getting their wish.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  94. utu says:
    @Admiral Assbar

    “…the ostensibly nationalist popular outlets are acting as if mask-wearing requirements are the Stasi hauling them off to the gulag…” – WHO and CDC don’t want masks either. I think it is because wearing masks during flu epidemic, if done by 80% of population, renders the vaccination program unnecessary. The ‘ostensibly nationalist popular outlets’ happened to do what benefits TPTB. Is it the first time you see nationalists shooting themselves in the foot?

  95. Anonymous[836] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr McKenna

    I don’t think the people pushing globalism mean it to supplant nationalism in general. They just want white countries to stop being nationalist.

    They just want white countries to stop being white.

    Why though? What is the motivation?

  96. @YetAnotherAnon

    The reason that “we can not manufacture” is that we look at the problem through the lens of accountants and MBAs rather than through the lens of engineers, plant managers, toolmakers and the like.

    Setting up a production facility is expensive. Making tooling is expensive. Training workers is expensive. American companies only want to do this if the returns are guaranteed to be certain and to be quite high. Aside from defense contracting where there is no foreign competition, such opportunities are scarce.

    Every single manufacturing power in the world since the Industrial Revolution has been started and for years depended wholly on state protection and usually subsidy. Eventually, successful ones need foreign competition, but never untrammeld, “dog-eat-dog”, “cutthroat” competition-the threat of an end to the gravy train must always be in the mind of the foreign competitors.

    In the automotive business, the British, the Italians and the French sold cars in the United States, but were not terribly successful. They were unreliable, difficult to work on, parts support was terrible. The British and the Italians eventually found low volume high profit “exotic” and high luxury niches, but those were not sufficient in number to have any real effect on the market. The Germans did rather better, starting mostly with the Volkswagen, which was moderately priced, but they chose not to market their low end cars cheaply and kept volume down by emphasizing the higher priced models of prestige marques like Porsche, Mercedes Benz, and BMW. Only the most well appointed versions of these cars were sold here at a substantially higher price than the same car in Germany, albeit partially because of odd and sometimes nonsensical US safety and emissions regulations. This was partly also because they figured that despite whatever free market nostrums were in vogue in the US at the time, the Germans knew that if they went the higher volume lower profit route (German cars were made by the best paid autoworkers in the world, but also the most productive, and the Germans could have went the volume route through technology) the Americans would eventually apply tariff or nontariff barriers.

    The Japanese then became dominant after the oil situation and the demand for small but well made cars in the 1970s. However, they too figured that if they took too much market share the Americans would retaliate, and not necessarily just against their automobiles, but their electronics and photo and other businesses. So the Japanese set out to build plants in America, mostly in the nonunion South. They figured sooner or later the Americans would have abandoned all that free market bafflegab. I believe that America is much better off today insofar as that they thought more highly of the American instinct for self-preservation than we actually posessed.

    Cameras? Yes, America once built cameras and the precision optics they require. It was abandoned to the Germans and then the Japanese because the manufacturers of consumer and professional cameras, as was discussed in a previous thread, were also making lucrative military contracts for Cold War military optics, where profits were large and guaranteed. It took only a short burst of predatory dumping for them to abandon the camera market permanently. Kodak, Bell and Howell, Bausch and Lomb, Wollensak, and others made optics in some cases as good as any in the world. When large format professional photography ended except for highly technical advertising and architectural work the medium and miniature format cameras made in the US were already discontinued. What American camera production remained was focused, if one will pardon the pun, on cheap, junky cameras for Woolworths’ and other dimestores or on the expensive but still short-useful-life things like Polaroids, which also were discussed here at some length. Kodak was constantly introducing new, gimmicky, stupid formats like 828, 126, Pocket Instamatic, Disk, and APS rather than make a camera that any knowledgeable person wanted.Had they made a good rangefinder 35mm camera at a reasonable price that was not unreliable potmetal junk or insanely priced like the Leicas, they’d have done well. I had two Pentax K-1000 cameras that I bought on sale and both gave flawless service for many years before failing, at which time I tossed them off a bridge and bought another.

    In all these cases the governments of those countries involved implemented policies that made these businesses attractive. Japan protected its domestic car industry by nontariff measures designed to make importing cars into Japan unprofitable, and deliberately adopted standards like radio frequencies, TV broadcast standards, and electrical voltages that made foreign electronics ill suited for the Japanese market.

    The libertarians are simply stating a theory that has a certain arbitrary plausibility, in the same manner as geocentrism, the caloric theory of heat, the auditing-out of body thetans, or treating coronary artery disease with poudrage. It has never been observed in history. People think long term and take risks when they are more scared of the consequence of not doing so than they are gratified by the most immediate path to gratification, which is to buy it from someone else cheaper in the short term. That vendor is always the one in production right now.

    • Agree: Neoconned, XYZ (no Mr.)
    • Thanks: JMcG, Coemgen, utu
  97. Old Prude says:

    Wearing a mask at this point, knowing this is mostly hysteria, is a sign you are willing to be pushed around by arbitrary government power or buy into the lies and panic spread by the media. Wearing a dust mask while cleaning out the chicken coop is smart. Wearing one to buy some hollytone at the garden center is pussy.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  98. @Old Prude

    After all, what’s more important: winning the national argument over the future industrial policy of the United States or having strangers at the garden center think you are pussy?

    • Replies: @Old Prude
    , @Old Prude
  99. @CarlosHathitachiTheSecond

    “So the Japanese set out to build [car] plants in America, mostly in the nonunion South. They figured sooner or later the Americans would have abandoned all that free market bafflegab. I believe that America is much better off today insofar as that they thought more highly of the American instinct for self-preservation than we actually possessed.”

    Well said.

  100. Coemgen says:
    @Rob McX

    It’s not Universalism that’s the driving force behind dividing an conquering Western nations via invasions of foreigners through open borders and, via oppressive anti-Nationalist propaganda: It’s Megalomaniacism that is the driving force.

  101. Neoconned says:
    @Redneck farmer

    Its like how the Kennedys love windmills…..till they ruin their ocean estate view.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
  102. @CarlosHathitachiTheSecond

    In the case of both the UK and the US free market ideology (probably aided by the financialisation of the economy) has blinded both countries to the threat of mercantilism East-Asian style.

    It’s well worth reading the whole article and google translate doesn’t do a bad job. The author would agree with Eamonn Fingleton, James Dyson and the historian Paul Kennedy that (all things being equal) the spoils go to the nation with the most productive economy.

    The “military conflict” referred to in the book’s subtitle is therefore always examined in the context of “economic change.” The triumph of any one Great Power in this period, or the collapse of another, has usually been the consequence of lengthy fighting by its armed forces; but it has also been the consequences of the more or less efficient utilization of the state’s productive economic resources in wartime, and, further in the background, of the way in which that state’s economy had been rising or falling, relative to the other leading nations, in the decades preceding the actual conflict. For that reason, how a Great Power’s position steadily alters in peacetime, is as important to this study as how it fights in wartime

    How’s the US been doing relative to the Chinese?

    The PLA guy makes the point that while the US may have the most advanced technology in the world, what’s the use of that if it can’t be leveraged into mass production of advanced tech?

    The same is true for the war. Today, the war is still the manufacturing industry. Some people say that fighting today is the confrontation of the system, the chip is king. Yes, chips do play an irreplaceable role in modern high-tech wars. But the chip itself can’t fight, the chip must be installed on various weapons and equipment, and all kinds of weapons and equipment must first have a strong manufacturing industry. Some people say that the United States relied on strong manufacturing to win World War I and World War II. There is nothing wrong with this. But does the United States still have such a strong manufacturing industry that can win World War I and World War II?

    From half a century ago, after the dollar delinked from gold, the United States gradually used the dollar to profit from the world. In this case, they abandoned their low-end manufacturing industry and gradually made themselves a country with hollow industries.

    f the world is peaceful and everyone is at peace with each other, there is no problem. The US prints US dollars to buy products from all over the world, and the whole world works for the United States. These are all fine.

    But when there is an epidemic or when there is a war, can a country without manufacturing be considered a powerful country? Even if we continue to have high technology, continue to have dollars, and there are US troops, but all of these need manufacturing support. Without manufacturing, who supports your high technology? Who supports your dollar? Who supports your US military?

    To understand this, China’s next response is to continue to maintain, develop, and upgrade its manufacturing industry, not only to upgrade, but also to maintain traditional manufacturing. It is impossible to upgrade all of them. If all of them are upgraded and replaced, the traditional manufacturing industry is thrown away. When the United States needs a large number of masks like today, the entire country does not even have a complete production line. Under such circumstances, it cannot respond to the epidemic as quickly and forcefully as China. Therefore, do not underestimate the low-end manufacturing industry, and do not regard the high-end manufacturing industry as the sole goal of China’s manufacturing development. You cannot throw away the housekeeping skills.

    Those housekeeping skills being what Dan Wang called “process knowledge” aka the “million-and-one things that can’t be written down”. I’d love to hear what Philip Owen thinks of the piece.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    , @Anonymous
  103. @Philip Owen

    “There is no British demos”

    There was until very recently. It’s only since the UK decline accelerated that “British” has become less popular than English/Scottish/Welsh/Irish. As Glubb Pasha puts it :

    While the empire is enjoying its High Noon of prosperity, all these people are proud and glad to be imperial citizens. But when decline sets in, it is extraordinary how the memory of ancient wars, perhaps centuries before, is suddenly revived, and local or provincial movements appear demanding secession or independence. Some day this phenomenon will doubtless appear in the now apparently monolithic and authoritarian Soviet empire. It is amazing for how long such provincial sentiments can survive.

    “but Parliament functions”

    The civil society underneath it, the “little battalions”, grow weaker every year – civic engagement of all sorts is down.

    Off topic, but I don’t know if you’ve seen the piece by a PLA general explaining how and why the US is losing ground to China year on year. I’d be interested to hear your views, Google translate does a pretty fair job. Our general, Qiao Liang, agrees with James Dyson and Eamonn Fingleton.

  104. Jack D says:

    Had they made a good rangefinder 35mm camera at a reasonable price that was not unreliable potmetal junk or insanely priced like the Leicas, they’d have done well.

    As early as the 1930s, Kodak was importing cameras from Germany and selling them under the Kodak name.

    There is no reason why every country has to make every product.

    Even for masks, there is still no reason. Masks are starting to come in again from China. We should have had a stockpile of these things for a temporary interruption. A stockpile was all that we needed.

    • Replies: @Sparkon

    In Austria you have to wear a mask in public (unless you are out eating in a restaurant now), in Switzerland, you don’t. The virus doesn’t seem to react differently in either country.

    • Replies: @utu
  106. Anonymous[332] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    You seem to have missed the point. Getting other countries to “join the US against China” involves the US engaging in globalism and free trade. India pulled out of the RCEP because of pressure and promises from the US. Those promises include economic concessions and incentives. They likely include maintaining Indian H1bs as well.

  107. Anonymous[332] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Switzerland and China have a free trade agreement:

    A major reason Hungary under Orban pisses off the US is because of its economic engagement with China and its Belt and Road project:

  108. Sparkon says:
    @Jack D

    Had they made a good rangefinder 35mm camera at a reasonable price that was not unreliable potmetal junk or insanely priced like the Leicas, they’d have done well.

    The famous Argus C3 interchangeable lens rangefinder camera was produced in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA from 1939 to 1966. Known affectionately as “The Brick” to several generations of American photographers, the camera was capable of taking excellent photographs.

    • Agree: bomag
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  109. @Anonymous

    Yet nowhere in your description are the negative impacts of globalism on the average middle class and below American. Which then completely misses the origin of most political conflict in modern America.

    A small group of elite American-born — not the 1 percent, say 10 percent — have benefited greatly from globalist America. Immigrants in America have greatly benefited from globalist America. Black Americans have not economically benefitted from globalist America, but their traditional foe — white Americans — have been harmed, so, judging by voting habits, black Americans gain some sort of benefit from globalist America.

    The globalist group in America knows the harm the system is doing to other Americans, but either does not care, or believes the harm is an added bonus.

    Arrayed against the globalist group are not just traditional conservatives, but also many Americans asking a very simple question: what is the point of America being a global economic and military superpower if their own life is getting worse. What exactly is the benefit of all this to the average American in America?

    The elite answer to that is unceasing globalist propaganda: we must enter unfair trade treaties where many Americans lose to keep our allies happy, to help the foreign poor become middle class, to spread democracy, to spread world peace, to keep the communists at bay, protect human rights etc etc.

    It gets rather tedious after a while.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  110. utu says:
    @Dieter Kief

    Austria has 3 x lower deaths per capita than Switzerland. While virus is a dumb molecule which is at mercy of laws of physics and chemistry people can be more or less dumb depending on their cultures which determine how they behave when confronted with the dumb molecule.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  111. @utu

    Right, but – Austria closed the borders to highly infectious Northern Italy earlier, which was a big advantage in March and April. But now they have arrived at by and large the same infections rates – low numbers (today from the CO-19 Worldometer: Austria 50+ Switzerland 30+) – and almost the same practices = opening up the system again (schools, shops, bureaucracies, factories…).

    Btw. trades in Switzerland like carpenters and bricklayers and plumbers worked all the time during lock-down with no severe consequences at all – – – other than avoiding financial problems – or bankruptcy.

  112. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    I agree with half of that. Basically, the US should join the EU. I don’t agree that the US is paying to defend Europe. The US is paying for NATO to buy influence over Europe and push its weapon systems. The UK, France and Germany can arm themselves very adequately if not required to swallow over specified weapon systems like the F35.

  113. @YetAnotherAnon

    Right now, the volume of FFP2+ masks made in the UK is trival. There are now 2 firms aiming to install mask making machines. One not so far from me at 1 million a day. the other 3 million a day. The 1 million a day, by the way, is finainced from Dubai not the UK UK manufacturers want guaranteed long run orders to commit to this business.

    Meanwhile, I think that I have been given an order for 3m masks a day from the UK Dept of Health and Social Care for a Chinese factory that I represent. My Chinese colleagues are not impressed by the threat of competition. They reckon that without Chinese technicians to layout the plant, install the machines and train the operators it will be more than 6 months before production starts. Anyway, there is infrastructure. These machines need to be fed with rolls of materials that unroll at a certain tension and rate (which changes as the roll diameter shrinks). The engineers may understand this but the techies don’t without training. I know this from doing it for magnetic tape for computers. So my Chinese colleagues reckon it will be 6 months before the competition produce more than a token number of certifiable masks.

    Meanwhile, I am sitting on a committee from the healthcare community looking at mask design. We have several innovative, mine at least is patentable, new designs for masks to deal with problems such as dementia (and Downs syndrome) where people react badly to masks, lipreading for the deaf, noisy enviroments, waitresses whose customers need to see their smile to leave a tip and so on. I wish I could say that the model making skills, other than toys for 3D printing were still preent locally. It is not really true. 3D printing might do soft tooling but even short run hard tooling is far easier to find in Guangdong. The Chinese may not have the innovation spark but they have all the follow on capability. I am trying to lever this into a project for my Chinese partners to set up a short run pilot plant for new product development in the UK. This might be as trivial as fast fashion. There are already manufacturers producing fashionable mask styles ready for the return of disco dancing. The Chinese actually seem to believe in the innovation from the UK pitch more than I do. That said, the biggest driver seems to be the threat of losing the order in 9 months time as local local production ramps and the disease ramps down. For what it’s worth, I think we will see a switch to mask use for severe flu from now on. Certainly the GPs and A&E docs are going to be demanding it of patients.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  114. Anonymous[211] • Disclaimer says:
    @XYZ (no Mr.)

    The globalist group in America knows the harm the system is doing to other Americans, but either does not care, or believes the harm is an added bonus.

    Globalizing the United States only harms White Americans. Every other group benefits because it destroys every other group’s strongest competitor.

  115. @Philip Owen

    “The UK, France and Germany can arm themselves very adequately if not required to swallow over specified weapon systems like the F35.”

    Are you kidding? Of the three countries mentioned, ONLY the UK has opted for the F-35. Each country buys their own indigenous tank of their own design. Each country buys their own assault rifle; none have purchased the US M4 carbine for general issue. Hell, I bet the UK was glad they purchased Harrier jump jets when the Falklands War came along because they they were supplied with USA specification advanced Sidewinder AIM-9L IR guided missiles. NATO spec means stuff from one country can be used with another country’s stuff.

  116. ATBOTL says:

    Rightwing Americans instinctively deny any bad news when there is a GOP President. They are just too stupid to see a crisis as an opportunity.

  117. @Anonymous

    You seem to have missed the point.

    No, you’re missing the point: It’s fine by me if the US drifts towards autarky—but if other countries want to play by our rules and trade with us, that’s okay too. Now of course I don’t want more H-1Bs coming here, but strategically that’s less important right now than our dependence on China as a manufacturing base. One big difference between China and India—China is a direct strategic threat to the entire world. If other countries were to take our (hypothetical) lead in turning away from China, that’s icing on the cake.

    To recap:

    1. The US should apply tariffs against companies who use Chinese factories or source parts from China or Chinese-owned firms.
    2. The US should disallow Chinese acquisitions of US companies, IP, and real estate.
    3. If other countries do the same, that’s great.
    4. “Free trade” never existed.

  118. @Philip Owen

    Basically, the US should join the EU.

    Or rather, the EU should dissolve.

    The UK, France and Germany can arm themselves very adequately if not required to swallow over specified weapon systems like the F35.

    Well, what’s the military threat to those countries? Is there one? That would determine the need for any given weapons system.

  119. @Philip Owen

    Yet strangely Germany and the United Kingdom, and even most bizarrely France, have an issue with the United States exiting NATO. Outside of the foreign policy establishment in the United States, support for NATO here is a mile wide (well, half mile now) and an inch deep, and grows dimmer every day that the Cold War recedes from the public consciousness. Buffoonery like the foreign policy establishment twisting itself into knots trying to explain exactly why the American military should help defend Syrian Kurds against a fellow NATO ally didn’t help.

    Britain and France are nuclear powers and have the capacity to deliver, and plenty of aerospace to boot. The US isn’t protecting them, of course. The blunt truth is Europeans aren’t going to be making any sacrifices to keep Poland or the Baltic Republics safe. So the US is idiotically in Poland, and beginning to assume a similar role to its presence in South Korea. My main complaint of course is President Trump has not been rude enough to our NATO partners.

  120. @Anonymous

    Right. The United States trade deficit with China was 420 billion in 2018, and 345 billion in 2019 after tariffs started. And it needs to fall much, much further. One simple way to contain the Chinese is not be their largest, wealthiest customer, and globalism is not required for that solution. The solution to globalism is not more globalism, especially if the tradeoff involves quite literally who will displace Americans from jobs in their own native land, and become future Americans. It is an excellent example of the absolute failure of America’s leadership class to represent average Americans. The fact any trade or political deals at all would ever be made in return for allowed or guaranteed immigration into the US is an absolute scandal. Why isn’t the media covering this?

  121. @Philip Owen

    Sorry, Philip, I was thinking more in terms of the article by the Chinese general I linked to, on how America has high-tech research but no longer has mass-production capabilities.

    “But when there is an epidemic or when there is a war, can a country without manufacturing be considered a powerful country? Even if we continue to have high technology, continue to have dollars, and there are US troops, but all of these need manufacturing support. Without manufacturing, who supports your high technology? Who supports your dollar? Who supports your US military?”

    Be most interested to see what you think. It’s worth reading the original with google translate.


    Re masks, it’s obvious that short-term we will import. But as the Chinese general says, what happens in the next pandemic – or in a war? In a pandemic, will we be in cargo-cultist mode again, looking to the skies for a planeload of duff Turkish medical gowns?

    (I remember the tension/unrolling thing from a seventies summer feeding a mix of WW2 vintage UK machines, caged for safety, and new hi-tech American ones with sensors everywhere. I imagine printworks could handle it OK)

  122. Old Prude says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I get it Steve. The argument has been persuasively made by yourself and David Goldman to no effect, so me adding my voice to your argument seems futile. America thinking and acting strategically, for the interest of it’s citizens: That ain’t gonna happen. The country is kaputt. Flooded with foreigners. Half the native population hating the other half, sunk in hedonism, lacking virtue, with a thoroughly corrupt and incompetent government. Since nothing I can do is going to unflush the toilet, I can at least maintain a scrap of personal dignity by not putting a diaper on my face just because some ass tells me I have to.

    • Replies: @ATBOTL
  123. @YetAnotherAnon

    Er, because they still have a manufacturing industry?

    That’s what I thought as well. China, Germany, South Korea and Japan share some manufacturing ability and some stockpiling abilities, because they happen to have brain power. That’s what you get, when your elite doesn’t come from University of Felicity Hoffmann.

    They also don’t farm their elderly in as large complexes, and don’t ask any random unwashed African to care for them, in order to save pennies.If they hire an immigrant, they pay enough for her soap and showers.They were flattening the curve before “thoughts and prayers” become the order of the day.

    But OP thinks different. The first phrase of this post says “Chinese were allowed to hoard almost all the facemasks.” How come SK and Germany “still have a manufacturing industry”, but China had to steal Sailer’s masks?

  124. ATBOTL says:
    @Old Prude

    This comment exemplifies everything wrong with the white boomer American: Cowardly, lazy, selfish and stupid. After a lifetime of not doing anything good, they say it’s hopeless as a way of absolving themselves. Then they lash out with petulant bravado.

  125. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    The Argus C3 was the first victim of my amateur attempts to learn camera repair. I was given a bag of four of them by a local camera guy, Chet of Creve Coeur Camera in the 1970s. I had some books on the subject and he told me I was just going to ruin some otherwise salvageable cameras but if I insisted, the C3 was the place to start.

    The body of the camera itself was an indestructible and corrosion proof chunk of Bakelite, but most of its operating parts were of a zinc based “pot metal” and they had a habit of corroding badly. The basic design was ingenious, if not ergonomic, but the cameras had no resale value and camera repairmen suggested that the thing to do was use them for literal bricks.

    The lenses were uncoated and were good at letting moisture and fungus spores in but not out, the lenses were invariably filthy inside. Despite the interest in all sorts of wild and wooly optics from unusable cameras of yore for digital cameras, no one wants these to this day. Still no want ’em’s.

    I had Ed Romney’s books and some tools I’d ordered from Jules Borel, the watch place, and got others from the son of a retired watchmaker who gave them to me. No other kid he ever met knew what a lathe was, let alone expressed interest, so amongst the stuff he gave me was a beautiful Levin watchmakers’ lathe. I never did master the art of camera repair, but giving a kid an Argus was probably a way of deterring future competition. They were the Kobayashi Maru of camera repairmen, why they usually wouldn’t even try to fix one even for the sentimentalist who offered them full price up front and no guarantee to have a go at fixing Dad’s.

    Good American 35mm cameras included the Bell and Howell Foton and a few Kodaks, some of which were German and some American. But most were used by wealthy amateurs, not pros, and the Germans dominated with the Leica and Contax. The Japanese essentially made copies of these and lenses compatible with them, and then made their cameras to combine the best parts of both.

    Professional photography was all large format and a little medium format until the news guys decided the Nikon F with its 36 frame capacity for film, high quality really fast films and general ruggedness meant it could take over from the press camera. The transition lasted less than half a decade. Nikon utterly dominated the “modern camera” market because it captured the working pros with its Nikon Professional Service establishment, and then the hip all had to have a Nikon because that was the pro’s choice. Other brands were about as good and some offered superior options, but they cost about as much too, and Nikon stayed dominant until the digital era started in earnest.

    Medium format was largely skipped over by photojournalists. Wedding photographers, studio catalog photographers and portrait operations small enough not to go longroll were the bread and butter customers. Medium format offered a lot of options, many of which were mostly underused.
    The most famous medium format camera was the Hasselblad, because NASA famously used them, but various Mamiya, Rollei, Bronica, Pentax, and other systems existed. Basically, nothing ever interchanged with anything else.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  126. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    There are some businesses we actually don’t want back, but we still want to make it expensive for China to produce them for US companies, especially given their complete lack of environmental, worker safety, etc. standards. Sneakers we could buy from Mexico. They are not strategic. A sneaker embargo would inconvenience us not all that much.

    The bottom line is that anyone selling anything on a retail branded basis in the US needs to be paying much of the difference between making it there and making it here. You bet some consumer prices will rise.

    But we want to be manufacturing a full spectrum of products, including consumer electronics, video screens, hard drives, et al. Having to manufacture that stuff means having to build and maintain the machines and training people to do that. It’s a feature, not a bug.

  127. Anonymous[930] • Disclaimer says:

    Manufacturing is all about the things that MBAs and economists consider irrelevant detail. A tool is a huge revenue generating link or worth scrap value depending on a tiny amount of metal. A production line works if every piece exactly fits. Your crew knows how to run a part or they don’t.

    I remember an ag plant where they ran out of a certain size of common bolt. Common, but when the bins ran out every vendor was out. At 3:30 pm on a Friday, every vendor starting in a 100 mile radius and finally on both coasts was called….nope, nope, nope. The plant was running overtime, and a shutdown seemed imminent.

    Finally someone in maintenance called his counterpart at a competitor, and asked where they might find these bolts. He in turn called his people and in half an hour two trucks were dispatched. They had piles of them and would sell for what they had in them.

    By the time that supply ran low, the vendors were back in stock.

    The MBAs would have just shut the plant down and went home.

  128. Sparkon says:

    Thanks for the interesting comments with details about the Argus Brick.

    I received an Argus C3 as a high school graduation present from Mom in 1964. At the time, the C3 sure felt like a big step up from the Kodak Brownie Holiday I’d been using for several years before that, at least when I could afford film and processing, that is, which was rarely. The Argus C3 really did take excellent photos during the 30-some months I used it after enlisting in the Air Force that summer, including a memorable trip to Carlsbad Caverns. Unfortunately, all the photos I took with the C3 have been lost.

    And of course, Argus produced virtually the same camera for over 25 years. Not much kaizen there, but Argus nevertheless managed to sell about 2 million “Bricks,” which Wikipedia claims was noted for its durability, but Wiki also sez:

    Although the design is over 75 years old, many C3s are still in use. The cameras are inexpensive on the used market and their simple construction makes them relatively easy to repair.


    Japanese Kaizen 改善, literally means “change good”, or (continuing) improvement, and is an enduring design philosophy with many Japanese companies.

    By mid-1966, my Air Force duties took me to Japan where I soon discovered a dazzling array of high quality Japanese 35mm cameras on display at the local camera shops: Canon FX and Pellix, Mamiya-Sekor 500 DTL, Minolta SRT101, Nikon F, Nikomat, Olympus Pen F, Pentax Spotmatic, and others, constituting some of the most beautifully finished and functional 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras ever produced.

    Asahi Pentax Spotmatic with Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 standard lens
    Image: Wikimedia

    When introduced, the Nikon F with a 50mm f/2.0 lens had a list price of ¥129,420 ($359.50), which was considerably more expensive than the Pentax Spotmatic with Super-Takumar 55mm f/1.8 I bought eventually for ¥45,000 ($125 at the time), a purchase made possible only because the local Asahi dealer was willing to extend credit to a lowly A2C making about $100/mo. The dealer also inexplicably took the C3 in trade, knocking a few thousand yen off the purchase price, probably about $10.

    After three Spotmatics, including the black model, I had a succession of Pentax film cameras, including an ME, and a pair of P30t’s that got heavy use in the studio, and also imaging Hale-Bopp, the great comet of 1997, before I moved into the digital realm beginning in 2001 with various Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony digicams and DSLRs.

    As you note, Nikon succeeded when SLRs were taking over because its cameras were very durable with high build quality, and the company offered a full line of pro accessories for the F, including interchangeable prisms, large capacity backs, motor drive, and complete line-up of lenses from 21mm to 1000mm, all with Nikon’s quick-changing bayonet mount, where equally good Pentax did not have such an adaptable camera capable of hosting all the pro accessories, and was saddled with the (Contax/Praktica) M42 screw mount lenses until the mid 1970s, when Pentax finally introduced the K1000 (and others) with its new bayonet style K-mount lenses, which are still produced for Pentax DSLRs today, although the company now belongs to Ricoh.

    All of the traditional camera manufacturers are facing stiff challenges after a big drop-off in sales due to the rise of the smartphone cameras:

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  129. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Canon and Nikon were the big names, both started making aftermarket lenses for Leica and Contax miniature cameras, then bodies to match. Canon had a nice rangefinder system that eventually combined the basic Leica layout with some innovative features, Nikon combined the Contax mount and layout with the far simpler better Leica shutter. A dozen smaller manufacturers existed. Off the top of my head, Minolta, Pentax, Ricoh, Topcon, Yashica ,Miranda, Mamiya, Bronica, I’m probably leaving some out.They all went to SLR cameras by about 1960 and developed their own proprietary lens mounts and everything else. Aside from a few smaller manufacturers who shared a universal mount, which I can’t remember who they were, virtually nothing interchanged except the threaded fitting on the tripod mount and the flash shoe. The level of interchangeability varied and the more detailed systems had motor drives, bulk backs, interchangeable finders with or without integral meters, specialized microscope/ telescope attachments, and a bewildering array of “other stuff”.

    Canon and Nikon were generally considered the superior optical houses. Nikkor lenses were in extensive use for enlarging and process camera use and mounted in shutters for large format use. Canon , Pentax and Minolta had full system cameras fully competitive in depth with Nikon, but Nikon captured an overwhelming majority of professional users. Between the early sixties and the late 1990s or early 2000s, Nikon had between 75 and 85% of revenue 35mm camera users. Of the rest, the Leica M system rangefinder had a small slice of people in fields like courtroom photography, the Leicaflex had a few because of the belief that Leitz optics were better than pro Nikkors (it was an audiophile-level ‘debate’ with lots of babble,e.g., “bokeh”) and Canon had a small slice, as did Olympus, because their OM systems were smaller and lighter although widely agreed not as rugged as the F Nikons.

    The key to this tremendous domination in working pro users was a thing called the Nikon Professional Service. Nikon didn’t give out free cameras, but they made repairs on a 24 hour basis in New York and three or four other cities in the US and several more internationally, they provided loaner cameras for pros with failed ones, rented exotic pieces for unusual tasks, and generally served as a camera concierge service. There was a fee to join, but it did not come close to covering the cost. The kicker was that you had to actually be a working professional photographer, not just having been employed or having been paid for your photography, but actually earning the majority of your income from photography, and being able to prove it. Unless you had a full time job with a major newspaper or agency or similar, you had to submit tax paperwork.

    Frank Sinatra, who had been paid for shooting several prize fights, could not get a NPS card despite a lot of wheedling and effort. He refused to use Nikons after that. They finally relented and gave Inge Morath one, but it took a lot of work on the part of the Magnum photo agency. Being married to Arthur Miller, they figured she was an amateur or hobbyist of some sort.

    NPS is still in business, but in the digital era is not quite as big a deal and Canon and several other vendors have more professional market share than was the case previously. They are still just as exclusive. A NPS card is still a major status symbol in certain circles.

    Having so dominated the pro ranks, every celebrity and wannabe soaking in the Seventies alleged glory of the photojournalism “profession” had to have a Nikon too. Nikon was dominant among this supposed smart set in LA and New York too and so when a serious camera was shown on TV or in the movies it tended to be a Nikon too.

    The best Nikkors were actually some of the best optics made, a fact proven by the heavy use of Nikkors in modified mounts by the motion picture industry. Nikon did a fair bit of work for Panavision as well as many of their still camera long lenses being modified with industry standard cine mounts by independent houses. This actually led to famous shortages of some lenses as the Japanese would only make some predetermined amount and all would be bought up by Hollywood contractors. Throughout the serious 35mm and medium format world, the better lens makers tended only to make their lenses for OEM users with which they had exclusive contracts, i.e., Nikon wouldn’t make Hasselblad mount lenses and Zeiss Ikon wouldn’t make ones for Nikon or whoever on their own. Independent third party lens manufacturers like Vivitar did, but these were not taken seriously by pro users. Canon several years ago had the balls to run an ad that said, “Nothing says amateur like third party lenses”. Well, Canon, how did you get started? Oh yeah, making optics for Leicas and Contaxes. I wrote them and called them “cunts”: they didn’t respond.

    A few really high end optical houses made lenses independently, but they were uncommon and usually existed to fill specific contracts.

    The rangefinder interchangeable lens 35mm camera was pretty well abandoned by the Japanese once the SLR came out. Leica plugged away with the excellent but still overpriced M series, models after the original M3 being cheapened significantly internally but the buyers did not care. A large percentage of Jewish amateurs bought Leicas for whatever reason and a surprising number bought them and never opened the package: sealed box new M Leicas are fairly common, which is almost unheard of with, say, Nikons.

    The specific Jewishness of the Leicaphile community is notable and probably significant somehow. (In St. Louis it was obvious). I’m guessing they bought 50% or more of M Leicas and even more Leicaflexes of those imported into the US. Unlike the M rangefinder models, the Leicaflex cameras were clunky and some even somewhat troublesome. Leica also made a bewildering range of accessories some of which were elegantly simple and some actually not very good, like the watermelon-on-a-stick enlarger. Leitz optical superiority was arguable-they were said to have traded off edge sharpness for contrast, and there were those who claimed they could pick Leica vs. anything else negs out off a contact sheet. I’m guessing they were relying on some artifact of the edge, like the two little “teeth” on Hasselblad negatives.

    All this is ancient history now. Film photography is a legacy activity in that no one actually makes film cameras any longer besides junk like the Holgas, and the Japanese will never start again because that would be admitting loss of face. The Russians and Ukrainians had a camera industry but AFAIK that was all gutted out in the early oligarch days. It remains to be seen whether it can maintain enough volume to stay supported or whether it will simply vanish as film manufacturers just quit. But the foibles and peculiarities of that industry are interesting to study. Why did the camera industry keep everything as proprietary as possible while manufacturers of, say, socket wrenches rapidly went to common sizes? Why did 24x36mm remain universal despite its aspect ratio not matching the 4×5 common size of enlarging paper? “A million questions you could ask.”

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  130. @Anonymous

    I had a few Olympus SLRs. They were small and light, which was a good thing, but I usually only got about 3 years out of them (although one of them I lost to rust due to a giant wave on the Na Pali coast of Kaui.

  131. Sparkon says:

    The OM-1 and OM-2 were little jewels, and several pros I knew used them. There was a movement in the 1970s away from big cameras toward smaller, lighter SLRs and lenses, because, speaking of bricks, who wants to lug around a Nikon F all day?

    I was about to buy an OM-2 when Pentax introduced the even smaller ME and MX in the late ’70s along with some neat downsized lenses, and I had to have one of those.

    Anon[427] made some accurate comments about Nikon having the certified pro caché, with big snob appeal for a long time, which was itself a turn-off to no small numbers of amateurs and pros, so it cuts both ways. Now that advantage and some of the snob appeal has eroded away to Canon, but those two still dominate the current DSLR market, with several others in a hot battle fighting over the scraps for 3rd place, including Pentax, Fujifilm, Olympus, Sony, and Panasonic. All these companies make excellent cameras capable of taking outstanding photographs, even most of the point ‘n’ shoot models.

    Among many photographers, there is a lot of fixation on pixel peeping, resolution, fast lenses, and arguments about image quality, and various bragging rights about this or that feature, which is all fine and well, but I do a lot of my photography these days with a small 12MP Canon Powershot digicam, which has some of the expected noise from the small sensor, but sports a real 10x zoom lens with excellent 24mm – 240mm range. Most of my shots with the little camera are at 24mm. Addition of the CHDK software adds bracketing, time lapse and a host of trick features to the ELPH, which closes up smaller than the size of a deck of playing cards, or 9.5mm x 5.5mm x 1.7mm, and gets lost in a pocket.

    I don’t have to lug around a DSLR, but still have a good-enough camera available. My smartphones are middling pay as you go models with pretty crappy cameras, although the HD video is good enough, but I’ll continue to use a real camera for the foreseeable future, and a DSLR for portrait work, birding, night sky photography and such where the extra resolution, bigger sensor, better glass, and less noise pay dividends.

    My affection for the Argus C3 Brick resides in the fact that I expanded and advanced my photographic skills while using the 35mm rangefinder, which had entirely manual control of shutter speed, lens aperture, and focus coupled with the rangefinder, but with no built in light meter to tell you how to expose your shot. You had to eyeball it, compare your light with “sunny 16,” and work from there.

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