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Saturday, December 02, 2017

Fair enough

Derb highlights a line of demarcation:
Since I have no clue what the Alt Right perspective is, I went for inspiration to someone who believes he does know. This is the blogger Vox Day, who last year published a 16-point Alt Right Manifesto. In my address to the Mencken Club I read off Vox Day’s points and passed comment on each one.

As a format for a talk, this has somewhat of cheating about it; but spirits were so high, nobody minded, and my talk went over well with the audience.

Not so much with Vox Day, who picked nits with my comments on his website a few days later. That’s okay, and all in good argumentative combat. I respect Vox Day as an ally in the Cultural Counterrevolution, as well as a writer of wit and courage. We disagree about many things, but our disagreements are cordial.

Our deepest disagreement is anyway just temperamental. In the language of We Are Doomed, Chapter 7: he’s a religionist, I’m a biologian. He thinks the universe cares about the human race, and even about individual persons; I see no evidence of either thing. He thinks we are a unique creation, kissed with magic; I think we’re smart chimps.

There’s no use arguing about this. The difference is, as I said, temperamental, most likely genetic. It shouldn’t stop us liking and respecting each other, and acknowledging that both personality types have a part to play in the Cultural Counterrevolution.
I could not agree more with the general sentiment. I like and respect Derb, who remains one of my favorite Dissident Right writers as well as the author of the only math book I have ever really enjoyed reading. I am no more troubled by the fact that we disagree on this, that, and the other thing than I am by the fact that my sexual preferences happen to differ considerably from my friend Milo's.

That being said, contra Derb, I do think it can be useful to argue about these things, even when our opposing positions are intractable. I do see real value in intellectual opponents who can disagree vehemently and yet still get along on a personal level. My economic arguments have been honed by opponents like Nate and Dr. James Miller, as well as the guy who challenged me to review Henry Hazlitt's arguments.

Not so much, however, by this next fellow. As is so often the case when someone thinks he has caught me out in a mistake, he has only demonstrated his inability to understand what I have written or the conclusions that naturally follow. For some reason, this gentlemen elected to CC me in his email to John Derbyshire, in which he claimed that I had inadvertently made the opposite of the case I was making without anyone even noticing. Except himself, of course.

One would think that would have been his first clue...Note that this is written by a community college professor, demonstrating once more that the self-professed intellectual elite is actually composed of midwits who overestimate their own capabilities and don't understand their own subjects very well:
John,

Having embarrassed myself in our emails and at our single meeting (AmRen15) I had been resolved to communicate with you less, but you suffer fools gladly so I venture again with this.

I am not an “economic ignoramus” having taught micro- and macro- for eleven years (community college, adjunct faculty – more public service than income source) but I have long had the exact same question as the one you posed:  Why does free trade require free movement of peoples? I note from the Vox Day response that it does not, though he would be surprised by that reading.

He wrote two paragraphs.  In the first he wrote “by definition” and so creates a tautology:  Free trade requires that trade be free.  More specifically, an engineer who travels to install a piece of equipment and the returns home is not a migrant.  There is nothing about the importation of automobiles (or any other merchandise) that requires the importation of people.  Call it the difference between free trade and absolutely free trade.

To wit:  If Americans drink Mexican beer, it is because we import the beer.  The beer has cost components that are relevant to the manufacturer in Mexico but irrelevant to the gringo imbiber, such as direct materials, direct labor and overhead.  (I am a CPA too.)  The Budweiser employee in Saint Louis may see his hours cut back due to the good efforts of the Dos Equis employee south of the border, but no economist without an agenda would call that “importing labor.”

In the case of “absolutely free trade” where factors of production can cross borders as freely as merchandise, theoretical economics predicts “factor price equalization” and we would expect brewer employees both north and south of the border to be paid the same wage in equilibrium.  In his second paragraph, he writes of “maximum efficiencies” and “maximum growth potential” – very theoretical stuff.

But he gives the game away where he writes “any failure to restrict this travel will necessarily create inefficiencies” (though he of course meant “any travel restriction will necessarily create inefficiencies”) which concedes a key point:  Free trade in merchandise without free trade in all factors of production (e.g. labor) is still beneficial to both parties, even if not maximally.

Imagine a world where ethnocontinents are stable but comparative advantages differ.  Africa could send gold to North America in exchange for computers and both would benefit.  If there are no North American gold miners, we can live with that small inefficiency reflected in a slightly higher price of gold.  We could have all the gold be want simply by importing it.  And if the Africans use Dell computers to enslave and murder each other, that has no weight in calculating gains from trade.

Trump is wrong on trade; it is not a zero-sum game.  As I had preached for eleven years, “trade fosters peace” because both parties develop an interest in a friendly on-going relationship.  However, trade (excepting “absolutely free trade” comprehending factor mobility) does not demand emigration/immigration.  Indeed, a person relocating internationally is not an act of “trade.”  Build the wall, yes, but run railroads through it.
There is no game to be given away. I conceded absolutely nothing. Let's look closely at this "key point".
But he gives the game away where he writes “any failure to restrict this travel will necessarily create inefficiencies” (though he of course meant “any travel restriction will necessarily create inefficiencies”) which concedes a key point:  Free trade in merchandise without free trade in all factors of production (e.g. labor) is still beneficial to both parties, even if not maximally. 
Now, what two points is the clueless professor failing to take into account here? And beyond that, speaking of "very theoretical stuff", where is the evidence that free trade in goods without free trade in labor is even materially possible in a world where inexpensive global travel is available to the average laborer? I observe that the free traders have it entirely backwards now, as their theory does not even begin to account for the fact that labor can now move more easily, more inexpensively, and more freely than goods can.

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97 Comments:

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents December 02, 2017 1:23 PM  

Some professor
As I had preached for eleven years, “trade fosters peace” because both parties develop an interest in a friendly on-going relationship.

"Trade fosters peace", that explains why the very high level of international trade in 1912 preceded a world wide war. Are all economic types ignorant of history or does it just seem that way?

Anonymous a deplorable rubberducky December 02, 2017 1:24 PM  

It's absolutely true that labor is moving freer than goods. Maersk and IBM studied the problem of moving just one ship:

"Maersk found in 2014 that just a simple shipment of refrigerated goods from East Africa to Europe can go through nearly 30 people and organizations, including more than 200 different interactions and communications among them." -- from http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/51712.wss

Compared to hopping on a plane or meandering across a de facto unsecured border?

Blogger Matt December 02, 2017 1:27 PM  

No, no, it just has been tried properly. The Free Trade we've had so far, wasn't the real Free Trade.

Anonymous Rfvujm December 02, 2017 1:37 PM  

The more life experience I gain, the more truth I see in "those who can't, teach."

Blogger Austin Ballast December 02, 2017 1:38 PM  

You still have blinders on VD. Free trade in goods does not require free trade in people, assuming people are not the goods.

The principle "free trade" may imply freely trading anything, but taking that to the extreme would mean that it would also allow free trade in human organs, something I don't see any modern free trade advocate pushing.

I originally started this reply with emphasizing the ongoing point that you are wrong in this area, but it hits me as I write it that this seems more like a different definition in terms.

You have made assertions in the past in this area that don't fit and I don't expect you to change. You also fail to address the reverse complication of "who decides" on which trade should or should not happen. That is a key part of the other side of the coin in this issue that you completely fail to address.

Pointing out the failures with letting one side take advantage of a free trade structure needs to be balanced with a look at the implications of having specific individuals controlling the trade.

On the free producer movement issue: Freely allowing the sale of board games between countries without a tariff or other limitation does not in any way imply that the production of those games, including the labor to do so, must be able to freely move around anymore than than it requires factories can literally freely move. Some may desire the free movement of workers as well, but that is their self interest, not some inherent design of the idea that board games should be able to freely move around.

(Pick whatever item instead of board games. I use that as a practical example.)

This is not as well argued as I would like, but the point should get across.

VD, you treat this idea more as an axiom than something you have really proven. That is a basic flaw. It may seem obvious to you, but that does not make it true.

OpenID markstoval December 02, 2017 1:45 PM  

"I do see real value in intellectual opponents who can disagree vehemently and yet still get along on a personal level."

Once upon a time, the Universities preached that very sentiment. We got closer to truth by debating things. We were not to get angry or hate our opponents; rather, mankind progressed by the debates --- we needed our opponents.

In science, everyone is SUPPOSED to try to prove you wrong. If many try and no one can prove you wrong, then you may well be correct and mankind has learned something.

But "liberals" (the left is certainly not Classically Liberal) run on emotion and HATE logic and fact. God help us, they have destroyed much of science and all of the university.

F'em.

Anonymous Magna Carta December 02, 2017 1:48 PM  

vdare.com mentions Vox Day also by John Derbyshire

Anonymous Magna Carta December 02, 2017 1:51 PM  

@1 "'Trade fosters peace', that explains why the very high level of international trade in 1912 preceded a world wide war. Are all economic types ignorant of history or does it just seem that way?"

So, we can't rule out war with China? Darn.

Blogger Akulkis December 02, 2017 1:53 PM  

China's trade with us is a deliberate step in their plans to go to war with us.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Fine Purveyor of Quality Artisanal Gorm ) December 02, 2017 2:11 PM  

Retard
He wrote two paragraphs. In the first he wrote “by definition” and so creates a tautology: Free trade requires that trade be free.


a - Vox didn't create the term
b - defining the meaning of ANY word or phrase IS a "tautology" ... by definition
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/tautology?s=t
"the use of words that merely repeat elements of the meaning already conveyed"

a dictionary itself is nothing more than an extensive collection of Tautologies. and no one seems to have a problem with Webster.

so ... shame on Vox for being compared to one of the Founders?


Retard
theoretical economics predicts “factor price equalization” and we would expect brewer employees both north and south of the border to be paid the same wage in equilibrium.



ie - a tautological expression of the common concept on the Alt-Right that US Globalists ( applied Marxism ) are waging a wage price war against US Labor ... because the fREEEEEEEEtraders are trying to drive the wages of the St Louis brewery worker down to the same level as the Mexican brewery worker.

note how he's carefully not mentioning external-to-production factors such as EPA and OSHA regs ... which place extra expense on top of US labor thereby requiring US labor to be either more efficient to his Mexican counterpart OR paid less than his Mexican counterpart simply in order to keep his job from being moved across the border.

strange how that works.

Blogger dc.sunsets December 02, 2017 2:13 PM  

As usual, we see a correlation treated as a causation. Trade fosters peace? Why not peace fosters trade?

Better, why not trust fosters trade & peace? Why not (pathological) trust fosters self-destructive trade & movement of people?

Why not conclude that a time of unprecedented global openness, trade & mass movement of people is exactly what we should expect will precede a massive and unprecedented trend toward distrust, trade collapse & warfare?

Or has history truly ended & mankind stumbled into Utopia, Nirvana, Shangri-la & the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth?

Blogger Koanic December 02, 2017 2:15 PM  

American mercenary labor mobility is a sin Naboth died to avoid.

Anonymous Gen. Kong December 02, 2017 2:32 PM  

note how he's carefully not mentioning external-to-production factors such as EPA and OSHA regs ... which place extra expense on top of US labor thereby requiring US labor to be either more efficient to his Mexican counterpart OR paid less than his Mexican counterpart simply in order to keep his job from being moved across the border.

They don't have little details like "affirmative action" and HR Departments staffed by insane SJWs with degrees in transgender studies in other countries either. Just pay the local narco gangbangers their cut on time. Oh wait, Fred Reed told us Mexico is the next tech giant...

Blogger kurt9 December 02, 2017 2:35 PM  

I view this stuff in terms of decentralization vs. centralization, and always favor decentralization. Is it reasonable to consider alt-right as decentralization alternative to the centralization of globalism? Promulgating it in this manner would certainly make it more palatable to libertarian types.

Anonymous Just another commenter December 02, 2017 2:35 PM  

Free trade requires we export US pollution and worker exploitation to China and Mexico.
The stringent labor and pollution laws in the US substantially drive up the cost of production here, meaning they'll go to places with less stringent laws which are a major part of the reason it's cheaper there. We all live on the same planet. Ergo, when we push our laws to be hyper-green, we guarantee MORE pollution (foreign production) than having less-green laws would allow.

What is more, free trade means as labor costs fall, transportation cost become a larger portion of the cost of a good, and that makes places further from the coast less competitive, pushing more people into the fragile and stressed coastal ecosystems. Because people will be concentrated, and fewer people will be needed for manufacturing, there will be an increase in demand for tourism, which will use more fossil fuels and encourage international travel and pandemics.

I.E., the "greens" not only hate western workers, they hate the planet!

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Fine Purveyor of Quality Artisanal Gorm ) December 02, 2017 2:42 PM  

*shrugs*

well, i didn't mention Central Bank shenanigans with Money Supply either. or Corp tax rates. etc, etc.

that's why i said "such as". i merely chose a couple of examples from a wide cornucopia of possible options.

include others as you see fit.



VD
Now, what two points is the clueless professor failing to take into account here?


well, ONE of them would be that if you take a Favela dweller who is living on < $1000 per annum and allow him to fREEEEEEly immigrate ( as Obama was doing ) to St Louis and compete with an entry level St Louis brewery worker
...
the Brazilian would be happy to work for minimum wage where the American citizen would not.

thus, the American citizen has been rendered an "inefficiency" in his own home and through no action of his own.

Blogger WynnLloyd December 02, 2017 2:50 PM  

That's pleasantly surprising about Derbyshire. His statement is more in the same vein as his high quality writings. It's good to know; maybe he doesn't fit the stodgy and pedantic "British professor" stereotype after all.

Blogger WynnLloyd December 02, 2017 2:52 PM  

(OT) could anyone point me towards an analysis of the GE's tax plan? My sister is adamant that middle class people will be destroyed by it, which seems unlikely to me.

Blogger Cloom Glue December 02, 2017 3:08 PM  

Ignoring externalities, which got mentioned already, above @10/13/15, I see two problems with free trade such that I did not anticipate it being managed this way:

1) The world central bankers sustain the fast growing imports of goods and immigrants with debt growth.

Thus, I reluctantly concede ending free trade would be easier than perpetually fighting interlocking world central bankers, who have their own contrary objectives; anti-market-balance objectives.

2) The globalist governments insist on free movement of labour as a requirement of trade. It is not a moral imperative but their writings say it is. For example, I should be able to buy bananas in Candida, because they will never grow here, without inviting the grower to live here. Globalists insist bananas=immigration.

My conclusion is there is never a market equilibrium because of immigration, and because of the finance side of the equation, in this way:

If the door to immigration is not shut, then the immigration influences wages lower such that the new excess labour imbalance encourages more business profit from more immigration in a never ending cycle.

Additionally, the import of some, as useless people, creates its own demand for goods because the nation's central bank grows government deficits to sustain the welfare payments to unproductive people. That effect is also profitable to businesses and makes both kinds of immigration attractive to business.

My conclusion is central banking, both nationally and internationally, attracts fast growing immigration and fast growing goods imports, both of which would be slower, if deficits were not financed.

Finance caused historically over-sized profit margins (grossly so, since 2011, and not mean-reverting, so far), and caused the migration of people, and there is no new equilibrium state, like a normal free market.

I think none of this is axiomatic of free trade. It is only a result of socialism and immigration, combined with out of control central banking debt growth: internationally owned debt, and governmental debt issuance, and corporate and personal debt issuance.

Cutting off trade would be easier than perpetually managing the central bank's influence on finance because trade cut-off would be a one time decision. Central banking is autonomous and can't be controlled just once.

Apparently, cutting off trade would then be taken as a moral equivalent of cutting off immigration. I favour ending immigration anyway, for the homogeneous genetics giving us liberty/limited government, and for our national survival. So be it.

I learned we have to do what achieves our objectives, like trade was used against us.

Blogger Dire Badger December 02, 2017 3:20 PM  

This always gets me... why do 'free traders' never take into account the fact that EVERY part of trade costs money, a bill that is usually footed by the population?

that freeway? It cost huge amounts of money to build, it costs huge amounts of money to maintain.
The fact that you can move your merchandise south of the border without being attacked by raiders? That costs money... LOTS of money.

Protection from Pirates? Money.
fear of consequences for robbing you? Money... cops and jails.
The lights in your store? Money, most likely vastly more from the taxpayer's pocket than YOU will ever repay.

The thing is, when you move your manufacturing to another country, You are basically stealing all that money that is invested in infrastructure and protection by taxpayers, and all the part of your business that SHOULD repay that investment (bills, employee wages, etc) are being paid out to another country... In a very real way you are assisting that country to STEAL money right out of our economic pockets, and increasing your profit margins enormously in the bargain through labor and property disparity?

Why can't free traders understand just how UNETHICAL that is? That pat themselves on the back for being 'smart', the same way a bank robber probably pats himself on the back after a successful heist.

These people are Despicable.

Blogger dadofhomeschoolers December 02, 2017 3:21 PM  

I have acquaintances who are airline pilots. They refer to the passengers as "self loading cargo".
Seems kind of appropriate.

Anonymous vfm 0202 December 02, 2017 3:26 PM  

"But "liberals" (the left is certainly not Classically Liberal) run on emotion and HATE logic and fact."

I found a proposition that could be rendered more truthier by removing "logic and fact"!

"But "liberals" (the left is certainly not Classically Liberal) run on emotion and HATE."

Must purchase bow ties, fame awaits.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents December 02, 2017 3:34 PM  

Part of the free trade era of 1912 was the free movement of people. Muh Ellis Island! But not just to America. Italians would travel to Argentina for a season of work, then take their money and family back home for a different season. Trans-Atlantic steamships were reliable. Canada, Australia, South Africa, the list goes on.

Derbyshire is pragmatic enough to know an ally when he sees one. He was a full on Commie in his youth, so credit for coming to his senses. Too bad he married a Chinese Commie though. She's one reason he quit on even a touch of Christianity.

Blogger Akulkis December 02, 2017 3:36 PM  

@Dire Badger


Not merely despicable, they are Treasonous.

Blogger pyrrhus December 02, 2017 3:36 PM  

"Trump is wrong on trade; it is not a zero-sum game. As I had preached for eleven years, “trade fosters peace” because both parties develop an interest in a friendly on-going relationship."

Norman Angell became famous this thesis in the The Great Illusion(1910), which contended that war was impossible between the European powers because of their strong trade relationships....Didn't work out that way.

Blogger VD December 02, 2017 3:39 PM  

You still have blinders on VD. Free trade in goods does not require free trade in people, assuming people are not the goods.

Quite the contrary. You're simply dishonest. The same arguments that apply to free trade in goods apply to everything else. That's like saying "free trade in goods does not require free trade in automobiles and children's toys."

The principle "free trade" may imply freely trading anything, but taking that to the extreme would mean that it would also allow free trade in human organs, something I don't see any modern free trade advocate pushing.

It doesn't "imply" it, it openly states it. The fact that modern free trade advocates are dishonest does not weaken my argument, but strengthens it. What is special about human organs that precludes their free trade being beneficial, especially when they are so much more important and valuable than children's toys?

Blogger pyrrhus December 02, 2017 3:40 PM  

What this CC midwit also missed is that when jobs disappear in an industry in one country due to free trade, skilled workers in that industry will often need to move to another country to obtain employment...Furthermore, the capital in the destroyed industry will become useless and sit around blotting the landscape for decades afterward. I witnessed a great deal of this growing up in the northern Midwest.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 02, 2017 3:44 PM  

Free trade (i.e. building stuff in foreign places with foreign workers) is about the only thing thst has allowed control freak libs to get away with OSHA, EPA, HR depts. and the rest. Without free trade as an outlet, the gears would have already ground to a halt. Instead, the insanity has been enabled to reach catastrophic levels of baked in ruin.

Blogger pyrrhus December 02, 2017 3:46 PM  

Derb obviously is not very strong in the physical sciences, but it's a wonder that he hasn't noticed (as many physicists have) that there are more than 60 physical constants that must be within extremely narrow ranges for any life to exist, let alone intelligent life...How does that stack up with his "indifferent universe" theory?

Blogger pyrrhus December 02, 2017 3:49 PM  

@28 Yes, and what was the mass immigration of Irish, Chinese, and Germans in the 19th century except the importation of cheap labor for the intentional displacement of American native workers?

Blogger FUBARwest December 02, 2017 3:50 PM  

It's obviously just random chance that those 60 different physical constants exists at just the right range for life here on Earth. Duh.

Haven't you heard? We are simply in one universe in a multiverse and every permutation is played out in every universe apart of said multiverse. That's why we are here. It's all rng. So praise RNGESUS!

Blogger Starboard December 02, 2017 3:58 PM  

If I understand this correctly, free trade requires the free movement of labor to where materials and production are cheapest. Without that free movement, populations are stuck in production deserts. We see this within the US as industries rise and fall, and the labor chases around to follow the boom. I'm thinking specifically of the gold rush, the fracking boom, the car industry, aviation plants, defense contracts, etc. As industries fail, they leave a dying community behind. I'm thinking Detroit and the mining communities of West Virginia. Do I have that right?

A consequence of free movement of labor within the US is that our regional culture is weakened as people and families come and go. We've traveled far and wide in work related moves over many years. We're to the point now where no home feels like home. Can this observation be scaled for international free trade? I think so. But then again, econ is far outside my knowledge base.

Anonymous JAG December 02, 2017 4:05 PM  

FUBARwest wrote:It's obviously just random chance that those 60 different physical constants exists at just the right range for life here on Earth. Duh.

Haven't you heard? We are simply in one universe in a multiverse and every permutation is played out in every universe apart of said multiverse. That's why we are here. It's all rng. So praise RNGESUS!


The Scientism version of "because God made it that way."

Funny how they don't realize that.

Blogger Rashadjin December 02, 2017 4:17 PM  

@5 Austin Ballast

The principle "free trade" may imply freely trading anything, but taking that to the extreme would mean that it would also allow free trade in human organs, something I don't see any modern free trade advocate pushing.

Irrelevant sophistry. Let me guess, you're affiliated with/a product of the Austin college network in same way too?

It's my observation that Vox works the word definition 'tautology' side of things in the 'this is what you are saying and these are the implied axioms' sense. Both are crucial points to hammer out if you want a discussion to go anywhere. Otherwise, people will just be talking at each other across the gulf of their disparate conceptual worlds.

I may have crystallized this down incorrectly, but Vox's free trade requires free movement of labor is in the 'if you want free trade [to work correctly according to how the economic system is sold]' sense.

Free Trade was sold in a world where the means of high-tech production weren't easily transported all across the planet. The idea was that America would sell computers to Africa in exchange for raw materials and low-tech goods like clothing.

The reality soon turned out to be that Africa became the world's mine and Asia became the world's manufacturing plant for lots of reasons (roughly summed up as cost of labor + regulatory burden + quality of life expectations). This gutted out job opportunities for the poor and working class who use to sustain their quality of life on mining and manufacturing type jobs - jobs that didn't require upper crust IQ-tied capabilities.

So in order for 'Free Trade' to 'work as intended', working class Americans need to be able to land jobs in Africa and Asia. Or Mexico if we want to be a bit more down to Earth about it.

Which doesn't even scratch at the problems of 3rd World Countries being the planet's mining/agriculture, 2nd World Countries being the world's manufacturing plant, and 1st World Countries being the culture/innovation/service hubs setup that Free Trade has bequeathed us. Oversimplified as that may or may not be, the world economy is still a house of cards teetering ever closer to collapse, and much of it is the result of Free Trade policies scattering production chains and nation sustaining job markets all to hell the planet over.

For a concrete example, the extent that the Middle East isn't Africa is because of oil exports. North America moving to an oil sufficient/export economic stance means that the Middle East is screwed. Saudi Arabia has put in 2 Trillion to try and retool their economy off oil exports in the hope that it'll save them from the coming collapse. Of course, something like a major chunk of their population is idle because of SA's government pacifying them off oil riches all their lives, so pessimism is very warranted. Nevermind that their technical workers are majority foreigners. Yay Free Trade, which is designed to create lopsided economies like this.

Anonymous rienzi December 02, 2017 4:19 PM  

"As I had preached for eleven years, “trade fosters peace” because both parties develop an interest in a friendly on-going relationship."

In the years before WW1, Germany and Great Britain were each others largest trading partner. Mr. Community College Professor has been preaching a false dogma these past eleven years.

Anonymous FP December 02, 2017 4:26 PM  

Austin Ballast wrote:You still have blinders on VD. Free trade in goods does not require free trade in people, assuming people are not the goods.

The principle "free trade" may imply freely trading anything, but taking that to the extreme would mean that it would also allow free trade in human organs, something I don't see any modern free trade advocate pushing.


Then you no longer have free but restrictionist trade. Oh, wait... that pesky morality and values thing. But it's still free trade, because we say so! Look up Fellowes paper shredder company and their experience with free trade in China. But hey, cheap knock-offs for everyone.

From the Professor/CPA: "As I had preached for eleven years, “trade fosters peace” because both parties develop an interest in a friendly on-going relationship."

Until it doesn't. See war of 1812 (new england losing its trade monies) or 1861-65.

Anonymous fop December 02, 2017 4:26 PM  

Derb thinks "smart chimps" spontaneously appear on giant space rocks.

What a dumbass.



Blogger VD December 02, 2017 4:37 PM  

I may have crystallized this down incorrectly, but Vox's free trade requires free movement of labor is in the 'if you want free trade [to work correctly according to how the economic system is sold]' sense.

It's more than that. IF you do not permit the free movement of labor, THEN you will not achieve the maximum economic efficiency that is the entire purpose of selling the free trade concept. You will not get anywhere near it; you're just another restricted trade advocate drawing the line in a different place.

Blogger VD December 02, 2017 4:38 PM  

A consequence of free movement of labor within the US is that our regional culture is weakened as people and families come and go. We've traveled far and wide in work related moves over many years. We're to the point now where no home feels like home. Can this observation be scaled for international free trade?

Yes. And yes.

Blogger JohnofAustria December 02, 2017 4:50 PM  

Alright I'm not a big brain economics nibba like this guy but a very quick bit of Googling and reading seems to indicate that the MPL curve is exactly the reason why you have to have free movement of Labor if you have free movement of capital. If capital movement is used to reduce costs but labor can't move then you will always have higher actual wages than the real wage and thus the same rents you're trying to avoid with capital movement still exist but on the labor side.

I guess you could probably avoid that by not letting Capital move, but then we give the game away.

Anonymous ZhukovG December 02, 2017 4:50 PM  

Free Trade is as utopian as the 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' or the Libertarian 'Anarcho-Capitalist' Paradise. As with all utopian ventures, attempts to create it invariably cause incalculable if unintentional(?) harm.

Blogger Lazarus December 02, 2017 4:51 PM  

VD wrote:The same arguments that apply to free trade in goods apply to everything else.

And people who argue for open borders do exactly that.:

There is a strong parallel between free trade and free immigration. In one sense, free immigration (open borders for people) is simply free trade in labor and what economists have called “human capital.” The utilitarian/welfare/efficiency arguments that are commonly employed in favor for free trade in goods can also be applied to free trade in labor. Further, given that labor is quantitatively a more significant factor of production than the other factors of production, the economic arguments apply with stronger force to labor than they do to goods. As the double world GDP page documents, the economic literature is largely agreed on the point that removal of barriers to labor mobility would have substantially greater positive impacts on world GDP than removal of barriers to trade and capital flows.

Blogger Aeoli Pera December 02, 2017 4:51 PM  

I just learned that reading things that are wrong makes me tired. Now I want comfort food, TV, etc.

Blogger Rashadjin December 02, 2017 4:53 PM  

@38 VD

It's more than that. IF you do not permit the free movement of labor, THEN you will not achieve the maximum economic efficiency that is the entire purpose of selling the free trade concept. You will not get anywhere near it; you're just another restricted trade advocate drawing the line in a different place.

I belatedly had the sense that I'd failed to get labor properly encased in the theory side of things.

I'd crystallize that down to "Labor is a resource that can be traded, so 'Free Trade' requires the free trade of labor to include the version where any laborer should be able to apply their labor anywhere." Which is also to maximize efficiency.

Anonymous Tyson December 02, 2017 5:08 PM  

"A consequence of free movement of labor within the US is that our regional culture is weakened as people and families come and go. We've traveled far and wide in work related moves over many years. We're to the point now where no home feels like home. Can this observation be scaled for international free trade?"

http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-malinalco-tetatzin-20171201-htmlstory.html

"He re-immersed in the religious and cultural ceremonies he had forgotten while living in the U.S. When his family hosted a large altar to the Virgin Mary at home for several days as part of a local Catholic tradition, he volunteered to help. It filled his heart to see Angela reciting prayers in front of their neighbors, and his father explaining to the girls what it all meant.

While in the U.S., Tetatzin had left for work before sunrise and come back long after dark; now he ate breakfast and dinner with his family, and traversed the city without fear of the police.

“At least here we are free,” he said. “And we’re together.”"

Blogger tuberman December 02, 2017 5:19 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Rashadjin December 02, 2017 5:22 PM  

OP - Derbyshire

There’s no use arguing about this. The difference is, as I said, temperamental, most likely genetic. It shouldn’t stop us liking and respecting each other, and acknowledging that both personality types have a part to play in the Cultural Counterrevolution.

To pick more nits, this is actually more of a cultural divide than temperamental or genetic. Part of which involves the conceptualization of what it means to 'believe [the unprovable]' and where that line is drawn.

So Vox is correct in the use of arguing the points even so. The 'temperamental, most likely genetic' is just an a priori dodge to avoid having to contend with base assumptions and drawn lines, even if base assumptions and drawn lines are very unlikely to change.

Anonymous Heywood December 02, 2017 5:28 PM  

FUBARwest wrote:Haven't you heard? We are simply in one universe in a multiverse and every permutation is played out in every universe apart of said multiverse. That's why we are here. It's all rng. So praise RNGESUS!
Gents, don't be like that guy over at high-alphabet-letter-man blog who couldn't be bothered to understand first thing about the notion he was criticizing, despite having it pointed out to him by numerous readers. If you wonder what the standard response to the quandary you're pointing out is, check the anthropic principle. Then feel free to criticize that, but none of this straw man tilting, please.

OnT: I am now wondering if there might be a case for "free exchange of physical goods" as opposed to free trade, something that would exclude people and services explicitly - would the efficiency and competitive gains carry the associated social costs? Not in the 1 ppm world, of course, but theoretically.

Blogger FSL December 02, 2017 5:40 PM  

So I get that if you're a pure free trader, it makes no sense to stop at goods and you gotta go to workers as well.

But isn't it possible to realize that Muslim Iranian worker A is not convertible with Christian American worker B, and so on that basis and in the interests of less terrorism to limit one's free trade to goods? It seems like it should at least conceptually be possible. Darn it, I like my cheap Chinese goods, even if I don't like people blowing themselves up down the road every week. Can't I have my cake and eat it too?

Anonymous Rocklea December 02, 2017 5:46 PM  

"
I'd crystallize that down to "Labor is a resource that can be traded, so 'Free Trade' requires the free trade of labor to include the version where any laborer should be able to apply their labor anywhere." Which is also to maximize efficiency."

Plus they come pre-assembled with virtually zero production costs, when imported.

Anonymous Just another commenter December 02, 2017 5:48 PM  

Want to watch an economist's brain explode?
Tell him that maximum economic efficiency is incompatible with maximizing moral or ethical good, happiness, or retirement. It is also incompatible with most liberal arts education costs, most entertainment, high-end luxury goods, and choosing your own career, spouse, or house.

It may or may not be entirely true, but watching him tie himself in knots trying to justify his own lifestyle choices while making many false equivalencies would be fun.

Blogger Bibliotheca Servare December 02, 2017 5:50 PM  

@Dire Badger That sounds a lot like Obama when he said "You didn't build that!"

Just because a business uses interstates for travel doesn't mean that the federal government has a right to "seize" that businesses "means of production" in order to keep it from moving production to a different country. Is it wrong, in my opinion? I would say yes. But is it treason, or justification for (essentially) following the communist playbook? I really don't think so. Crippling import taxes would be preferable to state-owned industry, imo. I apologize if I'm misunderstanding your argument, and I don't intend to mischaracterize your point, if I have done so. I just read your comment, was nodding along, then suddenly realized that it sounded to me like the same rhetoric Obama was fond of.

Anonymous Just another commenter December 02, 2017 5:54 PM  

@49 - I've seen that before: government officials and statistics treat all people as interchangeable economic production units. There is zero accounting for quality or externalities.

Sorry, no. A 20 YO 105 IQ, well-adjusted and hard-working westerner isn't replaceable by a 20 YO 75 IQ illiterate Somali. Or even a 20 YO 90 IQ Mexican who works hard but will remit most of his pay back home.

Increasing US GDP =/= existing US citizens doing better.

Anonymous JAG December 02, 2017 6:00 PM  

Heywood wrote:FUBARwest wrote:Haven't you heard? We are simply in one universe in a multiverse and every permutation is played out in every universe apart of said multiverse. That's why we are here. It's all rng. So praise RNGESUS!

Gents, don't be like that guy over at high-alphabet-letter-man blog who couldn't be bothered to understand first thing about the notion he was criticizing, despite having it pointed out to him by numerous readers. If you wonder what the standard response to the quandary you're pointing out is, check the anthropic principle. Then feel free to criticize that, but none of this straw man tilting, please.

OnT: I am now wondering if there might be a case for "free exchange of physical goods" as opposed to free trade, something that would exclude people and services explicitly - would the efficiency and competitive gains carry the associated social costs? Not in the 1 ppm world, of course, but theoretically.



The Anthropic Principle is identical with the RNGesus Multiverse mentioned. It is indeed the Scientism version of "because God made it that way."

They are both worthless to the question of the origin of the only universe we know exists. The Anthropic Principle and the Multiverse Theory appeal to conditions of hypothetical other universes in an attempt to push the atheist narrative. Both violate Occam's Razor.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash December 02, 2017 6:12 PM  

It' amusing that so-called brights & self-described rationalists will accept a theory that is, in principle, untestable, and hence the mere opposite of science. It can only be accepted on faith.

Blogger SciVo December 02, 2017 6:28 PM  

Austin Ballast wrote:VD, you treat this idea more as an axiom than something you have really proven. That is a basic flaw. It may seem obvious to you, but that does not make it true.

Why do you hate babies and/or nations?

VD has actually explained it quite clearly and cogently in his own terms, but my own personal takeaway is that without the free movement of labor to go with free trade, men would be stuck unable to go where the jobs went, and unable to provide for their babies; and with it, they would leave in massive numbers and the nation would be hollowed out.

So I think that aside from those who are just unable to follow his arguments, the rest of the dissenters simply don't care about nations and/or babies.

Blogger SciVo December 02, 2017 6:41 PM  

Hypothesis: the rise of the drug cartels in Mexico is directly proportional to the free movement of labor after NAFTA, hollowing out the nation of its delta sheepdogs that would've kept the wolves in check.

Anonymous SAK December 02, 2017 6:49 PM  

@48, Heywood.

I am now wondering if there might be a case for "free exchange of physical goods" as opposed to free trade, something that would exclude people and services explicitly - would the efficiency and competitive gains carry the associated social costs?

1) Physical good producing industries will not be symmetrically distributed. There are downsides to industries leaving, or never entering, a country. At least for the country in question.

2) There are obvious military costs for a society that gets its missile guidance microchips from another nation, because they cannot do it themselves any more.

3) If goods producing industries leave the capital does not, pace most economists, magically reformulate into the most useful tools possible.
3.a) It might get shipped abroad.
3.b) And you'll probably end up with some rusting machinery. Worse, you'll have less industries and so less chance for combining existing skills and technology to create innovation.

4) If goods can move over borders, but people can't, then some people are going to struggle to be productive enough to be worth employing. Probably, quite a lot of people.But it's okay, cheap foreign goods will be cheap.

That's some initial thoughts. I am sure there is a lot more to say about this.

Anonymous ZhukovG December 02, 2017 6:50 PM  

So, not only goods and labor, but knowledge must also be traded freely. No fair having any secrets.

Let a thousand mushrooms bloom!

Blogger SciVo December 02, 2017 6:52 PM  

Just another commenter wrote:Want to watch an economist's brain explode?

Tell him that maximum economic efficiency is incompatible with maximizing moral or ethical good, happiness, or retirement. It is also incompatible with most liberal arts education costs, most entertainment, high-end luxury goods, and choosing your own career, spouse, or house.

It may or may not be entirely true, but watching him tie himself in knots trying to justify his own lifestyle choices while making many false equivalencies would be fun.


It is sophistry, but in the cause of righteousness. True economic value is subjective, so actually maximizing it would also optimize those intangibles; however, not only is it nigh-impossible to measure them, but the transnational managerial class is also materialist in philosophy and doesn't care.

Well, about other people's. The Truth is still Truth under it all, while they serve the Father of Lies.

Blogger DonReynolds December 02, 2017 7:03 PM  

There was a time, not too many years ago, when movements of people and goods and ideas and capital was more difficult. Even advancements in technology did not flow automatically from one nation to the next.

Even today, there remain efforts to restrict technology exports, processes, and industrial secrets, for a variety of good reasons. (The Arkwright Water Frame being one of the better examples. The man who brought it to the USA had to smuggle it out in his head.)

During WWII, the Soviet government found out they could buy a quantum leap in technology in the USA by buying copies of patents from the Federal government for fifty cents a copy. They bought so many, they were baled like cotton and shipped back to Russia.

Today, these technology transfers are practically effortless. With a click of the mouse, anyone can zip off thousands of gigabytes of drawings, specs, photos, analysis, summaries and reports from practically anywhere in the US to nearly anywhere in the world.

The point being that it is no longer necessary to have people actually go to another country in order to "work there". Video conferencing, email, and video calls have made travel almost pointless for many people. Now with the advent of robotics and remote control, even a surgeon can operate on a patient thousands of miles away, without ever having seen or touched them.

Much is made of artificial intelligence these days, but I suspect there is an intermediate stage that will happen first....human-controlled robotics and those humans may be working from another continent.

Anonymous a deplorable rubberducky December 02, 2017 7:08 PM  

SAK wrote:2) There are obvious military costs for a society that gets its missile guidance microchips from another nation, because they cannot do it themselves any more.

There are less obvious national security impacts of free trade. Consider this, one of the central culprits cited routinely for the cause of the Great Depression is the Smoot-Hawley Tariffs. This ignited a trade war and collapsed international trade, we are told, guaranteeing the Great Depression.

BUT, at that time the share of foreign trade in the GDP of the United States was only 4%. Four percent. IF what they claim is true (and I'm not claiming it all is), then a such a small vulnerability in our GDP caused so much trouble? How vulnerable are we today, then, when the international trade component of our GDP is over an order of magnitude higher?

It is even conceivable (and may already have happened, see: Saudi Arabia) that foreign nations can exploit our trade dependencies to win concessions and influence our national policies in ways they could never do had they not a vulnerability to exploit.

Blogger VD December 02, 2017 7:21 PM  

But isn't it possible to realize that Muslim Iranian worker A is not convertible with Christian American worker B, and so on that basis and in the interests of less terrorism to limit one's free trade to goods? It seems like it should at least conceptually be possible. Darn it, I like my cheap Chinese goods, even if I don't like people blowing themselves up down the road every week. Can't I have my cake and eat it too?

No more than you can decide to have free trade in cars but not computers.

Blogger VD December 02, 2017 7:35 PM  

The point being that it is no longer necessary to have people actually go to another country in order to "work there".

That's absurd. It is absolutely necessary for most jobs. Particularly service industry jobs.

Anonymous Looking Glass December 02, 2017 7:35 PM  

@62 a deplorable rubberducky

I believe they're still arguing about how much of the US Economy was Exports in 1929, but I believe it's also accepted that the USA was the world's biggest exporter. That's actually the problem. Don't start a trade war when you export more than anyone else.

But the Great Depression wasn't economy wide. It was actually utterly localized. It murdered the Midwest because of the Great Dust Bowl. The worst drought since the colonization of North America meant that Crop Yields tanked, Food Prices skyrocketed and, oh yeah, we started a Trade War at the exact same time.

Like most other Depressions across the globe, it was the bursting of an Asset & Debt bubble that just happened to land right when century-level drought hit the world's more productive farming region. There's no Macro-Economic Theory that would have prevented the issue and nearly everything anyone did made the situation worse.

Blogger James Dixon December 02, 2017 8:12 PM  

> could anyone point me towards an analysis of the GE's tax plan?

http://www.businessinsider.com/tax-brackets-trump-tax-plan-chart-2017-9


Trump's plan is the House plan, essentially.

Follow up with this one: https://smartasset.com/taxes/heres-how-the-trump-tax-plan-could-affect-you

For further details. The details that will negatively impact folks are the state and local tax deduction and the mortgage deduction changes. But those will mostly hit highly taxed democratic dominated states.

Blogger Dave December 02, 2017 9:34 PM  

The logic of free trade is inescapable. It amounts to a choice between a steadily declining living standard if free trade is limited to goods and capital versus the total destruction of the nation and the replacement of a majority of its population within a single lifetime if it is pursued to the full "beneficial extent" of the concept.

Vox Day, 2017

Blogger JohnofAustria December 02, 2017 9:42 PM  

And they'll hit them as a result of how they spend money and increase costs with their policies, so it's fucking delicious

Blogger Stilicho December 02, 2017 10:33 PM  

The cc prof misses:
1) the identity of the "two parties" who benefit from the trade are ( and other parties who are affected by it)...Apple makes more money per phone by producing products via a Chinese supplier. American workers suffer by not having the jobs that went directly to China. They also suffer by the aggregate depression of wages via demand (competition) for wages remaining the same, but the supply being decreased. Note that this example also demonstrates that it is not just trade in merchandise: the factory, technical expertise and experience were sent overseas as well.

2) this ultimate creates a leveling effect as standards of living rise in China and are correspondingly reduced in the US. To the extent that there remains any imbalance, labor will seek to move to the higher standard country. This creates enormous pressure and incentive. Further, to the extent there are travel inefficiencies in moving merchandise, Apple will be highly incentivized to reduce it by importing labor. Sure, Apple benefits by importing cheap labor and imported labor benefits by A) the direct jobs and B) living in the higher standard country, but Americans lose again by direct loss of jobs and the lower general wages and decreased living standards.

But hey, Americans only have to pay $800 for an Iphone.

Blogger Austin Ballast December 02, 2017 10:39 PM  

VD,

Quite the contrary. You're simply dishonest. The same arguments that apply to free trade in goods apply to everything else. That's like saying "free trade in goods does not require free trade in automobiles and children's toys."

No, the items are different. People are not goods (unless they are the product of course). Though it would take more than a quick reply to note differences.

The same arguments may or may not apply, but moving Pedro across the border to work elsewhere is different than moving a product to sell across the border. They certainly are related, but they are not the same.

It is possible robotics will tweak this quite a bit, but that is a slightly different issue.

Being similar and being the same are different things. No dishonesty here, just disagreement.

Is Derb being dishonest as well? Is that the catchall for "you disagree with me"?

Blogger Matthew December 02, 2017 10:41 PM  

"He's a religionist..."

I stopped reading Derbyshire when he decided to be an atheist. I should have stopped reading him when I learned that he had decided not to procreate.

Anonymous Charlie Baud December 02, 2017 10:43 PM  

I stopped reading Derbyshire when it became apparent he was too much of a coward to name the jew.

Blogger vorlos December 02, 2017 10:52 PM  

Matthew, Derbyshire decided not to procreate white children. He has a boy and girl with a Chinese woman.

Anonymous Gapeseed December 02, 2017 11:17 PM  

Two thoughts:

First, it seems Japan is an active trader while famously maintaining an extremely restrictive immigration policy. If I follow Vox’s logic, then Japan is not a free trader. But couldn’t Japan eliminate tariffs without altering its immigration strategy?

Second: Would Vox’s logic hold in a virtual economy? For example, if I get coding from Belarus and IT help from workers logging into my computer from India, do those workers need to move?

Blogger Snidely Whiplash December 02, 2017 11:42 PM  

@Austin,
Moving Pedro's labor across the border is exactly the same thing as moving cell phones or steel or cucumbers or stock ownership across the border. Saying it's not is either disingenuous or special pleading. What you're actually saying is that Pedro has no right to move his product across the border. Which principle of Free Trade creates the exemption for labor?

@Gapeseed.
Trade and Free Trade are not at all the same thing, and the Japanese are famously nationalistic in their trade policies. They view Free Trade, quite rightly, as silly Utopianism.

Anonymous Rocklea December 02, 2017 11:47 PM  

"2) this ultimate creates a leveling effect as standards of living rise in China and are correspondingly reduced in the US. To the extent that there remains any imbalance, labor will seek to move to the higher standard country. This creates enormous pressure and incentive. Further, to the extent there are travel inefficiencies in moving merchandise, Apple will be highly incentivized to reduce it by importing labor. Sure, Apple benefits by importing cheap labor and imported labor benefits by A) the direct jobs and B) living in the higher standard country, but Americans lose again by direct loss of jobs and the lower general wages and decreased living standards."

The economic Archimedes principle. Excepting that Archimedes has gotten out of the bath.

A falling tide beaches all boats.

Blogger Lazarus December 02, 2017 11:58 PM  

Austin Ballast wrote:The same arguments may or may not apply, but moving Pedro across the border to work elsewhere is different than moving a product to sell across the border. They certainly are related, but they are not the same.

A product has a definite economic potential, whereas a person has an indefinite economic potential.

One is economically measurable, the other is not.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash December 03, 2017 12:03 AM  

What is being moved is labor, the movement of the person is incidental. Ask any economist, labor is merely another production resource, subject to the same economic laws.

Anonymous 11 B December 03, 2017 1:42 AM  

As I had preached for eleven years, “trade fosters peace” because both parties develop an interest in a friendly on-going relationship.

Tell that to the 33 states in North America who had a free trade compact in 1861.

Blogger Doc Rampage December 03, 2017 3:41 AM  

VD wrote:IF you do not permit the free movement of labor, THEN you will not achieve the maximum economic efficiency that is the entire purpose of selling the free trade concept.

That's not what you are saying when you say that free trade requires free movement of peoples. If you would say "optimizing the global economy requires the free movement of all economic resources including labor", then you would probably be correct, but "free trade" is not synonymous with "optimization of the global economy", nor does anyone except you treat is as if it were.

Free trade is simply the movement of goods across international borders with minimal government interference. You *obviously* can have the movement of goods across international borders with minimal government interference without also having unrestricted immigration. They are two entirely different policies.

Blogger VD December 03, 2017 6:03 AM  

That's not what you are saying when you say that free trade requires free movement of peoples. If you would say "optimizing the global economy requires the free movement of all economic resources including labor", then you would probably be correct, but "free trade" is not synonymous with "optimization of the global economy", nor does anyone except you treat is as if it were.

You are absolutely and utterly wrong. You also observably know nothing about economic theory or what economists have written on free trade. Every serious economist who supports free trade treats it that way and has for decades.

Free trade is simply the movement of goods across international borders with minimal government interference.

That is absolutely false. If I weren't certain that you are ignorant, I would have to conclude that you are shamelessly lying.

Blogger Matthew December 03, 2017 6:23 AM  

These goods that mysteriously move themselves across international borders.

Blogger Dire Badger December 03, 2017 7:30 AM  

Bibliotheca Servare wrote:@Dire Badger That sounds a lot like Obama when he said "You didn't build that!"

Just because a business uses interstates for travel doesn't mean that the federal government has a right to "seize" that businesses "means of production" in order to keep it from moving production to a different country. Is it wrong, in my opinion? I would say yes. But is it treason, or justification for (essentially) following the communist playbook? I really don't think so. Crippling import taxes would be preferable to state-owned industry, imo. I apologize if I'm misunderstanding your argument, and I don't intend to mischaracterize your point, if I have done so. I just read your comment, was nodding along, then suddenly realized that it sounded to me like the same rhetoric Obama was fond of.


You are misunderstanding my argument. I personally think the word 'Treason' is overused... Stealing from a whole lot of people is still stealing, not treason.

WE (including the forebears of the business owners) DID, in fact, build that... But if three men start a business, and one of them empties out the coffers of that business and moves to Guam, the fact that he helped pay for and start the business does not make it any less a crime... He is still robbing the others that put money, and effort, into starting and building that company.

In a sense, Obama was correct... the same way every good lie has a core of truth. Corporations literally could not exist if not for the federal regulation that allows the corporate ownership to 'pass the buck' of liability onto others, including taxpayers. In a very real way, most businesses did not, and could not, have formed in a vacuum, without the infrastructure the American people built with their own two hands, and without the protection their labor and money provides.

Imagine, if you will, a country made up of, not nation-states, but armed camps... city-states with walls and vast tracts of uncontrolled wilderness infested with predators of both the four and two-legged kind. THAT is what an America without taxpayer-funded security and infrastructure would look like. Exactly how much profit could a corporation make if they had to build their own roads, power sources, and maintain their own security? Even without paying the taxes such services entail?

The difference, is a very real debt to America... Not to the federal government in particular, but to the taxpayers and people. That part of the 'debt' is generally repaid, in practice, by paying American workers, using American sourcing, and you regain that back again by selling to those same workers, as well as to the workers of other companies that make the same deal.

Blogger Dire Badger December 03, 2017 7:30 AM  

There's an old story about two guys playing croquet... They can each hit the ball exactly two yards, and for each yard the ball moves in 'their' direction, they make ten dollars. one is going east, the other is going south.

Now, they both agree at the beginning that they will hit the ball southeast, moving it a grand total of 3 yards in BOTH of their directions, and making 30 bpucks in total. The problem is, pretty soon one guy figures out that he can, by cheating and hitting it south while the other guy is still going south-east, Get it 3.5 yards in one turn, thus making a nice five bucks for 'free'... after all, the other guy is still making 15 bucks, so it's not like he's making nothing, right?


Pretty soon both guys are hitting it their own direction, because the trust has been lost. In our case, our government FORCES us, through taxes, to keep hitting that damned ball southeast, again and again... and often to hit it directly south. Why? because it has the guns, and it has been bribed by the south-going guy to keep making us hit it in that direction.

Okay, the analogy is getting deformed, but you get my point... Corporation and free trade are NOT a right-wing concept, despite what the cuckservative cashwhores would have you believe... Corporation is full leftist in it's entirety, as is limited-liability. Sometimes (as with all socialist policies)such collaboration is NECESSARY to achieve a certain goal, but the mistake comes from the typical assumption that what is good in moderation is good in unlimited amounts.

That's why I tend to say that the alt-right is the first 'moderates' that actually have a chance, if not inevitability, of winning... because they are capable of understanding that while you occasionally NEED socialist organizations in order to maintain a civilization, you also need to PREVENT the unlimited exploitation of 'one time exceptions'... leftism is, by definition, concerned only with 'fairness' and thus every exception becomes the new rule.

The True spectrum between right and left is utter anarchy at one end and utter antlike conformity at the other. In a very real way, the neoreactionaries and it's alternative right 'child' are a return to the understanding that moderation, straddling the line between conformity and freedom, is the real secret to maintaining a civilization.


That's why 'free trade' is such a horror... It is a far-left (corporatism) exploitation of a far-right situation (utter anarchy outside of our borders) to destabilize the middle (us) to their own profit.

I am not an economics professor at a Junior high school or an economist/day trader, but even I can think things through enough to know that when you take something from one guy and don't return something of equal value, you are stealing... No matter how you dress it up in 'smart business decision' or 'playing the economic market'. You either both gain value from the transaction, or what you are doing is unethical. It doesn't matter if the guy is too stupid to understand how you are ripping him off, it doesn't make your action any more justifiable.

Blogger Dire Badger December 03, 2017 7:38 AM  

I would like to add to my above example, that the differences between a nation-state and city-states is not ENTIRELY owed to the taxpayers, because in a very real way you have both made profit off of the transaction that is over and above the expense they spent towards the infrastructure/security, but there IS a real part of that that you owe the community for doing business...and that is the difference between the money you make through local sourcing vs. overseas sourcing.

That profit you make by setting up a plant in mexico, minus the costs of building the local infrastructure and plant? That is money you are taking right out of the pockets of those who you are selling to.

Balance in all things.

Blogger Nate Winchester December 03, 2017 9:10 AM  

where is the evidence that free trade in goods without free trade in labor is even materially possible in a world where inexpensive global travel is available to the average laborer?

Castalia house. I have a book on my phone written by an American, edited by an Italian, and published by... whatever Markku is (no offense, I just can't remember, sir).

Blogger dc.sunsets December 03, 2017 11:43 AM  

@ James Dixon, (chuckle) your description of the proposed tax plan (potentially having different effects on high-tax leftist states vs lower-tax rightist states) reminds me of the differential effects of FDR's New Deal (which directed benefits primarily to swing states for the next election.)

Blogger dc.sunsets December 03, 2017 11:59 AM  

The argument about free trade must be seen as an outcome-utilitarian prediction of relative benefit.

Like all such utilitarianism, it posits chemistry-like predictions for systems simplified to useless absurdity. And like all social science today, it utterly ignores the FACT that certain fads in social behavior predictably assort together and that never in the history of Man have such conditions remained static.

Peak "X" is not a sign that we've reached Nirvana Plateau. It's a sign that the trend is highly mature and increasingly close to reversal.

Globalism's unprecedentedly fine division of labor and geographic diversity of the structure of production is SCREAMING that the trend of "newer, faster, better, cheaper" is due to reverse, and reverse HARD.

Look around your life for things whose existence you take for granted, whose structure of production includes a link in the chain located in a geographically distant & culturally alien place.

We're still bobbing near peak social trust, and when that cycle inevitably turns, does anyone really think those links in the vast pyramid of the structure of production will be easily replaced?

The very devices on which this blog dialogue takes place may well disappear, along with a host of our modern marvels.

Blogger Doc Rampage December 03, 2017 5:00 PM  

VD wrote:Every serious economist who supports free trade treats it that way and has for decades.

Well, I don't claim to be an expert on economics, but I am a competent speaker of English and I know what the term "free trade" means. Miriam Webster agrees with me: "trade based on the unrestricted international exchange of goods with tariffs used only as a source of revenue". There is nothing in there about optimizing the global economy.

You are simply conflating the goal with a policy intended to achieve or support the goal. I have read the original a priori economic argument in favor of free trade and it may be that the same argument supports free immigration but that doesn't mean that anyone who supports free trade must also support free immigration. Some people support free trade for other reasons than that argument. Even those who support free trade in part because of that argument do not have to support free immigration because there are other considerations besides a certain class of economic benefits.

Just because you undertake one action to achieve a certain goal, that does not commit you to undertaking all actions that lead to that goal.

You are committing the same logical mistake as someone who argues that you can't diet without exercising on the grounds that exercising achieves the same benefits as dieting.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash December 03, 2017 6:26 PM  

@Doc, then you are not arguing for Free Trade. You are arguing for free trade in certain classes of goods, but not in others. As such you are arguing for restricted trade. Which is the mere opposite of Free Trade. Your only argument with nationalist traders is about what goods you will restrict.

Saying "I believe in Free Trade, except in Labor" is the same as saying "I believe in Free Trade, except in the cases of guns and butter."

Seriously, how are you clowns not getting this. Trade != free trade != Free Trade.

Free Trade is the absolutist position, and every argument that supports it also supports unrestricted immigration.

Anonymous A Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents December 03, 2017 7:08 PM  

@86 Nate Winchester
published by... whatever Markku is (no offense, I just can't remember, sir).

Dude, you're totally Finnished around here.

Blogger VD December 03, 2017 8:10 PM  

I don't claim to be an expert on economics, but I am a competent speaker of English and I know what the term "free trade" means. Miriam Webster agrees with me: "trade based on the unrestricted international exchange of goods with tariffs used only as a source of revenue". There is nothing in there about optimizing the global economy.

Yes, you literally don't know what you're talking about. The dictionary is a fine source of definitions for many things, but not for economic theory which is a large 220+ year collection of writings on the subject.

Just shut up. Keep blathering in ignorance and you'll be spammed. You have literally nothing to offer on this subject so stay out of it.

You are simply conflating the goal with a policy intended to achieve or support the goal.

I am doing absolutely no such thing. Your moronic ignorance of this subject is on the level of a dog barking. Just shut the fuck up. Seriously.

Blogger aodlord13 December 03, 2017 8:35 PM  


Thanks for a great article. :D
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Anonymous Ominous Cowherd December 04, 2017 12:33 AM  

If Canada and Haiti agree to trade lumber for bananas, but also agree that they will not trade Hosers for Joses, that is trade, but it is not Free Trade.

Unless everything may be traded freely, including hosers, Joses and their component parts (long pig is the other white meat), you have inefficiencies that free trade would remove. I think that's what Vox, and the econ literature, have been saying.

Blogger Dire Badger December 04, 2017 1:51 AM  

surely you would more efficiently destroy civilization and culture as we know it.

Blogger Nate Winchester December 04, 2017 7:26 AM  

@91. Dude, you're totally Finnished around here.

Huh. Thanks, that might be the mnemonic I need to remember that. Thanks.

Blogger Paul Widdecombe December 06, 2017 6:41 AM  

This is amazing - as so often happens, the cart is before the horses.

Basically the free trade theory of Global peace is more Marxian dialectical materialism guff, isn't it?

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