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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mailvox: the Hazlitt international trade challenge III

In which my critique of Chapter 11 of Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson is completed. It has been just over a year since I wrote the first two parts of it, so if your memory requires refreshing, you may find it helpful to refer to part one and part two of the critique. In order to make the errors in his argument easier to locate when reading my explications of them, I have taken the liberty of identifiying them with numbers (N) in the text.

In concluding his chapter on free trade, Hazlitt writes: For the erection of tariff walls has the same effect as the erection of real walls. It is significant that the protectionists habitually use the language of warfare. They talk of “repelling an invasion” of foreign products. And the means they suggest in the fiscal field are like those of the battlefield. The tariff barriers that are put up to repel this invasion are like the tank traps, trenches and barbed-wire entanglements created to repel or slow down attempted invasion by a foreign army.(1)

And just as the foreign army is compelled to employ more expensive means to surmount those obstacles — bigger tanks, mine detectors, engineer corps to cut wires, ford streams and build bridges—so more expensive and efficient transportation means must be developed to surmount tariff obstacles. On the one hand, we try to reduce the cost of transportation between England and America, or Canada and the United States, by developing faster and more efficient planes and ships, better roads and bridges, better locomotives and motor trucks. On the other hand, we offset this investment in efficient transportation by a tariff that makes it commercially even more difficult to transport goods than it was before. We make it a dollar cheaper to ship the sweaters, and then increase the tariff by two dollars to prevent the sweaters from being shipped. By reducing the freight that can be profitably carried, we reduce the value of the investment in transport efficiency.

The tariff has been described as a means of benefiting the producer at the expense of the consumer. In a sense this is correct. Those who favor it think only of the interests of the producers immediately benefited by the particular duties involved. They forget the interests of the consumers who are immediately injured by being forced to pay these duties. But it is wrong to think of the tariff issue as if it represented a conflict between the interests of producers as a unit against those of consumers as a unit. It is true that the tariff hurts all consumers as such.(2) It is not true that it benefits all producers as such. On the contrary, as we have just seen, it helps the protected producers at the expense of all other American producers, and particularly of those who have a comparatively large potential export market. We can perhaps make this last point clearer by an exaggerated example. Suppose we make our tariff wall so high that it becomes absolutely prohibitive, and no imports come in from the outside world at all. Suppose, as a result of this, that the price of sweaters in America goes up only $5. Then American consumers, because they have to pay $5 more for a sweater, will spend on the average five cents less in each of a hundred other American industries.(3) (The figures are chosen merely to illustrate a principle: there will, of course, be no such symmetrical distribution of the loss; moreover, the sweater industry itself will doubtless be hurt because of protection of still other industries. But these complications may be put aside for the moment.)

Now because foreign industries will find their market in America totally cut off, they will get no dollar exchange, and therefore they will be unable to buy any American goods at all.(4) As a result of this, American industries will suffer in direct proportion to the percentage of their sales previously made abroad.(5) Those that will be most injured, in the first instance, will be such industries as raw cotton producers, copper producers, makers of sewing machines, agricultural machinery, typewriters, commercial airplanes, and so on.

A higher tariff wall, which, however, is not prohibitive, will produce the same kind of results as this, but merely to a smaller degree.

The effect of a tariff, therefore, is to change the structure of American production. It changes the number of occupations, the kind of occupations, and the relative size of one industry as compared with another. It makes the industries in which we are comparatively inefficient larger, and the industries in which we are comparatively efficient smaller. Its net effect, therefore, is to reduce American efficiency, as well as to reduce efficiency in the countries with which we would otherwise have traded more largely.
In the long run, notwithstanding the mountains of argument pro and con, a tariff is irrelevant to the question of employment.(6) (True, sudden changes in the tariff, either upward or downward, can create temporary unemployment, as they force corresponding changes in the structure of production. Such sudden changes can even cause a depression.) But a tariff is not irrelevant to the question of wages. In the long run it always reduces real wages, because it reduces efficiency, production and wealth.(7)
Thus all the chief tariff fallacies stem from the central fallacy with which this book is concerned. They are the result of looking only at the immediate effects of a single tariff rate on one group of producers, and forgetting the long-run effects both on consumers as a whole and on all other producers.(8)

(I hear some reader asking: “Why not solve this by giving tariff protection to all producers?” But the fallacy here is that this cannot help producers uniformly, and cannot help at all domestic producers who already “outsell” foreign producers: these efficient producers must necessarily suffer from the diversion of purchasing power brought about by the tariff.)

On the subject of the tariff we must keep in mind one final precaution. It is the same precaution that we found necessary in examining the effects of machinery. It is useless to deny that a tariff does benefit—or at least can benefit—special interests. True, it benefits them at the expense of every one else. But it does benefit them. If one industry alone could get protection, while its owners and workers enjoyed the benefits of free trade in everything else they bought, that industry would benefit, even on net balance. As an attempt is made to extend the tariff blessings, however, even people in the protected industries, both as producers and consumers, begin to suffer from other people’s protection, and may finally be worse off even on net balance than if neither they nor anybody else had protection.(9)

But we should not deny, as enthusiastic free traders have so often done, the possibility of these tariff benefits to special groups. We should not pretend, for example, that a reduction of the tariff would help everybody and hurt nobody. It is true that its reduction would help the country on net balance. But somebody would be hurt. Groups previously enjoying high protection would be hurt. That in fact is one reason why it is not good to bring such protected interests into existence in the first place. But clarity and candor of thinking compel us to see and acknowledge that some industries are right when they say that a removal of the tariff on their product would throw them out of business and throw their workers (at least temporarily) out of jobs. And if their workers have developed specialized skills, they may even suffer permanently, or until they have at long last learnt equal skills. In tracing the effects of tariffs, as in tracing the effects of machinery, we should endeavor to see all the chief effects, in both the short run and the long run, on all groups.

As a postscript to this chapter I should add that its argument is not directed against all tariffs, including duties collected mainly for revenue, or to keep alive industries needed for war; nor is it directed against all arguments for tariffs. It is merely directed against the fallacy that a tariff on net balance “provides employment,” “raises wages,” or “protects the American standard of living.” It does none of these things; and so far as wages and the standard of living are concerned, it does the precise opposite.(10) But an examination of duties imposed for other purposes would carry us beyond our present subject. Nor need we here examine the effect of import quotas, exchange controls, bilateralism and other means of reducing, diverting or preventing international trade. Such devices have, in general, the same effects as high or prohibitive tariffs, and often worse effects. They present more complicated issues, but their net results can be traced through the same kind of reasoning that we have just applied to tariff barriers.


In this third section of the chapter, Hazlitt commits ten errors while offering the observant reader a foreshadowing of anti-free trade arguments to come. Indeed, in his careless failure to think through some of his own statements, he very nearly lays the groundwork for some of the more effective modern arguments against free trade.

1. Hazlitt fails to realize that the reason for the habitual use of the language of warfare by protectionists is because free trade in its labor and services aspect is a literal form of invasion. The Mexican invasion of the United States is ten times larger in scope than Operation Barbarossa, and especially in a quasi-democracy where voting rights are quickly and readily granted, a free trade-led invasion and occupation will lead to the political subjugation of the invaded that will last longer and can be more oppressive than an actual military occupation. Most of the 3.9 million Axis soldiers who invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 never fired a shot and the only substantive difference between a military invasion and a labor invasion is the failure to react by the government of the invaded nation. Support for this statement can be seen in the way defenders of immigration claim these peaceful immigrants will not leave the invaded nation without the use of lethal state-sanctioned violence.

2. Hazlitt correctly notes that it is wrong to consider the effects of a tariff from a crude perspective that lumps all producers and consumers into separate units of competing interests. But he is manifestly wrong to claim that tariffs harm all consumers, because consumers are also workers and the small cost of the tariff to the consumer-worker is more than mitigated by its benefit to him. The root of his error here is revealed in a subsequent error.

3. Here Hazlitt ironically forgets that as a champion of free trade, he cannot assume an increased tariffprice of $5 on sweaters means five cents less spent on 100 other American products. Since imports previously represented 17.3 percent of GDP, the increased $5 tariffprice actually means about 4.14 cents less spent on other American products. Since he also leaves debt and savings out of the equation, it is entirely possible that the imposition of a ban on imports will not shift the domestic consumption pattern in the way he envisions. And finally, he also ignores the law of supply and demand, which suggests that the increased price will reduce the demand for sweaters, thereby indicating no net effect on other American goods at all.

4. This is a massive and major blunder. Perhaps it is not Hazlitt's fault that he didn't understand the global reserve currency effect at the time he was writing his book in 1946, (although as an advocate of the gold standard, he should have at least been aware of the obvious implications), but that doesn't change the fact that his conclusion is simply false. Barring retaliatory protectionist measures that actually ban the purchase of American goods, it is absolutely ludicrous to claim that foreigners will be unable to purchase American goods due to a lack of dollar exchange. Forget the trillions in Eurodollars already floating around outside US borders and the hundreds of trillions in derivatives, the creative magnitude of various financial devices means that foreign markets will always be able to acquire American goods even they cannot trade in dollars. This also erroneously assumes that American manufacturers would not accept foreign currencies or debt instruments in exchange for their goods. And if we take the Eurodollars into account, they are the largest source of global finance, accounting for more than 90 percent of international loans according to Wikipedia.

5. Hazlitt's fifth error in this section follows directly from his fourth. Since American industries will not necessarily suffer at all, they obviously will not suffer in direct proportion to the percentage of their sales previously made abroad.

6. This is a brutal mistake. It is simply laughable, to assert as nakedly as Hazlitt does, that "a tariff is irrelevant to the question of employment". History has clearly demonstrated is that the effects on employment are not merely temporary ones that result from sudden changes in the tariff, and indeed, the negative long-term effects of free trade on employment has become one of the primary economic arguments for protectionism. Both the logic and the empirical evidence weigh heavily against Hazlitt here.

7. Hazlitt errs when he states that tariffs always reduces real wages because they reduces efficiency, production and wealth. Even if we accept his statements about reducing efficiency, production, and wealth at face value, we have repeatedly seen that it is freer trade, not tariffs, that reduces real wages, because the first-order reduction in the demand for domestic labor outweighs the proposed second-order effects of reductions in efficiency, production, and wealth. It was inexcusable for Hazlitt to miss this, since the shift of production to lower-wage countries is one of the core mechanisms of free trade and is one of the primary causes of capital movement.

8. This is such a monstrously hypocritical statement that it amazes me Hazlitt could have made it. To accuse the advocates of tariffs of "forgetting the long-run effects both on consumers as a whole and on all other producers" might be apt when considering centuries-old arguments against free trade, but simply cannot be reasonably applied in any way to modern critics, whose arguments are very broad-based and primarily focused on the harm to producers brought about be free trade. As those who have followed this ongoing discourse will recognize, it is the protectionists who are looking at the societal effects and the free traders who are not only ignoring them, but openly stating their indifference to them.

9. Hazlitt extends his flawed arguments into the realm of fiction by proposing a fictional scenario where the second- and third-order costs of protectionism outweigh the first-order benefits of having one's industry protected. It's not entirely absurd, however, as one can envision the inutility of having a profitable business in a protected market that has grown technologically stagnant. However, in doing so, he neatly anticipates, in reverse, the modern protectionist argument, which points out that the benefits to corporations of sending their capital and labor abroad come at a severe cost to the society in which the shareholders in that corporation have to live, potentially so severe that it will outweigh their greater profits.

10. Hazlitt not only fails to provide any support for his claim that tariffs do not provide employment, raise wages or protect the American standard of living, his claim is demonstrably false in economic, logical and empirical terms. His argument is outdated, is based primarily on naked assertions, and is undermined by more than sixty years of historical evidence directly contradicting the lofty promises of the free trade doctrine he champions here.

Thus concludes my critique of Hazlitt's argument for free trade, which identifies 23 specific errors in his argument, all of which will have to be defended by the true believers in free trade doctrine without resort to irrelevant tangents such as Mr. North's uneconomic "guns and badges" defense before it can be appealed to again. Next up: Mises and his defense of free trade as presented in Liberalism.

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150 Comments:

Anonymous Roundtine July 10, 2012 5:58 AM  

4. There would have be no interaction at all between the two nations. No Americans traveling abroad, no Americans purchasing foreign stocks/bonds, foreigners banned from owning any assets in America, no Americans demanding foreign currency or even willing to accept it. Then you could say foreigners cannot obtain U.S. currency.

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 6:38 AM  

Then you could say foreigners cannot obtain U.S. currency.

Even then, you couldn't. Because as far back as 1985, Eurodollars were 1.25 trillion versus 2.3 trillion for M2. Hazlitt's argument is just completely wrong.

Anonymous Roundtine July 10, 2012 6:48 AM  

Have you been reading Debunking Economics? Keen's work makes some of the anti-free trade arguments more robust.

Anonymous Roundtine July 10, 2012 6:50 AM  

Even then, you couldn't.

Yes, in reality you can't. But if Hazlitt did want to construct a model where foreigners couldn't obtain U.S. dollars, he'd need to assume the U.S. is living under a system stricter than that of North Korea. It's absurd even in theory.

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 7:15 AM  

Have you been reading Debunking Economics? Keen's work makes some of the anti-free trade arguments more robust.

I'm on page 220. I have no doubt, based on his critiques of some of the basic economic concepts that underlie it.

Blogger Joe A. July 10, 2012 7:51 AM  

I wish we could bring in some sort of economist that would actually deal with your arguments rather than almost entirely dismiss them like Dr. North did.

Anonymous VD July 10, 2012 7:59 AM  

I wish we could bring in some sort of economist that would actually deal with your arguments rather than almost entirely dismiss them like Dr. North did.

Feel free. But it doesn't need a trained economist to try to claim that the unarmed invasion of 40 million is totally distinct in its effects from an armed invasion of 4 million. Most of North's arguments weren't economic, and my critique of free trade includes economic arguments but is not limited to them.

Blogger Dan Hewitt July 10, 2012 8:02 AM  

he is manifestly wrong to claim that tariffs harm all consumers, because consumers are also workers and the small cost of the tariff to the consumer-worker is more than mitigated by its benefit to him

Could you please elaborate on this? Specifically, how would this assertion would hold true in a flexible labor market?

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 8:09 AM  

Just to bring attention to other of the economically interested. Slightly off topic but economics and Free Trade of a different sort, Brother Nathaniel on the Doomed American Economy proving once again that Economics is War. What Brother Nathaniel points out that the people that control Wall Street Underwrite the stocks of Corporations---therefore Leverage, ordering Companies to move their operations overseas.

(And we need "Quotations" or "Blockquotes" if that can be done.)

Anonymous VD July 10, 2012 8:23 AM  

You typed “four cents” but I’m certain that you meant “four dollars”.

No, I imitated Hazlitt's rather confusing metric. He says that the additional $5 spent on the sweater means five cents less spent on each of 100 other American products. $5 = 5 cents x 100. What I'm pointing out is that even if every other factor is ignored, 86.5 cents of the additional $5 being spent on the sweater tariff comes from money spent on imports. Nearly a fifth of it does NOT come from the other domestic manufacturers.

To be precise, the correct answer is neither five cents nor four cents, but rather 4.135 cents.

Anonymous VD July 10, 2012 8:26 AM  

Could you please elaborate on this? Specifically, how would this assertion would hold true in a flexible labor market?

Sure, but if you want me to be specific, you'll need to tell me how flexible a market you are envisioning. So what is your metric for flexibility and what level of flexibility do you wish to consider?

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) July 10, 2012 8:28 AM  

Hazlitt was writing at a time when Bretton Woods was in effect. If you look at a simple chart of trade balances you'll see that trade was pretty balanced during the 1945-1971 period because the price specie flow mechanism was in effect. Once the gold standard ended trade balances started deteriorating.

GATT was implemented in this postwar period in 1947 and didn't lead to trade deficits until after 1971. How do you account for that?

Blogger Dan Hewitt July 10, 2012 8:34 AM  

You typed “four cents” but I’m certain that you meant “four dollars”.

That was my error; I missed the word "each".

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 8:36 AM  

GATT was implemented in this postwar period in 1947 and didn't lead to trade deficits until after 1971. How do you account for that?

World War II and the absence of competing industrial infrastructures. What made America rich in the post-WWII period was its ability to sell consumer and capital goods all over the world. Fiat currency doesn't help, obviously, but it's not the sole problem in play here.

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 8:37 AM  

That was my error; I missed the word "each".

NP, I had to read it three times to not only get it, but confirm my incredulity that he had actually phrased it that way.

Blogger Dan Hewitt July 10, 2012 8:42 AM  

you'll need to tell me how flexible a market you are envisioning. So what is your metric for flexibility and what level of flexibility do you wish to consider?

Flexible enough to clear, i.e. total unemployed equals total job openings. I acknowledge that this would entail repealing minimum wages, preferential treatment to unions, and all regulations on hiring/firing.

Anonymous Mr Green Man July 10, 2012 9:06 AM  

Hazlitt was writing at a time when Bretton Woods was in effect. If you look at a simple chart of trade balances you'll see that trade was pretty balanced during the 1945-1971 period because the price specie flow mechanism was in effect. Once the gold standard ended trade balances started deteriorating.

I'm pretty sure Mr. North asserted that he spoke from timeless truth, and that Hazlitt was on his list of oracles. Although any sensible person would say that the context of observation is important, Mr. North is defending the charge that the observable evidence of the last 40 years has been pretty bad by countering that he speaks with the voice of enduring and eternal truth and authority.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) July 10, 2012 9:15 AM  

[quote]
World War II and the absence of competing industrial infrastructures. What made America rich in the post-WWII period was its ability to sell consumer and capital goods all over the world. Fiat currency doesn't help, obviously, but it's not the sole problem in play here.[/quote]

How do you account for the worsening balance of trade which became progressively worse after 1971? That was over 20 years before NAFTA.
Are you saying that increased competition leads to trade deficits? Japan and Europe rebuilt by the 60's so I guess that would support your case.

Are you saying that GATT would have produced trade deficits if not for the lack of competition?

Blogger Joshua_D July 10, 2012 9:16 AM  

Another excellent analysis.

What is strange to me is that Mises very often pointed out that his economic arguments were not moral, and thus could not be used to judge the rightness of any decision.

I would think Hazlitt and North should also be aware that economics is not moral, and like you said, Hazlitt admits to as much when he writes, "We should not pretend, for example, that a reduction of the tariff would help everybody and hurt nobody. It is true that its reduction would help the country on net balance. But somebody would be hurt. Groups previously enjoying high protection would be hurt."

So, I wonder why many of the free-traders have such a hard time considering the moral and political aspects of their ideology. Even if free trade is the most efficient, most productive, etc., that alone would not make it right.

Anonymous Jake July 10, 2012 10:02 AM  

So, I wonder why many of the free-traders have such a hard time considering the moral and political aspects of their ideology. Even if free trade is the most efficient, most productive, etc., that alone would not make it right.

Vox has already set aside the moral aspect to the discussion. He said today for example: "without resort to irrelevant tangents such as Mr. North's uneconomic 'guns and badges' defense", which is effectively saying "let's leave the morality of tariffs out of this and just discuss the economics"

The free-trade position has no problem making a moral case. What's the morality of telling A and B they can't exchange because they live on different sides of a national border?

As for the political... well Vox is entangling political arguments into his "economic" argument talking about invasion and such (though if it's an invasion it's one subsidized by our own government, so perhaps the better description would be the active importation of more easily controlled subjects). The only arguments against free exchange I've personally found significant were, in fact, political, but they require that you make some very ambitious assumptions for them to make sense. Things like "My government is protecting the rights of myself and my family and it is in my interest that they have the means to wage war, throw people in jail, etc." I'd like to see Vox take his empirical approach to that one.

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 10:02 AM  

Flexible enough to clear, i.e. total unemployed equals total job openings.

First, let's be clear on what you're asking here. You want to see a justification that the benefit to the consumer-worker from tariffs is greater than the cost to the consumer, assuming full employment. Is that correct?

Anonymous Huh? July 10, 2012 10:08 AM  

What's the morality of telling A and B they can't exchange because they live on different sides of a national border?

What's the moral case for saying they should be able to do so?

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 10:09 AM  

The free-trade position has no problem making a moral case. What's the morality of telling A and B they can't exchange because they live on different sides of a national border?

The protectionist position has no problem with making one either. The "morality of telling A and B they can't exchange because they live on different sides of a national border" is precisely the same as telling A and B that they cannot live on the other side of a national border. Or vote on the other side of a national border. Your position is intrinsically globalist, centralist and ultimately destructive of human liberty since it reduces it to the lowest common denominator.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 10:11 AM  

It is interesting to read the bio of Henry Hazlitt at Wikipedia. He wrote for the The Nation which is a very leftist magazine. His also labelled at Wikipedia as a Libertarian. He was friends with Ann Rand and introduced Rand to Mises!

I am perturbed at the use of the term "consumer" though. We are no longer a race but "consumers". This is the problem of Economics; that it reduces a people as "consumers" and therefore, the only consideration is for "consumers" and how cheap they can get a product.

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 10:13 AM  

As for the political... well Vox is entangling political arguments into his "economic" argument talking about invasion and such (though if it's an invasion it's one subsidized by our own government, so perhaps the better description would be the active importation of more easily controlled subjects).

I'm doing absolutely nothing of the sort. You are erroneously attempting to blame me for addressing Hazlitt's non-economic argument about protectionist language. Unlike the free traders we have analyzed, I am perfectly capable of keeping my economic arguments distinct from my non-economic ones.

The only arguments against free exchange I've personally found significant were, in fact, political, but they require that you make some very ambitious assumptions for them to make sense.

Then you're not following the economic ones.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 10:14 AM  

If we are talking about morality, is not "Salus populi, lex suprema" taking a moral position that what is good for you kinsmen, is the highest law of the land? If that is the case, then it is immoral and unrighteous to engage in Free Trade that harms your people. To guard your people and their way of life is "Lex Suprema".

This Roman Law puts the sword to Free Trade and the transfer of wealth.

"Salus Populi, Lex Suprema".

Let that be the law of the land---and in economics.

Blogger Joshua_D July 10, 2012 10:20 AM  

W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 10:11 AM
This is the problem of Economics; that it reduces a people as "consumers" and therefore, the only consideration is for "consumers" and how cheap they can get a product.


This is the "problem" of every field of study. A field of study focuses only on one aspect of the world, and so it only speaks to that particular aspect. People have to consider life as a whole, not in neatly explained slices.

Blogger Peter Garstig July 10, 2012 10:24 AM  

What I'm pointing out is that even if every other factor is ignored, 86.5 cents of the additional $5 being spent on the sweater tariff comes from money spent on imports. Nearly a fifth of it does NOT come from the other domestic manufacturers.

I can't follow. You mean that the original tariff partly (86.5 cents) finds its way back into the economy and will be spend on other tariffs for imported goods?

Why 86.5 cents? Why not more? (Because 4.1 cents is still around 82% of the money not being used on the domestic market)

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 10:25 AM  

Hazlitt writes this:
"They forget the interests of the consumers who are immediately injured by being forced to pay these duties. But it is wrong to think of the tariff issue as if it represented a conflict between the interests of producers as a unit against those of consumers as a unit. It is true that the tariff hurts all consumers as such."

Notice that the word "consumer" is used three times.

Vox responds by saying but ya, some of those "consumers" are workers as well.

To ask to argue ONLY on economic terms and demand that, has already won the debate. Economics is supreme. You can't divorce the stomach from the body. You can't divorce economics from politics. As the stomach is to the body, economics is to the body politic.

But which is higher? The stomach or the body? The body since the stomach is ONLY a part. Economics is ONLY a part--never the whole. Economics must be subordinate to the Political and to the Cultural!

Hazlitt also backs up my contention that Economics is war. He leads with this in the quote from Vox:

"It is significant that the protectionists habitually use the language of warfare. They talk of “repelling an invasion” of foreign products. And the means they suggest in the fiscal field are like those of the battlefield. The tariff barriers that are put up to repel this invasion are like the tank traps, trenches and barbed-wire entanglements created to repel or slow down attempted invasion by a foreign army."

Hazlitt is quoting his critics, the critics of Free Trade. Notice that HE NOTICES that they use the terminology of warfare, battles, invasions, repelling the invasion. Marx, Mises, Hazlitt are all Free Traders. The end of Free Trade is do away with Nations and Races, the protectionists of Hazlitt's time saw clearly that it is a Battle, a War.

Blogger Peter Garstig July 10, 2012 10:27 AM  

I get now the 86.5 cents (derive from 17.x% of GDP from imports).

Blogger Joshua_D July 10, 2012 10:36 AM  

W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 10:25 AM
But which is higher? The stomach or the body? The body since the stomach is ONLY a part. Economics is ONLY a part--never the whole. Economics must be subordinate to the Political and to the Cultural!


You can't separate the parts from the whole, Wheeler. Economics can't be subordinate, just like you can't subordinate your stomach to your mind. You may really try to will yourself to be full and hydrated, but your stomach will soon tell you otherwise if you decide to stop eating and drinking.

Economics must be considered, just as everything else in life must be considered. I may desire to give someone $1,000, but if I don't have it, then my desire is only that.

Anonymous DJF July 10, 2012 10:37 AM  

"""'2. Hazlitt correctly notes that it is wrong to consider the effects of a tariff from a crude perspective that lumps all producers and consumers into separate units of competing interests. But he is manifestly wrong to claim that tariffs harm all consumers, because consumers are also workers and the small cost of the tariff to the consumer-worker is more than mitigated by its benefit to him."""

Very much agree

However I would make a suggestion to change the word "workers" to the broader word "producers".

A healthy person and a healthy society is a producer more then a consumer. We need to produce not only to pay for what we consume but also we need to produce more to cover any time when production is not possible and also to build up wealth to be used to increase production. So its in our interest to support the production side of our lives just as much if not more then the consumer side of our lives. If we don't support our production side we will soon find our consumer side to be suffering

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) July 10, 2012 10:54 AM  

Vox, do you still accept the Austrian position that empiricism is inherently unreliable when it comes to human action? From reading RGD you did take that position.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 10:55 AM  

Joshua, your so-called Logic is a bit funny.

You wrote: "You can't separate the parts from the whole, Wheeler. Economics can't be subordinate..."

I understand perfectly that you can't separate the parts for the whole. It is Austrian Economists and other economists and Free Traders that do this exactly!!! They separate Economics from political and cultural consideration! It is NOT me that is making this mistake---But Austrian Economists, Free Traders and other Economists!

But then say "Economics can't be subordinate...".

What?

To part of a whole, all parts have to be subordinate to the Whole!!! Your statement is ILLOGICAL, emphasis on the "ILL"-. It is LOGICAL, it is logic, that the part be SUBORDINATE to the whole. What is the Whole? The Politics. Politics is concerned with the Whole. Therefore Economics must be subordinate to Political considerations and therefore NO ECONOMIC Question can be studied, "solved", talked about, outside of cultural or political considerations!

Furthermore, Joshua, you seem to be clueless about Christian ethics and morality and about Classical Western Culture! Christian morality is about the Mind controlling the appetites! This was precisely the alegory of Plato about the Chariot driven by two horses. The One is the appetites, i.e. the Stomach and the other horse is Spirit, all controlled by the Charioteer who is Prudence of the Mind. The MIND must control the Horse of Appetites, and the Horse of Spirit (The Greek Thymos based in the Chest.)

Temperance is a Virtue. Temperance in conjunction with Prudence is what controls the Passions of body and spirit! Just like Prudence controls the Two horses.

Prudence, Which is a sort of Wisdom, emodied in Old Men which is the Senate of a country, the seat of the wise men, must control the two Horses of the State, that of economics and state passion, the military.

As the Individual is---so is the State.

The Natural Law is "The Rule of One is Best". Either Politics/Wisdom rule---Or Economics rule, but BOTH CAN NOT rule at the same time. If that is the case, then one must be subordinate to the other! Economics MUST be subordinate to Wisdom! Economics must be subordinate to Prudence!

Economics is Appetite. Materialist Crass fulfillment. It is the lowest of low of human needs. Why economics is elevated over Politics is idiotic, deadly, foolish.

Joshua, you need to revisit Logic 101. As Aristotle noted, the Natural Law is "All things are either in Authority or in Subjection". Economics must be subjected to the Authority of Culture and Political Wisdom.

Blogger Joshua_D July 10, 2012 11:03 AM  

If Vox decides to delete these posts, I understand, since we are getting OT.

However, Wheeler, Christian Morality is about the saving Grace of God, the Command to Love One Another, and the fact that only through Christ Jesus can we be set free from our sinful passions. The idea that you can control your passions is silly, and moreover, it's a works based system that is not Christian.

In any case, you're the one having logic problems, and you're making assumptions. Who says I agree with Aristotle?

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 11:04 AM  

I get now the 86.5 cents (derive from 17.x% of GDP from imports).

There you go.

Vox, do you still accept the Austrian position that empiricism is inherently unreliable when it comes to human action? From reading RGD you did take that position.

It's unreliable and not necessarily conclusive, but it's not entirely useless. It's an effective tool if people are actually willing to put their money where their mouth is, it's not if they're going to go back and argue the applicability in an ex post facto manner. That was Rothbard's point.

If the logic appears sound on both sides, the empirical data can serve to be a good tie-breaker, especially if the competing logics are forced to serve as predictive models. The free traders are not only failures in this regard, they are hypocrites. For all that they like to claim that GATT doesn't count as free trade and NAFTA doesn't count as free trade, I've yet to hear a single one of them declare that returning the tariffs to what they were pre-GATT and pre-NAFTA would have no economic effect as eliminating them has - according to them - had no economic effect.

If that's not free trade, fine, let's get rid of those "free trade" agreements and see the free traders should support those efforts to get rid of them.

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 11:05 AM  

Wheeler, settle down. You're frothing at the mouth.

Blogger rcocean July 10, 2012 11:18 AM  

Yes, no TRUE free trader thinks we have "free trade" - another fantasy argument. Can't free traders deal with the real world? Or is it all rhetoric?

Second, since we can't control other countries, the "morality" of "free trade" gets down to someone in the USA being able to buy foreign goods without regard the nation or their fellow citizens. Its a justification for selfishness and self-interest. To use "morality" to describe it is laughable.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 11:30 AM  

Yes.

In the article Classical Liberalism is this section #6 Free Trade and World Peace.

Here is the conjunction between Austrian Economics and their stand in Free Trade and Socialism. As pointed out in the quote from Karl Marx that Vox provided earlier, Free Trade has a socio-political impact---that of destroying nations. Free Trade is a tool of deracination, meaning that Free Trade is inherent a political weapon against Nations and Races.

Mises, Rothbard and Marx come from the same group even when Mises and Rothbard oppose socialism. For if you read about Socialism (i.e. Elements of Socialism), one will find out that the end goal of Socialism is the utopian sense of World Peace. In that article, Free Trade is about another socio-political agenda, that of furthing the prospect of World Peace.

Not only is Free Trade about deracination and the deconstruction of nations, it is also about bringing about World Peace and ending war. Free Trade IS connected to Ideological goals of socialism.

As we all know, Libertarianism is also anti-war, anti-military. Free Trade would work for the Libertarian goal of World Peace.

Now, for any pro-Free Trader to demand that Free Trade be discussed solely on economic terms is not only being disingenious, but also downright evil and manipulative. Under Free Trade, is not ONE but Two ideological programs of socio-political transformation! What does deracination and World Peace have to do with Economics?

Free Trade is NOT about economics! Free Trade is a tool by the Marxist Utopians and the Libertarian Utopians to bring about a desired goal of deracination and World Peace. Free Trade is what connects Socialists and Libertarians and Classical liberals together.

Here is the first two paragraphs from Wikipedia article:
"'Several liberals, including Adam Smith and Richard Cobden, argued that the free exchange of goods between nations could lead to world peace, a view recognised by such modern American political scientists as Dahl, Doyle, Russet, and O'Neil. Dr. Gartzke, of Columbia University states, "Scholars like Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Richard Cobden, Norman Angell, and Richard Rosecrance have long speculated that free markets have the potential to free states from the looming prospect of recurrent warfare."[70] American political scientists John R. Oneal and Bruce M. Russett, well known for their work on the democratic peace theory, state:

The classical liberals advocated policies to increase liberty and prosperity. They sought to empower the commercial class politically and to abolish royal charters, monopolies, and the protectionist policies of mercantilism so as to encourage entrepreneurship and increase productive efficiency. They also expected democracy and laissez-faire economics to diminish the frequency of war


To diminish the frequency of war. Is that the job of economics?

Was this the goal of Hazlitt as well? His friendship with Mises and Rand? What about modern conservatives like Mr. North who support Free Trade?

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) July 10, 2012 11:31 AM  

Did anyone see this Krugman take-down by a Spanish Austrian school professor?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/ultimate-krugman-take-down

It seems like Krugman is very sensitive to any criticism.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) July 10, 2012 11:32 AM  

Wheeler, what's wrong with a goal of World Peace ending war? Your a christian. Don't you believe that that is the endgame?

Anonymous cherub's revenge July 10, 2012 11:37 AM  

As for the political... well Vox is entangling political arguments into his "economic" argument...

It used to be called "political economy" and not "economics", as disentanglement is simply not possible with human beings as presently constituted.

Anonymous Feh July 10, 2012 11:39 AM  

"what's wrong with a goal of World Peace ending war?"

If "world peace" means economic and political enslavement to foreigners, then fsck it, I prefer war.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 10, 2012 11:40 AM  

"The free-trade position has no problem making a moral case. What's the morality of telling A and B they can't exchange because they live on different sides of a national border?"

What's the morality?

Well... Whose morality? Which morality? How much morality? Which hermeneutics of your chosen morality?

I detect a whole slew of problems in making a moral case.

Best not to try to make that species of case.

Blogger Dan Hewitt July 10, 2012 11:41 AM  

You want to see a justification that the benefit to the consumer-worker from tariffs is greater than the cost to the consumer, assuming full employment. Is that correct?

Sure. But I don't really like the term "full employment" because it tends to get taken as 5% involuntary unemployment, or the whatever minimum Keynesian models say is conducive with "price stability" (which in turn doesn't really mean stable prices, but I digress).

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 10, 2012 11:47 AM  

"Free Trade has a socio-political impact---that of destroying nations. Free Trade is a tool of deracination...

Mises, Rothbard and Marx come from the same group"

Wow, you don't say. Man, who could have ever seen that one coming?

Plus ca change, plus c'est toujours les memes gens.

Anonymous Jake July 10, 2012 11:50 AM  

Huh?: What's the moral case for saying they should be able to do so?

Same as the argument for saying someone shouldn't prevent you from breathing.

Anonymous Robstar July 10, 2012 12:04 PM  

I think the key issue with free trade is that jobs are lost by domestic companies moving their production overseas to lower wage countries, not just foreign companies making a better product.

My question is, is it possible to prevent domestic companies moving their production overseas by taxing them at a higher rate than companies that don't, rather than using a tariff?

That would make the free trade crowd happier and keep jobs in the country.

Anonymous Huh? July 10, 2012 12:19 PM  

Same as the argument for saying someone shouldn't prevent you from breathing.

Not all economic transactions are morally permissible.

Sometimes it is indeed morally permissible, even imperative, to prevent people from breathing.

Try again.

Anonymous Jake July 10, 2012 12:20 PM  

Vox: Your position is intrinsically globalist, centralist and ultimately destructive of human liberty since it reduces it to the lowest common denominator.

Disagree obviously. You seem to assume that government control is nessecary for economic exchange. And thus economic exchange cannot take place without some over-arching government controlling it. I doubt this very much. If we needed global government for global trade then I'd really have a hard time disagreeing with you, but we don't.

You could perhaps make a convincing case that under present circumstances trade causes political problems. Like I said the political arguments are the only ones I've yet found worth merit. But this is just as much (if not more) an argument against the political system as it is an argument against free exchange across national border.

I think we'd agree that the US government has created a lot of problems that are exacerbated or just made obvious by free exchange. But I think it's a stretch to then blame these problems on free exchange. Talking about the mass influx of immigrants is misleading as long as we're not also talking about the free healthcare, education, subsidized housing, etc. etc. that we're handing out to anyone who can sneak across the border. Talking about the trade deficit is misleading as long as we're not also talking about the US-dominated global currency scheme that prevents the market process that would tend to maintain equilibrium in exchange. You say we need to become more isolationist (properly understood), I'd just suggest that before we interfere with the liberty of Americans and others in the name of preserving the liberty of Americans, that we actually UNDO the existing interferences in their liberty which are pretty clearly the major sources of the problems you cite.

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 12:55 PM  

You seem to assume that government control is nessecary for economic exchange. And thus economic exchange cannot take place without some over-arching government controlling it. I doubt this very much. If we needed global government for global trade then I'd really have a hard time disagreeing with you, but we don't.

Not at all. You're not thinking the matter through. Since you're not an anarchist, you presumably understand that governments are necessary evils for certain purposes. But because free trade is predicated on destroying all national borders, the only existing government able to fulfill those purposes will have to be global and supranational.

Now, we can certainly fantasize about that global supranational government being minarchist, but I suspect you know better. This is the inexorable result of free trade, which is why Marx and other globalists who could not care less about human freedom find it a useful doctrine.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews July 10, 2012 12:57 PM  

His $5 argument made sense to me. If I have to spend $5 more on a sweater, I have $5 less to spend on other things, thus the mythical 100 companies will each get 5 cents less from me. Not sure where the extra dollar comes from, whatever math you use.

The other part of the argument that bothers me is who makes the decisions on what to protect? How is this truly different than any government control (socialism) scenario? Can any central government, especially modern ones, consistently get this correct?

How would something like the current limits on cane sugar imports impact your arguments? They certainly benefit some at the expense of others. Some impacts are also health-related, outside the direct economic argument.

Another line of questioning: Would we be better off if Detroit still dominated the auto industry? Some employees would have higher wages, but would the country really be better off as a whole?

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 12:58 PM  

Everytime any of the Popes prayed for peace or asked for World Peace---I feel like shooting them! World Peace is not possible. Jesus Christ said the wars will never end in this world. Are we to make him a liar? The Natural Law is Life is War. No man, no pope, not even Christianity can countermand that. The End goal of Christianity is NOT World Peace, it is salvation of the soul and entrance into the Kingdom of God. You can not, and it is Christian heresy to attempt, to immanentizing the eschaton. Any pope that attempts to try to immanentize the eschaton, is in heresy.

Free Trade did not start out on pure economic terms. Free Trade began on historical inferences, then attached to ideological goals. Adam Smith advanced Free Trade to attain ideological goals. (We don't know if he was a Mason, because all of his papers were destroyed. But he lived in a culture of Masonic friends and culture.) Then, economic arguments were then constructed to validate the theory of Free Trade. Free Trade was first conceived as a vehicle of socio-political transformation. It has never rested in sound scientific economics. (I am not sure that there is such a thing as "scientific economics".)

Anybody that supports Free Trade and uses economic arguments solely is either an evil manipulator or a ignorant dupe.

There are NOT Two socio-political programs attached to Free Trade---But Three. Adam Smith advocated Free Trade as a way of bringing about World Peace (immanentizing the eschaton); Karl Marx advocated Free Trade for it will do away with Nations and race; and the third ideological trilogy behind Free Trade is bringing about economic Equality.

Free Trade is about brining down the 1st World and bringing up the Third World economically. It is about bringing about a total equality amongst all the nations.

The demands that Free Trade be discussed solely on economic terms is a total farce, lie, joke, major deceivement. It is a smokescreen! For behind Free Trade is Liberal Morality, Deracination, World Peace, Equality. All socio-political. Free Trade is about the Socio-political transformation of the world and its Old Order. All three point to one thing, "Fixing the World", Tikkun Olam.

Free Trade has nothing to do with economics. It has everything to do with transforming the world. American progressives gladly picked up Free Trade as their vehicle for achievement of several liberal goals. Adam Smith glammed onto Free Trade to destroy his own country's mercantilism.

Protectionism is based on the moral law of "Salus Populi, Lex Suprema".

Underneath all so-called Economics---is politics. What guides economics is Ideology. Mr. North and Hazlitt are either ignorant dupes or knowledgeable progressive sabateurs.

Either way, Free Trade does carry within itself these three Ideological programs. You can't seperate these from economics equation. And then to advocate the consumer benefit of free trade is to hide, obscure the real aim of Free Trade. The whole process of the modern world is to make all humans into consumer animals.

Hazlitt is not arguing from pure economic standpoint. He is arguing from an ulterior motive. He wrote on the Stoics, promoters of cosmopolitanism. Coincidence?

Free Trade is evil. Irregardless of its economics, it's political undertow is evil. Free Trade carries these three ideological goals, Deracination, the Achievement of World Peace, and Equality of all men.

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 12:59 PM  

Talking about the mass influx of immigrants is misleading as long as we're not also talking about the free healthcare, education, subsidized housing, etc. etc. that we're handing out to anyone who can sneak across the border. Talking about the trade deficit is misleading as long as we're not also talking about the US-dominated global currency scheme that prevents the market process that would tend to maintain equilibrium in exchange.

These things are not misleading. All you are revealing here is your historical ignorance. The USA is not the first state to permit mass migration. The current trade deficit is not the first to exist in history. You appear to be searching for reasons to excuse the failings of your doctrine, not looking at the matter dispassionately. Does the welfare state and fiat currency make matters worse? Certainly. But the welfare state is not the main reason people have moved from one location to another for the last 6,000 years. The movement is inevitable due to the different living standards; it is better to be poor in a rich nation than poor in a poor one.

Blogger Vox July 10, 2012 1:02 PM  

His $5 argument made sense to me. If I have to spend $5 more on a sweater, I have $5 less to spend on other things, thus the mythical 100 companies will each get 5 cents less from me. Not sure where the extra dollar comes from, whatever math you use.

It makes sense, it's merely incomplete and inaccurate. The point is that you weren't previously spending the entire $5 on domestic goods, you were spending $4.13 on domestic goods and $0.87 on foreign ones. Or, if you prefer, 17 of the mythical 100 companies getting 5 cents from you were foreign.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 10, 2012 1:14 PM  

"Would we be better off if Detroit still dominated the auto industry? Some employees would have higher wages, but would the country really be better off as a whole?"

Why, yes. Yes it would. (pause, then) Hey, where's Perry?

"His $5 argument made sense to me. If I have to spend $5 more on a sweater, I have $5 less to spend on other things, thus the mythical 100 companies will each get 5 cents less from me."

Actually, in a sane and sensible regime, if I have to spend $5 more on a [protectionist] sweater, I also have an extra $5,000 to spend -- because I don't have to send my kids to an expensive private school, I can send them to the free public school that my taxes paid for and built, because it isn't packeded to bursting with jabbering illegal Mexican shit-monkeys.

Anonymous cherub's revenge July 10, 2012 1:42 PM  

Talking about the mass influx of immigrants is misleading as long as we're not also talking about the free healthcare, education, subsidized housing, etc. etc. that we're handing out to anyone who can sneak across the border.

The 14 Mexicans in the two bedroom apt. on Cicero Ave. aren't here for those things. They really are here to plant shrubs, flip omelettes and sling sheetrock, and they still make for a shitty, loud, garbage strewn, smelly, violent neighborhood.

Blogger Joshua_D July 10, 2012 1:47 PM  

cherub's revenge July 10, 2012 1:42 PM

The 14 Mexicans in the two bedroom apt. on Cicero Ave. aren't here for those things. They really are here to plant shrubs, flip omelettes and sling sheetrock, and they still make for a shitty, loud, garbage strewn, smelly, violent neighborhood.


Neighborhoods don't exist, cherub. They are just invisible borders on a map.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 10, 2012 1:58 PM  

"The 14 Mexicans in the two bedroom apt. on Cicero Ave. aren't here for those things."

Au contraire, mon frere. You just haven't been observing them closely enough with the mooch-o-scope. They are indeed here to stuff their packs of greasy ninos into your free schools and hospitals and social welfare systems, which saves them money left over that they'll wire to Mexico to support the rest of the brood of greasy ninos they have festering down there.

Step one of any sane deficit reduction program should be an 80% tax on foreign remittances, with grievous penalties for failure to comply. (I'm thinking vast, poorly-heated Mexican prisons in northern Alaska.) Just think, we could start a whole cottage industry of pompous semi-competent black civil servants whose job is the oversight of the Mexico remittance tax. Since the grease-blobs are ethnically cleansing the vibrants in most cities and there's no love lost, they'll go at it with a hawk's eye. Kills two birds wif one stone.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews July 10, 2012 2:04 PM  

I still have $5 less stuff either way. That may vary from his point, but less money is less money.

-------

Arguing for "free" government education has man flaws, with or without massive immigration.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 2:06 PM  

After reading Hazlitt's conclusion in his book The Wisdom of Hazlitt, I concur with several of his statements and his observations. He does again bring up Free Trade in a paragraph.

One thing I do observe the natural law principle of Macrocosm/Microcosm at work. One aspect, discussed in this second part towards the end of the article, MacrocosmMicrocosm Part II is that this principle exists in human thought processes. As you think in one sphere, you will think the same in the other spheres. In Austrian economics, free market within the society is synonymous with Free Trade amongst nations. Therefore the same arguments trotted out for free market is also trotted out for Free Trade. If it works in the small, it works in the Greater.

But then, Karl Marx advocated a controlled economy within a country while asking for Free Trade. Does that proscribe the law of macrocosm/microcosm? No. Because once Free Trade has done its work and destroyed nations and races, the Soviet social engineers would just capture the "Free Trade" and dictate that as well under One World Government.


What I see in the error of Austrian Economic Theory and in Hazlitt is the lack of the Golden Mean. The Golden Mean is a Law of Nature. Austrian Economic Theory goes to the extreme on false pretenses. Socialism errs on one side of extreme and Austrian Economic Theory errs to the other side of the extreme. The Golden Mean is not on anybody's radar. Protectionism does not prevent trade between nations. Even under Protectionism, trade with foreigners existed and continued to operate. American Business, as Pat Buchanan points out, Flourished under Protectionism! Protectionism prevented foreign chicanery from taking place to harm American business. It levelled the playing field. Protectionism allowed home-grown American businesses to be created and flourish. Free Trade allows no restrictions. Protectionism inserts restrictions in order to protect and level the playing field. Protectionism would be wrong if it ***shut down all foreign trade****. That is not the case but Free Traders want to intimate that. Protectionism is the Golden Mean. Just like within the market, there must be anti-Trust laws and laws against racketering and unlawful collusion.

There must be the Golden Mean and right application of which economic principles to regulate in both the Market and in World Trade. But you can't have Free market, and Free Trade. Neither can you have regimented controlled economy.

It takes a rather acute sense of sophistication to walk this road and my prediction is that this will never occur. The operation of the Golden Mean is too dificult for most people to use or grasp.

Fascist economic theory is of the Golden Mean. In an article at Dr. Makow's site, this exactly has been pointed out! Communists have picked up on Fascist economic theory!

Communism never died, it simply evolved. Marxists know that communism is a total failure as an economic system. Mass starvation and bread lines have been the result of all Marxist economies.

Therefore, activists have followed the advice of authors such as Antonio Gramsci and the School of Frankfurt, and established a strategy based on cultural Marxism and a fascist economy.

(From Communism going Mainstream)

That is right "Cultural Marxism married to fascist economy". But I dare say, the Commies don't know how to operate a fascist economy for Fascists don't use class warfare and envy but the communists do. This paradigm of "cultural marxism and fascist economy" is now what is practiced in America.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) July 10, 2012 2:14 PM  

Wheeler, do you live in an underground bunker whacking off to spartans all day? Chill the f out man! You are so warped that you have no common sense.

Would you prefer another world war Wheeler? Just because something is wrong and will always be doesn't mean you shouldn't try to correct it. Why punish murder or thievery if it always happens?

Anonymous Heh July 10, 2012 2:24 PM  

Wheeler needs his own blog so his tirades don't pollute the comment sections of other blogs.

Scoobius needs a blog, too -- but that one I would actually read, since his comments here make me LOL every time!

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 10, 2012 2:28 PM  

"since his comments here make me LOL every time!"

In the good way, or the bad way?

Anonymous Heh July 10, 2012 2:32 PM  

In a good way -- you so funny, hee hee hee!

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 2:40 PM  

Don't you see that Vox arrived at the same conclusion I did much later:

Not at all. You're not thinking the matter through. Since you're not an anarchist, you presumably understand that governments are necessary evils for certain purposes. But because free trade is predicated on destroying all national borders, the only existing government able to fulfill those purposes will have to be global and supranational.

Now, we can certainly fantasize about that global supranational government being minarchist, but I suspect you know better. This is the inexorable result of free trade, which is why Marx and other globalists who could not care less about human freedom find it a useful doctrine.


Yes, World Government will not be libertarian but after it controls the world, will control the economics.

"Human Freedom" is a misnomer. That is Enlightenment sophistry. You have to give up on the Enlightenment. Neither Greek nor Roman society was engineered around "human freedom". That never existed until the Enlightenment. This has no basis in the Natural Law either.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 10, 2012 2:40 PM  

"you so funny, hee hee hee!"

Not sure I find that phrasing very comforting.

Hmm. Oh well, maybe I'm an idiot. Anything's possible these days, what with that new-fangled Higgs boson and what-all.

Anonymous Jake July 10, 2012 3:58 PM  

cherub's revenge: The 14 Mexicans in the two bedroom apt. on Cicero Ave. aren't here for those things. They really are here to plant shrubs, flip omelettes and sling sheetrock, and they still make for a shitty, loud, garbage strewn, smelly, violent neighborhood.

Ok, so if you're right then they're here to make money by providing an economically beneficial service. That type I find it hard to react too negatively to. If we had more of them and fewer "respectable" tax-parasites working as school teachers and bureaucrats and such we'd be better off. Vox objects that they're going to vote for bad policies. Fair enough, but how many here think the votes matter anyway? And the fundamental problem is that our society accepts violating people's rights based on the vote of a majority. As long as that's true TPTB will always find a way to manufacture a compliant majority to ratify with their vote the predetermined course. And if you don't like that, why not advocate changing the voting laws rather than erecting walls at the border?

Your objection seems to be more aesthetic. Again, fair enough. You don't want to live in a Hispanic slum, neither do I. That's not exactly justification for forbidding anyone you don't like from living anywhere you don't want them to. And I must say it's VERY short sighted to think you're going to fix these social problems by advocating more government action rather than less. What exactly is the gov. track record with solving social and/or economic problems?

Finally, your assumption is unsupportable (not that you tried). Sure some of "them" would come even without the welfare, some strictly come for the welfare, and some come to work but wouldn't be able to do so successfully without the welfare. What percentage of immigrants do YOU think would be here if there were no subsidies for them? Conservatively...50%? Then my solution just reduced immigration by half and INCREASED the liberty of Americans... your solution might manage that (unlikely given how long it's been tried already) but will do so by further infringement on the liberties of American tax payers.

Anonymous unger July 10, 2012 5:04 PM  

The essay was more crap, and proof that Vox is singularly incapable of understanding an argument. I haven't the time to go point by point, but Vox's reasoning, or lack thereof, with regard to point 3, is typical of the piece, and since most of the other points depend in one way or another on the validity of that point's reasoning, it make an excellent target. And since Vox didn't even bother reading what Hazlitt actually said, it makes a very easy target.

3. Here Hazlitt ironically forgets that as a champion of free trade, he cannot assume an increased tariff of $5 on sweaters means five cents less spent on 100 other American products. Since imports presently represent 17.3 percent of GDP, the increased $5 tariff actually means about four cents less spent on 100 other American products. Since he also leaves debt and savings out of the equation, it is entirely possible that the increased tariff does not indicate any reduction in consumption at all. And finally, he also ignores the law of supply and demand, which suggests that the increased price will reduce the demand for sweaters, thereby indicating no effect on other American goods at all.

First, Hazlitt said nothing about a $5 tariff on anything at all, least of all sweaters. Hazlitt wrote - emphasis added for the benefit of the semiliterate:

We can perhaps make this last point clearer by an exaggerated example. Suppose we make our tariff wall so high that it becomes absolutely prohibitive, and no imports come in from the outside world at all. Suppose, as a result of this, that the price of sweaters in America goes up only $5.

Just to make absolutely sure that there's no excuse for anyone to misunderstand what Hazlitt wrote - not that there was any excuse before, and not that it will stop some of you publik-skuled clowns from continuing to misunderstand: Hazlitt presents an hypothetical example of America isolating itself from the world. It once traded; henceforth it will not import anything. The country is not imposing a $5 tariff on sweaters or any other doodads. The actual tariff amount is left unspecified. It could be ten gazillion dollars per item for all anyone cares. The point is that it is prohibitive and completely effective. And the $5 figure Hazlitt gives is something else entirely - namely, the effect of this prohibition is to raise the price of sweaters $5.

Now you should see, immediately, that historical data like 'imports presently represent 17.3 percent of GDP' are irrelevant. If you do not, you're a walking argument for eugenics, and I address myself solely to your intellectual betters. Under Hazlitt's hypothetical example, imports represent precisely 0% of GDP, along with 0% of every other possible economic metric, and, while I don't want to spoil anyone's fun with any complicated math shit, I have to say that this likely has something to do with them not existing.

Anonymous unger July 10, 2012 5:05 PM  

(continued)

And thus, you should see that, under the conditions given, the $5 increase in sweaters does indeed mean that when an American buys a sweater, the sweater industry is $5 richer than it otherwise would be, but all other American industries must do without that $5 - to wit, the sweater industry's gain comes at the expense of all other American industries. Debt and savings are irrelevant to this: they merely shift consumption forward at the expense of the future - perhaps a video game designer does not know that in real life, we cannot keep typing 'idkfa', but ignorance will not save anyone from the reality of scarcity. Supply and demand is also irrelevant to this: Hazlitt is not saying anything so daft as that raising the asking price for sweaters by $5 will directly strip away $5 from everyone else, possibly by magic; he is reminding you clowns - probably in vain - of the simple unfortunate truth, that what is spent on sweaters is not spent elsewhere. Points 4 and 5 are simple expansions on the debt/saving/s&d non-issues.

Shit. I said I was going to limit myself to 3, but I can't help but poke some fun at 6, too. Yes, tariffs and the lack thereof are totally irrelevant to the question of employment. Barring legal restrictions, former steel workers can flip burgers, do laundry, or even sell their affectionate manly embraces for coin, and whether they will do any of those things or hold out for other employment has nothing whatsoever to do with trade theory. Any evidence purporting to show a link between trade policy and long-term unemployment is nonsensical, for the same reason any evidence purporting to show a link between trade policy and Martian ice cap expansion is nonsensical: the causes are elsewhere.

Thus a full 33% of the essay is demonstratedly total failure, and YOU are a failure, dear reader, if you didn't spot it. Protip: the rest is just as bad.

Anonymous fanofcarolus July 10, 2012 7:19 PM  

Test

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 8:40 PM  

Yes, Unger, Hazlitt made a connection between High Tariffs as a wall and his ""extreme"" example of $5 an increase on sweaters.

We can perhaps make this last point clearer by an exaggerated example. Suppose we make our tariff wall so high that it becomes absolutely prohibitive, and no imports come in from the outside world at all. Suppose, as a result of this, that the price of sweaters in America goes up only $5. Then American consumers, because they have to pay $5 more for a sweater, will spend on the average five cents less in each of a hundred other American industries.

First Hazlitt says, "make our tariff wall so high that it becomes absolutely prohibitive". That never happens in reality. Nobody has used tariffs to exclude all imports coming into any country. Hazlitt is making fantasy here. And Tariffs do NOT raise the prices in country whatsoever!

Let's say in 1880 America when there were tariffs, the price of sweaters is $1. Let's say a Scottish guy in NY wants to import Scottish sweaters to the US at .75 cents. Let's say the lobbyists of the Sweater Industry in Congress press for a tariff of an extra .50 cents making imported Scottish sweaters $1.25.

Do the American manufacturers of Sweaters in America automatically rise their prices? NO. They would keep them the same because they ALREADY have the market. Tariffs on Imports do NOT affect the already existent market in the home country! Did not the American economy exist and operate normally without Scottish sweaters?

Yes. The imposition of tariffs has NO impact on home economy because it hums along just as it did the year before! The same customers know what they paid the year before and no doubt that there are four or five or more American sweater companies already competing against themselves! Their open market of sweaters will stay constant.

Let's say in this scenario that Congress does NOT pass a tariff to protect the American home sweater market where American sweaters were + - $1, going rate; i.e. some were .95c others $1.05. Introduce the Scottish sweater for .75c and now the Americans can not compete with the Scottish sweater maker. Chaos and turmoil hit a once placid market. People buy Scottish sweaters. What happens. The American manufacturer has to streamline his operations, fire people that were superflous, go to the Bank, go into debt, dole out huge resources to cut his price and hopefully survive. The weaker of the American sweater companies go out of business.

Tariffs protect home industries, jobs. The laying on of a Tariff does NOT impact the already humming home market. If the Scottish man in NY has his wits about him, he would market his tariff marked sweaters in NY soley and rich boutiques claiming the extra .25c is what rich people want! The American sweater manufacturers will still sell their $1 sweaters to the masses at normal prices.

Hazlitt really doesn't have a grasp of Tariff economics. He is using scare tactics alone. Vox is right. The imposition of duties or tariffs do NOT impact already existent Home Industries who already have a market share. What tariffs do is protect the Home Industries and keep people employed.

Anonymous unger July 10, 2012 8:56 PM  

Tariffs do not raise the prices? Dude. The whole point of a tariff is to raise prices. Foreign manufacturers sell a widget for $4, and domestic manufacturers want to sell a competing widget for $5, and a tariff makes the foreign widget's after-tax cost to the buyer $5 (or more), thus giving buyers incentive to buy the domestic widget instead of the foreign one.

Anonymous map July 10, 2012 9:02 PM  

Unger -

You are not right at all about your $5 sweater example because you are ignoring the substitution effect. Remember, all industries, even monopolies, face downward sloping demand curves. The only way that a $5 increase in sweater prices would lead to other industries getting less money is if the demand for sweaters were truly inelastic, which it never is, since perfectly inelastic demand curves do not exist.

Thus, Hazlitt's example of removing free trade would not lead to sweater manufacturers earning $5 more at the expense of other industries. It would lead to the sweater industry shrinking in size as the higher price causes a shift upward along the demand curve.

Anonymous unger July 10, 2012 9:14 PM  

map: What part of 'if you buy something from X, you're not buying from Y' don't you understand? There is no substitution effect relevant to the matter at hand. There is no demand curve relevant to the matter at hand. If I buy McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell are shit out of luck. This is not difficult to understand. There is no excuse for you not understanding it, because the language Hazlitt and I have used is crystal clear, and the principle involved is not some highfalutin academic nonsense, but a cold hard reality you deal with each and every day of your life.

Anonymous unger July 10, 2012 9:31 PM  

I'm going to spell this out in even simpler terms.

Some of you people say that tariffs are net beneficial to domestic industry.

Hazlitt gives a hypothetical case of a totally effective tariff wall. In this case, 100% of domestic consumption comes from domestic production; there are no imports.

Hazlitt points out that in such a case, if a consumer buys from producer X, he is, by definition, not buying from domestic producers Y, Z, A, B, C, et al.

Hazlitt points out that, in such a case, a purchase benefits the seller whose product was purchased, but the benefit comes entirely at the expense of those whose products were not purchased.

Hazlitt observes, then, that in the case of a totally effective protectionist policy, there could be no net benefit to domestic production, that any benefit to particular domestic producers would necessarily come at the expense of other domestic producers.

Hazlitt points out that a less effective protectionist policy can differ only in degree, not in kind, from the hypothetical totally effective policy - that the benefits will not be net, but will be particular to some domestic producers, and will come at the expense of other domestic producers.

Hazlitt concludes therefrom that the claim that tariffs are net beneficial to domestic producers is false.

Notably irrelevant to anything above: demand curves, substitution effects, debt, savings, eurodollars, eurotrash, derivatives (sorry, Vox, but if you can't understand Hazlitt, you definitely aren't going to be able to understand derivatives markets), etc., etc., etc.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 9:44 PM  

Unger, Tariffs ONLY raise the price on IMPORTS---NOT on domestic products! The Domestic products stay the same!

Unger, I totally agree with you: Unger writes: "thus giving buyers incentive to buy the domestic widget instead of the foreign one.

Correct! Unger you get it!! Yes, you want your kinsmen to support homegrown manufacturing! Yes, You get the picture Unger. Great! Yes, That is the essence of Tariffs! It is about protecting home grown economics!

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 10, 2012 9:52 PM  

Unger writes this: "Hazlitt concludes therefrom that the claim that tariffs are net beneficial to domestic producers is false."

Alright. We don't need no hypotheticals. What Hazlitt needs to do is do the freakin' research! America had tariffs for over One Hundred years. There is an actual Historical example!

What Pat Buchanan proves in his book, is that under the Tariffs, American Businesses FLOURISHED. This is a real time Historical event that can be observed and researched. One Hundred years of American economy of the 19th century proves Hazlitt wrong!

Unger, you must, if you want to prove Hazlitt right, then YOU go to the Historical record, which there is, and you point out where Hazlitt is right! But the historical record proves the OPPOSITE. This is reality! Not your endless voodoo hypotheticals. Hazlitt was too lazy to do research and just resorted to pie-in-the-sky hypotheticals which can't be tested, which we are endlessly arguing about. We have an historical record of Tariffs.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) July 10, 2012 11:17 PM  

"The American economy grew rapidly during the 19th century while it had high tariffs."

That proves nothing. That's the same argument as: "The economy was doing well in the 90's while taxes were higher. Therefore, high taxes are good."

Anonymous Jake July 10, 2012 11:28 PM  

WLW: Unger, Tariffs ONLY raise the price on IMPORTS---NOT on domestic products! The Domestic products stay the same!

No they don't. If a tariff raises the price of imports then domestic products will increase in price as well. Supply and demand and all of that. If your a business and the government cripples a large portion of your competition, driving up demand for YOUR product you're going to raise your prices and increase your product. If this weren't true then it seems very unlikely you'd see domestic industry lobbying for tariffs. What's their benefit? Surely you don't believe the auto industry or the steel industry or the lumber industry, the agri-business, etc. are all and always lobbying for tariffs, quotas, etc out of some sort of selfless public-spirited desire to do "good".

If you doubt this... compare the price of protected goods domestically with the price on the global market. Sugar is a particularly good example. The price of sugar in the US has historically been about twice what it runs on global market.

Anonymous Jake July 10, 2012 11:29 PM  

Profit... not product.

"You're going to raise your prices and increase your profit"

Anonymous unger July 10, 2012 11:49 PM  

History proves nothing, because no historical data can ever tell you what would otherwise have happened. History can tell us that Americans generally did okay with tariffs; history can say nothing to the question of whether they generally would have been better off without them. Only economic theory - 'pie in the sky hypotheticals' - can answer such a question.

You're correct to say that tariffs raise import prices, not domestic prices, but that wasn't what Hazlitt was talking about. He was concerned with the transaction prices. Before the tariff, a buyer could buy a domestic sweater for $25, and a foreign sweater for $20. If he bought a foreign sweater, he could spend the remaining $5 on other goods. The tariff makes foreign sweaters prohibitively expensive, and since, as you say, the tariff does not raise domestic prices, the best sweater price afterwards is $25. Hazlitt is pointing out that while this is great for the domestic sweater manufacturer who was previously not getting the buyer's business, it is not so great for anyone who would previously have gotten the $5 difference, and thus, there is no net benefit to domestic manufacturing - only to certain manufacturers at the expense of others.

As far as wanting 'kinsmen' to support homegrown manufacturing: I'm generally ambivalent about it. I don't especially care for Chinese state-run and slave-made manufacturing, and buy non-Chinese whenever possible, and wish others would do the same, but no, I have no particular fetish for American goods. I buy what serves me best - American when the Americans make what serves me best, Japanese when the Japanese make what serves me best, German when the Germans do, India when the Indians do, Italy when the Italians do, so on and so forth.

And what are 'kinsmen', anyway? I do not consider myself an 'American', except as a verbal convenience, or have any care at all for 'America'. America is 300 million people, spread across an entire continent. Many born American citizens (plus one supposedly, heh) are a clearer and more present threat to my family and friends, and our lives, liberties, properties, culture, and religion, than all the illegal immigrants in the country put together. I know many born white American citizens who have much less to do with 'Western civilization' than many dot-not-feather Indians I know, and you bet I prefer the company of the latter to the former. Which are my 'kinsmen'? I could list example after example, all to show that civilization is real, but knows no political borders; nationality is a cheap and confused substitute. Thus I say: Propinate nobis, similibusque - and piss on the rest, no matter what anyone's passport says.

Anonymous FP July 10, 2012 11:59 PM  

That debate with Krugman is funny, just the few minutes I've watched so far (almost 2 hours long video). Krugman responds to criticism around 48min mark.

Link again for anyone who missed it up thread:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/ultimate-krugman-take-down

Anonymous Suomynona July 11, 2012 12:22 AM  

Vox, check out this video being touted as a Krugaman takedown. The event is in Spain so the introduction and some parts are in Spanish, but there's a lot in English.

Krugman starts his Woody Allen-like stammering at the 9 minute mark. Schwartz's dig at Krugman starts around the 35 minute mark - of which an opening one is, "Keynesians got us into this mess and now we have to sacrifice our principals so that they can get us out of this mess." He concludes around 48:20 at which point Krugman can barely contain his high-pitch whinging. They both start speaking again around 1:05:00. Krugman really is a despicable shifty-eyed little snake. I didn't watch the whole thing.

Anonymous Anonymous July 11, 2012 12:33 AM  

"Hazlitt points out that, in such a case, a purchase benefits the seller whose product was purchased, but the benefit comes entirely at the expense of those whose products were not purchased."

But if the other industries are also enjoying tariff protection, it is irrelevant. The would also have benefited from selling their product at a higher price.

Robard.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 1:14 AM  

@Anon 12:33/Robard: Uh, how? The whole point is that the sale is, in fact, not made - and surely other industries charging even higher prices than before is going to make that problem worse, not better. Protection does not eliminate the necessity or fact of economization. If you have $25, and you want more than just a sweater, you are shit out of luck, and if the prices of non-sweater things go up alongside sweaters, you're that much farther from, not closer to, getting what you want.

At any rate, it'd really be worth reading what Hazlitt wrote. He did, after all, immediately continue by giving an example of, and tracing out the effects upon, one group which, by definition, cannot be protected: exporters.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2012 3:09 AM  

"Hazlitt observes, then, that in the case of a totally effective protectionist policy..."

You can't 'observe' anything in a hypothetical, because you can just make up details until you get the outcome you wanted.

Hey, here's my hypothetical. American sweaters cost $25. Foreign sweaters cost, not $20, but $12; and they aren't just "foreign", they are made in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshis can make them so cheaply because they have an endless pool of child labor, no compunctions about slavery, and zero laws about occupational or environmental safety. Each year over 10,000 Bangladeshi child sweater-makers die in industrial sweater accidents, and their rivers are so poisoned that all their middle classes want to move to --guess where? America!-- but nobody cares because the Bangladeshis consider their sweater industry to be a keystone of their national security policy. Moreover, the true cost of a Bangladeshi sweater is not $12 but $18, but the Bangladeshi government subsidizes the difference because they percieve a national interest in wiping out all other sweater manufacturers.

It works like a charm. The Bangladeshi children work 80-hour weeks for 1/20 of the American minimum wage, so even when the American manufacturers in Sweaterville, Indiana, lobby to cut the minimum wage in half, they can still never compete, because it is impossible for an American worker to make sweaters at a competitive wage under ANY circumstances. Sweaterville, Inc. realizes it has to change its strategy. "Aha, comparative advantage!" they think. "We'll stop making sweaters, and make hoodies instead!" So, at considerable cost, they re-invest in new industrial hoodie-making equipment, and the Oldtown Sweater Factory is turned into a Museum of American Sweater-making, complete with boho coffee shop and feminist book store.

But the Bangladeshis are on to them. Having wrecked the American sweater industry and taken all its market share, they think, "Let's do the same thing with hoodies! After all we've still got another 25 million Bangladeshi nine-year-olds we can exploit!"

And so it goes, over and over, with hoodies, umbrellas, flip-flops, and hipster fedoras. Finally the investors and board of Sweaterville, Inc. say to themselves, "eh, screw it. The only way to turn a profit is to quit manufacturing altogether, and put our capital into investment banking, financing the construction of Bangladeshi factories." They close up shop, and move their corporate headquarters of the new Sweaterville Financial Services LLC to a single office building in another city. Everyone else in Sweaterville is thrown out of work, the city becomes a ghost town. The only customers in the boho coffee shop are the wealthy immigrant children of Bangladeshi sweater tycoons. They buy the museum and turn it into a mosque, then chain-migrate all their poorer cousins into the city, turning Oldtown into Little Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, unger sits at home enjoying his cheap Bangladeshi goods, but is outraged when his taxes keep going up to pay for all the unemployment benefits of the hapless denizens of Sweaterville. Also, he can no longer send his kids to Sweaterville High, because it's become overrun with crack dealers, the only industry the Bangladeshis haven't cornered yet. So he has to send them to an expensive boarding school. He also has to move to the other side of town, because the noise of the Islamic call to prayer blaring from loudspeakers all over what used to be known as Oldtown has become too annoying. Also, he's tired of all his female acquaintances getting stared at and harrassed by Bangladeshis because they aren't wearing a hijab.

Total savings to unger from buying cheap Bangladeshi goods: $350. Total cost in increased taxes, and the hidden costs of turning his life upside down because he no longer lives in a socially healthy Sweaterville: in the thousands of dollars.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2012 3:11 AM  

But wait, there's more! Five years after all of these industries have been driven out of America, and nobody in the country can even remember how to mass-produce sweaters and so forth, the Russians invent an Evil Death Ray. For some reason, the only effective way to protect against the Death Ray is by wearing a sweater, a hoodie, flip-flops and a hipster fedora, and carrying an umbrella.

But since the Bangladeshis are allied with Russia, they simply cut off the supply of these goods to hapless America, while the Russians fry us with the Evil Death Ray.

unger hardest hit.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 3:47 AM  

Ah, you're one of 'those people', the ones who can't tell the difference between pure fiction and conceptualization. America isn't dying because of greedy traders or unscrupulous foreigners; it's dying because schools do not flunk people like you.

But let me get this straight. The Bangladeshi government, in effect, gives us free shit at the expense of its own citizens, and we're thereby made worse off for it? I bet Christmas at your house sucks balls. '*sniff, there's nothing under the tree, daddy...' 'SHUT UP. IF I GIVE YOU ANYTHING YOU'LL LIVE IN OUR BASEMENT FOREVER. IF YOU WANT ANYTHING UNDER THE TREE, YOU'D BETTER PUT IT THERE YOURSELF.'

And, of course, the Bangladeshis can do this indefinitely, until all American industry is wiped out. Their comparative advantage, you see, extends to everything. If they can make one thing cheaply now, they can make Fucking Everything just as cheaply until the sun goes cold! Mysteriously, the Bangladeshis, despite living in a Harry Potter country where they can make whatever they like for practically nothing, and are dead set on doing so, are living in hovels and eating rats, but inconvenient details are for omega sissies, so HAHAHA DISREGARD THAT. But they will continue until no American has anything to do but sit on his ass, and all American industry is wiped out, because god dammit, they're determined to send us shit, even if we don't have anything to exchange for it. They don't mind getting dick in return, because it's all part of the muslim communist russian plan or something.

Ordinarily, I would ask if you believe the shit you write, but I've learned not to do that here; the answer is always 'yes'.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2012 4:59 AM  

Wow, that's an awful lot of flailing and steaming. I musta hit a nerve or somethin'.

"the ones who can't tell the difference between pure fiction and conceptualization"

I wrote the above to satirize the limitations and susceptibility to manipulation of hyptheticals -- you know, as stated clearly in my opening sentence. And you're the one calling me unable to discern conceptualization?

But anyway, why are you calling it "pure fiction"? A lot of my little joke-case bears an alarming amount of similarity to observed reality: from the hollowing-out of manufactures to the retreat into finance to the rust belt societies to the unusable public schools to the demographic unrecognizability of much of America.

If free trade and comparative advantage actually worked in the manner lauded by the theoreticians, there would be no trade deficit, right? Because we would use our mighty comparative advantage to sell something to the grasping mercantilist weasels that they wanted more than Victory, and thus to even the score.

But instead we have a gigantic, pathologically enlarged (is the word hypertrophic? I always forget) trade deficit. How'd that happen? Could it be... that when trading among unequal partners with asymmetrical and non-necessarily economic goals (which is to say, the human race) that the theory is somehow... wrong?

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2012 5:04 AM  

"But let me get this straight. The Bangladeshi government, in effect, gives us free shit at the expense of its own citizens, and we're thereby made worse off for it?"

You didn't get it straight. The "free shit" was never free, it came with all sorts of hidden costs. Like people's jobs and well-being and ability to live at ease in their own country. Did you read any part of what I wrote? The costs don't all come due at once, as in a direct transaction, they are more like the insidious onset of a disease. Again, like a talented man one said, "Circumspice" -- Look around you.

'Gradually, and then suddenly.' Who said, and why?

"And, of course, the Bangladeshis can do this indefinitely, until all American industry is wiped out. Their comparative advantage, you see, extends to everything"

It's a hypothetical, remember? It's intended to simplify in order to illuminate a point. I said "Bangladeshis" for ease of use, but we could just as easily say, as a whole, the Third World "perma-poor." And they can, and do, do what I'm saying. American industry IS being wiped out, and not by the Swiss. Let's say for example (another hypothetical) that a unit of any 10 million members of the Third World perma-poor is sufficient to wipe out a single baseline American industry (we'll exclude really high-tech stuff). Well, Bangladesh has ten such units, Pakistan 13 more, India 112 more, China 114 more, Egypt 10 more, Mexico another 10... that's a lot of discrete industries capable of being wiped out. It adds up.

"Mysteriously, the Bangladeshis, despite living in a Harry Potter country where they can make whatever they like for practically nothing, and are dead set on doing so, are living in hovels and eating rats"

There are these words like leverage and arbitrage and even force that would become relevant right about now. If the Bangladeshi (or choose Country X here) exploiter class, in alliance with say the military, and the police-slash-government, (and perhaps the moral force of religious or Party arbiters) is able to keep the perma-poor toiling away for next to nothing and the exploiter class can leverage the country's poverty for at least a while, then they can indeed, and will, do these things, and the perma-poor will continue their whole rat/hovel way of life. It doesn't have to go on forever; but if it goes on long enough to turn America into a giant economic smoking crater, then from my perspective it went on for as long I cared about.

They're not _all_ getting nothing: take a look at Vancouver. For every 100 Bangladeshis toiling in misery, there will be one Bangladeshi buying up real estate in Lake Tahoe and shoe-horning his son into Stanford. But since there are 100 million Bangladeshis... well..

"They don't mind getting dick in return"

They're not getting "dick" in return, they're getting something quite valuable in return: America.

And it's clowns like you who are handing it to them. Remember when Woody Allen said that 90 per cent of success is just showing up? Well, they're showing up all right.

The Russians must be really kicking themselves. They spent all their money on a super-expensive army to conquer the West, but as the Mexicans have demonstrated, all they really had to do to conquer America, is show up and do the dishes.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 7:50 AM  

Thanks Scoobius for your very helpful comments. Your points are spot on.

I want to also point out the underlying fallacy of both Jake and Unger. Their underlying assumption which is a sort of an Economic Commandment is "Everything at the Lowest Price"! This is somehow a God. That all things must revolve around the """Lowest Price""".

Many people pay for quality so they will willingly pay for something with a higher price. Other people like myself, will buy things that cost more knowing that they are made IN America because American craftsmanship and engineering and pride in materials means something.

This is the point behind much of what drives Economic talk, that is NOT spoken but is the hidden agenda and the accepted Narrative--We must have the lowest price on everything.

And see this is not a science. Economics is not a science. Jake and Ungers and the rest of their approach is a Given, that they accept without critical thought and think that the essence of all economics is "Lowest Price".

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 8:13 AM  

Vox, for your next economic textbook, you need to enshrine this statement by Ungers:

"""History proves nothing, because no historical data can ever tell you what would otherwise have happened. History can tell us that Americans generally did okay with tariffs; history can say nothing to the question of whether they generally would have been better off without them. Only economic theory - 'pie in the sky hypotheticals' - can answer such a question.""

Is it not weird that here "History tells us nothing", that in order to do economics "requires" the existence of hypotheticals that any body can make up the parameters as he sees fit and come to any conclusion he wants.

Economics exists on Hypotheticals! This is the Free Trade Argument is based on. Hypotheticals which most don't really exist in reality and will never exist in reality.

I thought Science was Knowledge of the Essence. Science includes, hypothesis, test, conclusion. Economics has none of this.

What I want to point out to Unger to prove him wrong is that History does PROVE something! We now have a history in this country of Tariffs and a History of Free Trade. I know for a fact that under Free Trade, the Kellogg Corp moved a factory from Battle Creek Michigan that employedd 2500 people to Mexico in the last 7 years.

Now, the City has lost a good percentage of its tax base and the city budget is every year in the red. The city School system has lost students and schools are closing teachers put out of work. There is high unemployement in Battle Creek and crime. Small businesses, like the fence company that I worked for, it seems that all our residential work dried up. (also due to the opening of Menards and Lowes but our market to the middle class for fence dried up.)

There IS an historical record and the historical record of Free Trade is NOW happening before our very eyes. We can see the devasting impact it is having right now on our communities, on our tax bases, on rising crime rate, large expenditures of welfare, government budgets in the red, Camden NJ, cities that are ghost towns, huge unemployment, etc. That is an Historical Record that can be compared to the Tariff History of America with a booming economy and high employment rates.

Compare/Contrast is a great educational tool and one can very well Compare/Contrast America under Tariffs and America under Free Trade.

What is failing to acknowledge in the Free Trade argument as well is that Free Trade has a different system than the Homegrown Manufacturing base. This is NOT figured in with Hazlitt and other Free Traders.

I ask you now, what is the pay scale under Free Trade as compared to Manufacturing pay scale?

Under Free Trade, all you need is one retail clerk. Retail clerks make minimum wage. When one has to manufacture a piece it requires maybe five people to manufacture it and they get HIGHER wages than retail clerks.

Let's grant Unger some wiggle room, Retail, which Free Trade only requires employs the dock worker, the transportation guy and his boss, the retail store, their management and their clerks.

Manufacturing requires raw materials and the people that handle that and transportation, the plant that requires more management than a retail store and many more workers than retail and then transportation as well.

Homegrown industry not only employs more people and uses more people but pays much higher wages than the retail industry does! Free Trade solely needs the Retail side.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 8:24 AM  

To do Retail, requires a salesman. That's it.

To Manufacture, requires plant management, an engineering department, requires skilled tool and die people, requires facilities maintence workers (i.e. electricians, plumbers), requires the worker bees.

Look at the difference between Manufacturing and Retail, the amount of people required and the type of people required. To sell something requires a charismatic personality. That's it!

To Manufacture something requires skilled labor i.e. machinists and so forth, skilled mental labor as in engineers, all these people need skills and skill training.

Free Trade is more destructive to a nation.

And that gets me to the next point. Isn't this called "Capitalism". Capitalism is well "capital". Free Trade destroys the "capital" of the economy of the home country! There is no more capitalism because Free Trade has destroyed "capital". Manufacturing is the third leg of Capitalism, of real wealth generating engines, the other two Agriculture and Minerals/Ores/Timber.

Tariffs are called "Protectionism" for a reason---To PROTECT one's capital! Wow, what a concept.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 8:37 AM  

Vox, I want to point out something else that Unger says. Unger is a good example of the type of people in the Economic argument of Free Trade. I want you to pay special attention to this and I want to thank Unger for honestly telling us something about his true feelings:

"As far as wanting 'kinsmen' to support homegrown manufacturing: I'm generally ambivalent about it. I don't especially care for Chinese state-run and slave-made manufacturing, and buy non-Chinese whenever possible, and wish others would do the same, but no, I have no particular fetish for American goods. I buy what serves me best - American when the Americans make what serves me best, Japanese when the Japanese make what serves me best, German when the Germans do, India when the Indians do, Italy when the Italians do, so on and so forth.

And what are 'kinsmen', anyway? I do not consider myself an 'American', except as a verbal convenience, or have any care at all for 'America'. America is 300 million people, spread across an entire continent. Many born American citizens (plus one supposedly, heh) are a clearer and more present threat to my family and friends, and our lives, liberties, properties, culture, and religion, than all the illegal immigrants in the country put together. I know many born white American citizens who have much less to do with 'Western civilization' than many dot-not-feather Indians I know, and you bet I prefer the company of the latter to the former. Which are my 'kinsmen'? I could list example after example, all to show that civilization is real, but knows no political borders; nationality is a cheap and confused substitute. Thus I say: Propinate nobis, similibusque - and piss on the rest, no matter what anyone's passport says.


This person is nihilistic, deracinated, without any relationship, no sense of duty, atheistic, no love of God and hence of his kinsmen, in short a psychopath. This also must be in your next economics book. Because his outlook and take on economics is based on his nihilism. Economics is a God to him and everything is trodden under the wheels of Free Trade there is no love in him, no sense of The Good.

Free Trade argument is not based on "science" but on ideological grounds and on the perverse nihilism of the individuals. Look upon Protectionists like Pat Buchanan, a god-fearing, upright, traditional Catholic. Like produces Like. That is the Natural Law. Out of evil character comes Free Trade. Out of good character comes Protectionism. Because what all drives this is ORIENTATION, a hierarchy of values. Pat Buchanan is a Nationalist. A Nationalist would be ''''naturally'''' for protectionism. A deracinated atheist/nihilist would ''''naturally'''' gravitate towards Free Trade.

Not only is this argument fraught with ideological underpinnings such as Deracination/World Peace/Equality, but this supposedly economic argument is based on psychology of the interlocutors. Compare/Contrast Pat Buchanan and Unger.

Anonymous VD July 11, 2012 8:41 AM  

The Bangladeshi government, in effect, gives us free shit at the expense of its own citizens, and we're thereby made worse off for i

Yes, even if we accept the idea that the "free shit" is actually free and is magically produced out of thin air. Because there is now no need for anyone to be employed to provide the stuff that the "free shit" replaced.

Do you also believe that domestic welfare is good for its recipients? If you can understand the negative effects of domestic welfare, you should be able to understand the negative effects of even "beneficial" free trade.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 8:47 AM  

Vox, you and ilk dump on me all the time about my admiration of the Spartans. But the Spartans understood something about reality that escapes most people. Jesus alludes to this in one of his parables about a good tree bearing good fruit.

The Spartans endeavored, pushed that all their boys were grown up in The Good. That they all had virtue and that all were religious. They had a concentrated effort to inculcate, indoctrinate their boys in The Good and to being "Good". They understood that. You can see in Unger, his total disgust for his fellow man, his neighbor, his kinsmen. He has no sense of duty and hence no "care". You can not say that about the Spartans. And what Unger is---is what Unger has produced. Unger is your example of the character of Free Traders. They must be Free Traders as much as Pat Buchanan must be for Protectionism. Character of individuals matter and you can see here that the character of an individual is what underscores the Economic argument.

I castigated you about Economics as a science. Economics is intractably connected to the human psyche. It is NOT a science of mathematics, alogorithms, graphs and projections. Buchanan's reasonings will never convince an Unger to be Protectionist. Neither will the reasonings of Unger convince Buchanan. The divide is not reasoning, or science, but character.

Anonymous DJF July 11, 2012 8:55 AM  

""""scoobius dubious writes

Moreover, the true cost of a Bangladeshi sweater is not $12 but $18, but the Bangladeshi government subsidizes the difference because they percieve a national interest in wiping out all other sweater manufacturers.""'

Good points but here I disagree. The Bangladeshi government does not have to subsidize anything. The advantage comes from having 3 dollar a day workers doing the job 16 hours a day and ignoring the other costs in pollution and health.

The “free traders” argument when it comes to subsidies is that the subsidies can’t run forever or they run out of money. But the difference in Bangladesh, India, China is that the advantage needs no subsidy money and those who pay the cost, the workers have no power to stop what is happening so it keeps on going and going. The leadership in these countries who make the decision are not paying any cost for it since they still get their profits so they have no reason to change the system that works.

Anonymous Anonymous July 11, 2012 9:13 AM  

Unger: "The whole point is that the sale is, in fact, not made - and surely other industries charging even higher prices than before is going to make that problem worse, not better."
Yes, but without tariff protection the sale would likely also have been forgone. The argument for protection then boils down to the claim that it is better to not sell a $20 sweater than a $25 one because the former is a smaller loss.

Robard.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 10:34 AM  

There is another aspect here.

Self-Sufficiency.

Self-Sufficiency for a man is a virtue. If it is good for a man to be self-sufficient, then it is good for a state to be Self-Sufficient!

Why? It is quite funny to see Free Trade is based on the argument of Individual Liberty. Isn't this also the basis that Austrian Economics supports Free Trade because it is all about Individual Liberty?

Self-sufficiency breeds Liberty. A state is truly free when it is Self-Sufficient! It needs nothing. Free Trade attacks and destroys Self-Sufficiency. America which is a continent is rich with natural resources, a huge population, which a majority is of German descent (which makes for good craftsmanship and engineering). America is self-sufficient. It doesn't need Free Trade! The basis of American liberty is its Self-Sufficiency! China is running around mad buying up all sorts of resources, but in time of a war---it won't be able to transport that stuff back to China!

One aspect of Liberty is Self-Sufficiency. Does Individual Liberty trump the Liberty of the Nation? The Nation must be Self-Sufficient.

And this gets to another point which I broached in an earlier thread and Scoobius Doobios mentioned in this thread---Defense.

One has to be self-sufficient for defense as well. Free Trade undercuts the defense of the nation. As we have all learned Free Trade was about bringing about World Peace, Free Trade by wiping out 1st World's manufacturing base wipes out its war-making abilities. The Union winning in the American Civil War, WWI and WWII were all made possible by American manufacturing. This is not taken into account by Mises, Rothbard, Mr. North, Unger et al. Hazlitt does mention it but what he doesn't take into account, is the need and the ability for flexibility in a nations economy to expand military manufacturing. But then these people are not really "nationalists" are they. They don't care about Nations, only Individualism. Unger is their patriot.

Has any Economics taken into consideration Self-Sufficiency? Does Austrian Economics consider the metaphysical questions in Economics such as self-sufficiency. And does not Self-Sufficiency in Economics breed Liberty. If the State has Liberty, does not then the Individual have liberty? If the Individual has individual libertarianism and undercuts the State's liberty, is that Individual really "free" and have liberty?

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 11:52 AM  

Unger, I would say is the product of the Enlightenment, the perfect Atomized Individual, Narcistic, Self-seeking, Nihilist.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews July 11, 2012 11:53 AM  

No one has addressed how the decision of which industry gets protected is made. By the logic of some here, we should still have buggy whip makers since they suffered unemployement when the automobile gained prominence. Business has to adapt or die. Protecting "jobs" sounds just like socialism and I have yet to read a compelling explanation of the difference.

I may be misreading you VD, but voluntarily buying "cheap stuff" from Bangladesh is far different than being forced to subsidize those on modern domestic welfare. The latter is compulsory.

I also suspect that moral forces would mitigate, to at least some extent against the mythical Bangladesh. Not perfectly, but anyplace having 9 year olds regularly die in mass amounts would like get shunned.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2012 12:35 PM  

"By the logic of some here, we should still have buggy whip makers since they suffered unemployement"

False analogy within the terms we've been discussing. Nobody uses a buggy whip any more (though in the wake of 50 Shades of Grey perhaps they'll come back into fashion, albeit re-purposed), but people still wear sweaters, and are likely to for a long time to come.

Having a solid, functioning textile industry within our borders, as an example, (nobody reasonable here is saying it has to be 100% American, simply not extinct on these shores) is not going to stifle the creation of the iPad IX. In fact, quite the contrary, it will spur the development of the iPad IX, because people with a steady paycheck like to buy more cool stuff.

"voluntarily buying "cheap stuff" from Bangladesh is far different than being forced to subsidize those on modern domestic welfare"

1. Buying cheap stuff from Bangladesh puts our people out of work.
2. Even though they're out of work, we're not going to allow them to starve.
3. So they go on some form of public dole.
4. A culture of public dependency does not foster healthy families or good habits or sane lives. Doesn't matter how you got on the dole, long-term the end result is generally the same.

"I also suspect that moral forces would mitigate, to at least some extent against the mythical Bangladesh. Not perfectly, but anyplace having 9 year olds regularly die in mass amounts would like get shunned."

What planet are you living on? These things happen right now, right here on Earth, today. Just not in white America.

Yet.

Blogger Peter Garstig July 11, 2012 1:10 PM  

All libertarians accept property and the sovereign use of one's property (Axiom A); and it's morally just. As an example: I can decide who enters my house, who I will trade with.

A group of people sharing a property, therefore, can decide on their own terms on what to do with such a property; and it's morally just. So they can decide who enters their property, and who they want to trade with.

If a nation is conceived as a group of people sharing some property, the therefore can decide what to do with it; and it's morally just. They can decide who to let in, and who they want to trade with and on what terms.

The above is a very logical chain of reasoning.

What the free traders deny, then, is that a nation can be conceived as a group of people. There are no Nations and there are no borders, they say.

But by saying that, they refuse people to form a nation, which directly contradicts the first axiom (which they agree upon). Hence, their whole argument is an outright logical contradiction.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 1:26 PM  

Mr. Andrews writes:

Business has to adapt or die.

Economics is War. Free Trade and Inflation are both engineered, created, manufactured, promoted to cause this "adapt or die" approach.

Why.

Because underneath all of that, they ae evolutionists and believe in a "Higher Man". Free Trade and Inflation create Stress and attack the business environment. It forces businesses to "Adapt or Die". This is called social engineering thru Environmental factors. Unions, which are socialist enterprises, with their constant pay raises every year, purposely create wage inflation. Banks, esp. the Central Banks, create inflation to crush Agrarianism and move people off of farms into cities.

They want this situation. They create this war environment to push for innovation. Free Trade and Inflation are levers for social change. They want this.

Life for the Ungers and the Bradleys out there, is not about Family, or Family/Communal life, or some Transcendent value, but this Utopian need for Evolution for the sake of some "higher Man" where our life is now turned into a Rat Race.

In one of the books I have read was about the dearth of technology in Classical Antiquity. Quite a few Emperors and people turned their backs on technology and remained the same. Classical man had other interests, maybe because he was the higher caste, but was not much concerned for technology. Man today is more materialistic and hence the rat race.

"Protecting jobs sounds like socialism". The root word of socialism is social, of community. If the Enlightenment pushed atomized individualism, the reaction would be socialism. Things were done for the whole of Society, not just for Atomized Individuals.

See, the Atheists in a Christian World feel alienated and their hatred of God drove them to conceive of a place for themselves. Since they were rejected from mainstream society, from the community, they dreamed up individualism as a way to get out from living communally because Atheists can't live communally. The rise of Socialism is a reaction against the Enlightenment doctrine of strict Individualism. (This is why Vox since he started out as an Atheist, as very Highly intelligent people do, has glammed onto libertarianism. His libertarianism is a carry over from his Atheist days.)

But a religious people are a communal people. Christianity is a communal act as it is also an individual act. It is the Golden Mean where one is commanded to meet together. The Greek word for Church is "ekklesia" which means "community".

Austrian Economics which is based in the Enlightenment and accepts its values (all of its leaders were not orthodox Christians) is based on this Enlightenment atomized Individual. They separate Economics into its own field divorced from its communal responsibilities and duties. Economics has Duties and Responsibilities. It is Subservient to the Greater Good of that Society. Economics is the Appetative aspect of the social body. It deals only with the mean and vulgar. This is why the Spartans forbid their warriors to even enter the agora and that business was a dirty word for them. Money was dirty for them. It was left to the Perioci to do. Economics deals with the Base of Life.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 1:29 PM  

Mr Andrews, you are exactly right that Protectionism is like Socialism because the Community comes first and foremost. Because In War as in Life, I need the community to rescue me. I can't take on the Chinese and Mexican or Black hordes all by my lonesome. War requires community in order to survive it. Life is War and War will never leave the earth. Economics is about serving the survivialist capabilities of a Society. When I need to conduct war, I must have a manufacturing base in order to survive War. Therefore I will engage in Protectionism for the sake of My kinsmen. This is the Virtue of Righteousness. Duty to God, Duty to one's kinsmen. Protectionism is just not socialism---it is Wisdom.

What is wise to do. That is the parameter that must lead all Economic questions. Economics is not about profit margin NOR is it about the Lowest Prices. That is base vulgar thinking.

Economics is about Life and economics must be ordered rightly. Economics does not exist by itself. It is connected to the individual psyche and to the community. Economics is the life blood. If Money is like blood which transfers things amongst the different parts, so economics is the stomach that provides the physical sustenance of the body politic. The body politic must control the stomach and not the stomach the body! Economics must be guided by Wisdom. And economics is subservient to the needs and wants of the Nation/Race.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 4:05 PM  

Wheeler: You'll have to forgive me for saying that you're the real globalist here - that your position is indistinguishable from David Rockefeller's now-infamous "The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries." And since I do not consider you my kinsman, and you have no reason to consider me yours, it follows that you should kindly mind your own business.

At any rate, who's the godless atheist? You're openly calling for Roman-style slavery - no, make that Spartan-style slavery - in order to protect your 'way of life'. You're so fucking scared, not just of death, but of mere discomfort, that you'll do anything to anyone, take anything from anyone - and worse, think you're excused, even 'virtuous', in doing it - if it means keeping a god damned gravy train for yourself in this world. "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."

Scoobius: The difference between Hazlitt's thought experiment and yours is that his actually isolates a mechanism and a variable and explores how changes in the variable mean changes in a result. Which is to say that Hazlitt is doing something philosophy, going all the way back to the Greeks of which my non-kinsman is so fond, recognizes as valid science, and you, on the other hand, are talking out your ass.

Vox: Nice non-acknowledgement of your failure to comprehend Hazlitt's college-freshman-level English. Hey, maybe if you ignore the problem, it'll go away?

But to reply to what you did write, I'll quote Bastiat himself:

"The truth is that we should reverse the principle of the balance of trade and calculate the national profit from foreign trade in terms of the excess of imports over exports. This excess, minus expenses, constitutes the real profit. But this theory, which is the correct one, leads directly to the principle of free trade. I present this theory to you, gentlemen, just as I do all the others that have been the subjects of the preceding chapters. Exaggerate it as much as you wish; it has nothing to fear from that test. Assume, if it amuses you, that foreigners flood our shores with all kinds of useful goods, without asking anything from us; even if our imports are infinite and our exports nothing, I defy you to prove to me that we should be the poorer for it."

And to bring up welfare here is just pathetic. You're really grasping now. You didn't bring it up in reply to Bastiat's exaggeration above, in which case one might reasonably inquire about the moral effects of removing all material incentives to work (just so we're absolutely clear, 'poorer' referred solely to material wealth); you brought it up in an attempt to point out, I quote, "the negative effects of even 'beneficial' free trade." And if you cannot see the difference between getting paid to do nothing and getting paid for what you produce, you are superintelligence indeed.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews July 11, 2012 5:21 PM  

The modern welfare system is ultimately going to cause a lot more people to starve when it collapses. Arguing for or against free trade based on it is not logical. It does drive many things that are not logical, but that should be an argument against it, not an argument for other things. (to sd)

Peter, the problem with that view is that it opens up to the same modern situation of the connected insiders forcing everyone else to subsidize their interests. How would managed trade be any different?

Clearly the idea of completely free trade has problems, especially as implemented today (or not implemented in reality), but the case has not been made that the alternative of managed trade doesn't also have significant problems of its own.

Anonymous artie July 11, 2012 5:43 PM  

As if doing nothing will create wealth...

Anonymous cherub's revenge July 11, 2012 5:57 PM  

foreigners flood our shores with all kinds of useful goods, without asking anything from us; even if our imports are infinite and our exports nothing, I defy you to prove to me that we should be the poorer for it.

I offer as evidence to Bastiat any Black neighborhood in America.

Unger will stack hypothetical on top of hypothetical, dismissing hypotheticals that actually use mechanisms and actors we actually see here on planet Earth. And of course he's already dismissed out of hand any historical (read empirical) evidence for which he'll submit a yet more outlandish hypothetical.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 6:05 PM  

The modern welfare system is totally irrelevant to the question. Our trading partners are not paying us not to work. It really is that simple, and I'm appalled that Vox thought it'd be a good idea to try to make the link.

At any rate: The sort of people harping about how 'self-sufficiency is a virtue', without any further qualifications, to a man wouldn't last twelve hours in a world where they were really forced to be totally self-sufficient. The biggest-swinging-dick alpha male here would fare little better than the average 'male feminist' if he were dropped into the Amazon stark naked. Without a single exception, their hooting about self-sufficiency is done with tools they didn't make, couldn't make, don't know how to make, and could never reverse-engineer from scratch. The same is true for just about everything else that keeps them above the level of field rats - and, for that matter, above ground, instead of six feet under it. So they don't really believe what they preach, and are just using 'self'-sufficiency as an excuse for ruling others. And therein lies the real comparison to welfare. They are the ones who wish to be paid not to work; they are the ones who wish to receive all the good things of life without giving what others want in return. Someone can make something cheaper than they can - or, really, than they want to - and their answer is not to find another field of work, or accept a pay cut, or otherwise do anything honorable, but to force their neighbors to support them, whether their neighbors like it or not. The difference between a protectionist and a welfare mammy bawling about how her chilluns need de food stamps is nil. It is probably no accident that both start quacking about 'race' whenever they're told 'no' - the mammy that we's raciss for oppressin' her, and the protectionist that we don't care about our race. A pox on them both!

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 6:09 PM  

cherub: Two black neighborhoods. The inhabitants of neither do any work. Neighborhood A gets welfare. Neighborhood B gets nothing. Which neighborhood is going to be poorer? If you answer B, you're a superintelligence. Doubtless you will; doubtless you are.

Anonymous cherub's revenge July 11, 2012 6:23 PM  

Unger, the concept of racism being a wrong is young and fleeting. Traitors on the other hand have been hanged since time immemorial.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 6:41 PM  

Free trade isn't treason, and you're a thieving little rat, the moral equal of Rawshan jacking cars at stoplights, if you think otherwise. You do not own other people's property, which precludes you having authority to govern whether other people exchange their properties. If you assert such authority anyway, you're a usurper, a traitor to the God who ordained property for men, and deserve not only death, but hell, for your avaricious rebellion.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 6:53 PM  

This is really fun to watch. Puffed-up spiritualists accusing us of atheism, when they're the ones who hold this world in such esteem that they'd grind their fellow men - well, gooks, anyway - into the dust just to keep their 'standard of living'. Highfalutin nationalists accusing us of treason, when they're demanding the right to ignore the most fundamental moral ordinance of human existence, the mutual respect of which is a sine qua non of anything that can rightly be called a society. And people bawling about welfare queens while demanding that the State guarantee their jobs and paychecks in the face of competition. What's next?

Anonymous cherub's revenge July 11, 2012 7:35 PM  

fundamental moral ordinance of human existence

Loyalty. God created the tribe before he gave them the law.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 7:38 PM  

God created the tribe before he gave them certain laws. Others he instilled in their very natures as individuals - and thus, some laws come before tribes. But thanks for playing.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 7:42 PM  

It's also worth noting that loyalty requires something by which it can be tested. You can't say 'What's mine is yours' without first having something about which you can rightfully say 'mine'.

Anonymous cherub's revenge July 11, 2012 7:49 PM  

No tribe in history hasn't modified property rights for the greater good of the tribe. Your philosophy is that of children,cynical Jews and Cheetoh stained autists.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 7:57 PM  

Sure. But did they have a right to? Or was it just the powerful lording it over others, and calling it 'greater good'? For surely calling something 'greater good' doesn't make it so.

As for you: exactly why do you think you're entitled to my loyalty - and, of course, entitled to a paycheck at my expense? Before you speak of loyalty, defend yourself from the charge of being just one more entitled American princess.

Anonymous cherub's revenge July 11, 2012 8:05 PM  

Sure. But did they have a right to?

That right there makes it a pretty sure bet you fall in the Cheetoh stained autist category. Now, waddle over to the basement mini-fridge, grab another Mt. Dew and have the last word. I'm finished.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 8:18 PM  

You're finished alright. So's your civilization, mostly because of people like you who pissed on everything that made a working social contract possible - who preferred Al Capone's dictum that you can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word. You're just another leftist, unsatisfied with the transcendent order of things and determined to set the world aright by force. And if I am a cheetoh-stained autist, well, so were C.S. Lewis, Richard Weaver, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (who Wheeler, despite his proclamations to the contrary, obviously never read - his 'What Is Left' essay is pretty well a laundry-list of the shit your side is peddling), and of course stinking greedy jews like Moses and St. Paul.

You don't deserve my loyalty and you don't deserve the fruits of civilization. Fortunately, you don't have the former and you soon won't have the latter, either.

Anonymous DJF July 11, 2012 8:38 PM  

So you claim to own property. Yet have you the agreement of your neighbors that its your property? What gives you the right to impose on others your claim for that property without their agreement? Why isn’t their claim to be just as valid since you don’t have any agreement with them that the property is yours?

While on the other hand the road your “free trade” goods passes along is the road owned by the people and so the people get to determine who uses it, and what is carried on it. If you agree to join the commons and become one of the people you have the right to use that road but only when following the restrictions that the people put on that road.

The only way out of this is to declare yourself to be sovereign and have ownership by your own declaration and the use of force to make that property yours. Might is your right if you decide that agreement is impossible. The same with the road, you use it without the permission of the commons and so you use it by your willingness to use force.

But a might makes right world will probably have even less “free trade” then the present one with your neighbors giving agreement.

So are you a sovereign individual or are you part of the community by agreement?

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 9:06 PM  

Neither.

Property is a divine institution, given to us for our good. The link between owner and owned, and the distinction between mine and yours, are real truths, which human laws ought to recognize and uphold, and human laws are good laws only to the extent that they do uphold them.

Community exists for the nourishment and betterment of individual souls. All communities will perish; all souls, however, will exist in some way or another eternally, which rather neatly settles the question of priority. The individual is prior to the community, and community is good only to the extent that it serves individual goods. Community exists only insofar as it serves individual goods - there is no community, for instance, between a carjacker and his victim: the crime severs whatever bonds of community may have existed. And just as a carjacker cannot rightly modify fundamental goods and rights, even by pointing out the benefits to himself and his family and friends, you cannot rightly modify them in that manner either.

The answer to your question, then, is that no one is a sovereign individual, and no one is merely part of a community, either.

Anonymous unger July 11, 2012 9:35 PM  

Hey, Wheeler. I took the liberty (so to speak) of typing out my pdf of your supposed hero EvKL's 'What Is Left', since I'm having a hard time believing you ever read him, or that if you did read him, you understood him any better than Vox understood Hazlitt. I also took the liberty of boldfacing a few items that seem especially relevant to your pathology. Uh, I mean philosophy. Do feel free to comment.

---

What is Left?

1) Materialism - economic, biological, sociological
2) A messianic role assigned to one group: a nation, a race, a class
3) Centralization - elimination of local administrations, traditions, characteristics, etc.
4) Totalitarianism - all spheres of life pervaded by one doctrine
5) Brute force and terror taking the place of authority which is an _endogenous_ force
6) the ideological one-party state
7) Complete state control of education
8) "Socialism" - the opposite of personalism
9) The Provider State (Welfare State) from the cradle to the grave
10) Militarism (_not_ bellicism), conscription, people's armies, _levee en masse_
11) A rigid ideology enforced by the state, complete with anti-image of "the enemy"
12) The anti-monarchical leader system; the leader (_Fuhrer_, _Duce_, _Vozhd_) impersonates the people, he is not a father, but a brother, "Big Brother"
13) Antiliberalism, hatred of freedom
14) Antitraditionalism, the fight against the historic past, against "reaction"
15) Territorial expansionist tendencies as a form of self-realization
16) Exclusiveness: no other deities are tolerated
17) The elimination of the _corps intermediaris_, the intermediary bodies
18) Conformity of the mass media (press, radio, television)
19) Elimination or relativization of private property; where it survives in name, it is totally under state control; the entrepreneur is merely the steward of his "property"
20) Persecution, subjection or control of all religious bodies
21) "Right is what benefits the People" (Hitler); "Right is what benefits the Party" (_Partiynost_, Lenin)
22) Hatred of minorities
23) Glorification of the majority and of "average man"
24) Glorification of revolution, revolt, upheaval
25) Plebeianism, the fight against former elites
26) The hunt for "traitors", resentment against emigrants
27) Populism and uniformism (people's courts, people's cars, etc.)
28) Ideological roots in the French Revolution
29) Constant reference to the democratic principle
30) A dynamic monolithism: state, society, and people become _one_
31) Coordination through slogans, poems, songs, symbols, phrases
32) Secular rites replacing religious rites
33) Conformism as vital principle
34) Incitement of mass hysteria
35) Technology in the service of power
36) Freedom - below the belt
37) Everything for, everything through the state, nothing against the state (Mussolini)
38) Life is totally politicized: tourism, sports, recreation
39) Nationalism or internationalism as against patriotism
40) The fight against extraordinary people, against "privileges"
41) The total mobilization of energy in the interest of party and state.

What is Right? Very simply: the absence or the contrary of these principles.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 11, 2012 11:32 PM  

Unger, EvKL though I like him a lot has several errors. Yes, I have read his list. He states many times that he is a "Classical liberal". Well, a Classical Liberal is a nihilist. One proof, that Classical Liberalism believes in the separation of Church and State. Well, that is an Enlightenment idea, not of Classical Antiquity nor is it Western Civilization. It is not right. The unity of Church and State was central to Christendom, to Sparta and to Rome. Religion and state were entwined. That is the Old Order. Classical Liberalism because of this countering the Old Order, is nihilist. EvKL did not have the complete truth nor did he have the real Original Natural Law.

All people who promote, condone, teach, advertise for Free Trade are Traitors. They betray their kinsmen. Free Trade is existential genocide. It is part and parcel of a murderous ideology. Karl Marx himself approves of Free Trade and knows its consequences. Free Trade is designed to kill nations---that my friend is genocidal. Not only is Free Trade makes one a traitor, but to advocate it makes one into a genocider.

And then Unger writes this utter garbage: "Community exists for the nourishment and betterment of individual souls. All communities will perish; all souls, however, will exist in some way or another eternally, which rather neatly settles the question of priority. The individual is prior to the community, and community is good only to the extent that it serves individual goods.

The Natural Law is "The Whole is made up of Parts". That is Logic. Unger reverses this when he says the community serves the individual. That the Whole serves the parts. No. The parts serve the whole. Unger kings the parts. The Individual does not come prior to Community. For it was community, the Union of Man and wife that created the Individual! The Community comes first. Out of families comes community. The Individual is just a part and does NOT have Self-Sufficiency. Unger you are illogical. Logic is found in the cosmos. All the organs in the body serve the whole. The whole does not serve the organs.

Unger just who the heck are you? You are not a conservative and you certainly are not religious. Who are you? You sound like some 15 year old know it all. You claim to be some sort of religious person, you use "us", but what you type does NOT match what you claim you are. Frankly, you are bizarre. What religion are you? Who are you?

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 11, 2012 11:52 PM  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcCXnXDiKoQ

Anonymous unger July 12, 2012 12:12 AM  

The Natural Law is 'the whole is made up of parts', you say? Then aren't you the one reversing it, saying, in effect, that the parts are made up of the whole, when you claim that people have identity only through their community? Some logician you are.

I don't know what to make of the assertion that the unity of church and state was central to Christendom. Perhaps Henry IV, shivering barefoot in the snow, would have something to say about that? (I don't care if it was central to pagan societies - indeed, I'd be surprised if it weren't, because, as I Samuel 8 makes clear, the state is a substitute for God. Personally, I think Bastiat had it right about the supposed virtues of Greece and Rome. Certainly he had it right about how idolizing them is idolizing the plunder and slavery of the many, in the name of the idleness of a few - and you've admitted that you're a case in point.)

Who am I? I'm someone who doesn't like his civilization going to pot, and sees that the expansion of State authority has been the greatest accelerant of the fall to date. I'm someone who believes in holding people personally responsible for their actions, and who understands, as you do not, that every expansion of State authority is a diminution of personal responsibility, and thus, all opportunity for moral development. I'm someone who doesn't like heretics like you using the name of Christ to support every oppression, impoverishment, enserfment, and enslavement the State can dream up and advertise as upholding some 'common good'. I'm someone who thinks slavedrivers and thieves look better with bullet holes. I'm someone who minds his own business and expects others to do the same. I'm someone who internalized the old kindergarten lesson to keep his hands to himself. And, of course, I'm someone whose reading comprehension skills dwarf the Superintelligence's.

Anonymous unger July 12, 2012 12:24 AM  

But yes, all that's just leftist crap, not the very definition of conservatism (at least in the transcendent-order sense of the word). EvKL disagrees, and actually pins the leftist label on you, but he's wrong just this once. Maybe the Bangladeshis did something to him. Crafty little gooks, ain't they?

Anonymous unger July 12, 2012 1:00 AM  

Oh, and, I'm also someone who recognizes, as you do not, that mass, strength, and goodness are not the same thing. I'm also someone who recognizes, as you do not, that neither happiness nor survival are the highest ends, and that people who chase them, especially by the sword, are bound to lose them, and what's more, deserve to lose them.

All hallmarks of leftist atheistic nihilism, of course.

Which means that it's pretty rich for you to be calling me a 15-year-old know-it-all. From your picture, you're at least 60, yet you have all the moral maturity of Suri Cruise (or whatever her last name is now). It'd be funny if it weren't so sad. Now please go watch '300' for the fifth or sixth time today, and leave economics and philosophy in more competent hands.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 12, 2012 1:49 AM  

Woo-hoo! The Mayor is back!

"The difference between Hazlitt's thought experiment and yours is that his actually isolates a mechanism and a variable and explores how changes in the variable mean changes in a result."

Like all economists, Hazlitt, as the old joke goes, assumes a can opener: that is, his thought experiment requires, a priori, a physical matrix in which to exist: a functioning society, with its own cultural and political and demographic particulars, in which to explore the variables. But how did this society get there? What is it? (Which is to say, which one?) How did all the little swirling random personal-choice-making libertarian atoms mysteriously coalesce into a specific formal structure which Hazlitt can purport to examine? Economists never say, and so I never take them seriously. Sorry.

What does America in 2012 actually look more like: the scenario I described, or Hazlitt's imaginary terrarium? How did it get that way? Huh, I wonder about that. I have my hunches.

"[quoting Bastiat]: Assume, if it amuses you, that foreigners flood our shores with all kinds of useful goods, without asking anything from us; even if our imports are infinite and our exports nothing, I defy you to prove to me that we should be the poorer for it."

Begs the question. Bastiat assumes something he calls "we", which can be made richer or poorer, and moreover he assumes that whatever "we" is, it is stable over time. But who is this "we"? Perhaps Bastiat in 19th-cent France could presume a stable "we"; I wonder what he'd say about Paris today. As for the USA, this isn't remotely the same country it was even 20 years ago, let alone Hazlitt's America. Certain very busy little beavers have been hard at work for quite a long time, to make sure Americans can no longer say "we" in any meaningful way. Hmm I wonder what their goal was.

In another two or three generations, the people of whom Bastiat said "we" shall have ceased to exist, and the "foreigners who flood our shores with useful products" will be the new "we", having also flooded the shores with -- themselves. And Bastiat's "we" shall be poor indeed: they shall have lost their country. But then, you know perfectly well what it's like to be without a country -- you don't have one right now -- and it doesn't seem to bother you in the least.

As for the rest of your babbling, it's fanaticism and monomania, the things you do best.

Go play with your life-size cast-resin model of Captain Ahab.

Anonymous unger July 12, 2012 2:30 AM  

Why should I take you any more seriously than you take Hazlitt? It isn't as if you can explain any better than he can how society comes to be. And I fear that if I ask, you'll tell me that the State assembles society out of spare people like a child building a toy castle out of legos.

As for Hazlitt's imaginary terrarium, as you put it: it doesn't look like America because it wasn't intended to, dumbass. The closest analogue would be North Korea. (I have to laugh at that, and you - you imagine that you deal only in facts, yet you ignore or try to weasel out of every fact that stands against you. North Korea's protectionist policies are the most successful on earth, maybe the most successful in history, yet its people - fully employed, at that - starve by the millions. But oh noes, that's because of other factors; meanwhile, America's prosperity, dat's all protectioniss. And France's downfall is 'cuz of free trade, amirite? Mindless publik-skuled drone!) But it wasn't intended to look like any real nation at all; it was merely intended to illustrate a mechanism. Which it did - or if it didn't, you've not even attempted, thus far, to show how and why.

And did I read you right? Did you say that Bastiat assumed the existence of something called 'we', which can be made richer or poorer? Did you suggest that this 'we' is not terribly meaningful? Tell me, what makes his 'we' meaningless, and yours - the one you call a 'national interest' - meaningful?

Then maybe you can explain exactly what question Bastiat begged. I would have imagined that the identity of 'we' was pretty clear - namely, the people who get to own and enjoy the goods - but as I have seen (and shown), reading comprehension is generally frowned upon here, doubtlessly because you hicks consider literacy to be a mark of 'globalist elitism'. And those people would indeed be wealthier, and the foreigners poorer, unless you have a strange new definition of wealth. Wherein failed he? Nowhere. You're talking out your ass.

As for the rest of your babbling, it's obscurantist bosh, which you do best. Please go play with matches and propane.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 12, 2012 5:00 AM  

"Why should I take you any more seriously than you take Hazlitt?"

Oh, pish tosh. If _you_ took me seriously, it'd be an indication that I ought to shoot myself. I'm rebutting you for my own amusement and using you as a sort of human scratching-post, and for the amusement of other readers, not because I have any need to convince you (which I won't), nor any respect for what you say.

"It isn't as if you can explain any better than he can how society comes to be."

I don't need to explain anything. I'm not the one proposing a Grand Zany Theory of Everything. My position is simple: grand zany theories are bad, and the people who propose them are either imbeciles, or else they have a sinister ulterior motive, usually involving profit and power for themselves. You're the rare case where both things appear to be true at once.

"The closest analogue would be North Korea... North Korea's protectionist policies are the most successful on earth"

See, you're an imbecile. North Korea is not a "protectionist" state, in the way that (arguably) Tokugawa Japan was, although even that comparison would be stretching it; NK is a Communist madhouse-slash-police state, run by a sociopathic gangster clique of militarists, sadists, and crackpot ideologues (see Grand Zany Theory). They do not pursue the well-being of their people (contrast MITI-run Japan), they pursue the consolidation of their own power, and the perpetuation of their delusions. Historically this has been sustainable because they are on a peninsula, sandwiched between their key ally and pathological enabler, another quasi-Communist madhouse, on one side, and their kinsmen-slash-enemies, who have til not so long ago been a cat's-paw for their imaginary enemy, the United States. It makes for a rather cramped worldview. The whole thing was/is further enabled by the cultural Asian penchant for hierarchy and inward-looking. If that's your example, you're in the trunk of the car with Thelma and Louise, flying over the cliff. Get your nose out of all these crackpot theoretical Chick tracts of yours, and look at some real-life history.

Furthermore, the North Koreans have this advantage: when they finally awake from their mass delusion, as eventually they must, and with the world's worst historical hangover... at least they will still all be Korean, and will be able to pick up where they left off with the Korean people's history. This can't be said for France, or Britain, or Sweden, or the USA.

"meanwhile, America's prosperity"

Somebody book this guy a Monday night slot at the Laugh Factory. He may not have a good ten minutes, but he's got a hilarious three words!

"Mindless publik-skuled drone!"

Heh. That's cute. He thinks he knows something about my schooling. Next he'll want to eat off the table, just like humans do!

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 12, 2012 5:01 AM  

"And did I read you right?"

No, you did not. In fact, you read me exactly wrong.

"but as I have seen (and shown), reading comprehension is generally frowned upon here..."

Well, well, well. The gods of irony are never far from an idiot's door.

"Then maybe you can explain exactly what question Bastiat begged."

Bastiat didn't beg the question: you did, by quoting him, and assuming the same things he assumed, when you have no basis for doing so. Observe:

"I would have imagined that the identity of 'we' was pretty clear - namely, the people who get to own and enjoy the goods"

No, Bastiat does not mean "we, the consumers," he means, "we, the French." He talks about "foreigners" (not abstract widget-producers) flooding "our shores" (not an abstract market sector). Moreover, he talks about "our" imports and exports, which generally have a metric on a national scale -- that is, unless he is on the board of directors of an import/export company, addressing the rest of the board; I believe that is not the case, though. When we add it up, then, we see that by "we" he means "we Frenchmen, we of France." Not only has his claim evaporated in the space of 150 years, but you have no basis for employing the same understanding.

You were saying something about reading comprehension I believe.

"those people would indeed be wealthier, and the foreigners poorer"

By your own definition, is the counterpart of "own(ers) and enjoy(ers) of goods" now "foreigners"? You can't even comprehend what you yourself write.

Anonymous scoobius dubious July 12, 2012 5:02 AM  

NURSE: Doctor Unger! Your revolutionary new techniques have succeeded in killing the patient!
DR. UNGER: Yes, yes, but it's of little importance. What matters is, my theory was sound.

* * *

FREE TRADER: Step right up, everybody, and sell me your birthrights in exchange for a mess of pottage! Who needs those illusory, imaginary birthrights that don't mean anything anyway, when right here, right now I'm willing to take them off your hands for a real-live, gen-u-een, tastiest-thang-you-ever-seen, aromatic ol' mess of pottage! Why, it's practically free! Don't hesitate, trade your birthright today!

"Please go play with matches and propane."

Funny, that: I make a cute little joke about Ahab's obsession, and you skip straight to unvarnished physical harm, in a style that is zero wit and all malice.

It's just a blog, you know. Heidi Klum isn't going to date you if you score a point on me.

Anonymous map July 12, 2012 6:30 AM  

Unger,

"Hazlitt gives a hypothetical case of a totally effective tariff wall. In this case, 100% of domestic consumption comes from domestic production; there are no imports.

Hazlitt points out that in such a case, if a consumer buys from producer X, he is, by definition, not buying from domestic producers Y, Z, A, B, C, et al."

And if producer X was a foreign company, then definitely no one is buying from domestic producers y,z,a,b,c.

After foreign producer X is removed from being an importer, then people will buy from y,z,a,b,c domestics.

Anonymous map July 12, 2012 6:37 AM  

Unger,

You are not right about the pricing effects.

Anonymous DJF July 12, 2012 6:55 AM  

""""Unger writes

Property is a divine institution, given to us for our good."""

So God told Joe Smith that he owned 123 Maple Avenue, a 3 bedroom cape house on half a acre?

I don't think that god tells people who owns what. That is left to humans and its either voluntary or its forced. Either you get together with your community and set up rules on who owns what and how they can claim ownership or you impose your ownership on others or some combination. Such as when the community rules impose on those who want to go against the community system, then they impose force to get those who won't agree to obey.

And when it comes to join ownership by the community such as roads then its the community which decides how those roads are to be use and if they want to say that there should be a tariff on imports to the community then they have that right.

A separate question, why do the “free traders” find tariffs so offensive? I have read some who have declared a tariff to be a mortal sin which is funny since the ones who have said such things are atheist. They seem to hate tariffs more then almost anything, but all a tariff is, is a tax and there are plenty of taxes in the world yet tariffs are singled out.

I have never heard of sales taxes or property taxes or income taxes so attacked, but mere mention of a tariff drives the “free traders” wild. Is it because “free traders” are internationalists and know that tariffs interfere with their jumping back and forth across borders to avoid national and local laws so they can find the place with the lowest standards of behavior, ie slavery, serf, exploited worker to make a buck. That the “free traders’ only talent is a lack of morals and willingness to search the world to find someone, anywhere who will work for a dollar cheaper then their present work force? They don’t innovate, they don’t improve, they don’t raise standards, they live off of the weak, the powerless, the poor.

And speaking of North Korea, the “free traders” would flock to North Korea if they open their doors, just like the “free traders” flocked to China and Vietnam. Just think how much money the “free traders” could make hiring North Korean workers at a dollar a day while being in partnership with the North Korean government who will use its power to keep the workers under control.

Both South Korea and China have deals with North Korea to allow their companies to enter North Korea and hire the cheap labor inside ‘free trade zones“. You can probably go down to Wal-Mart and buy things which contain North Korean content. But the “free traders” will scream if anyone proposes to impose tariffs on these products because they live off such deals and know that without them they are nothing.

Anonymous DJF July 12, 2012 8:01 AM  

And this first link shows the ‘free traders” in North Korea. Kaesŏng Industrial Park a joint North Korea/South Korea deal presently with 50,000 workers who are paid $57 a month. They have hopes to increase this up to more then half a million workers

And since we now have a “free trade” deal with South Korea and the World Trade Organization has ruled that the US can’t force the labeling of products with national origin, how much do you want to bet that we will soon have lots of North Korea products on the shelves care of the ‘free traders’ This will of course then give the North Korean government lots of money which will keep them in power just like it kept the communists in China and Vietnam in power. And the ‘free traders’ love communist governments since they are experienced at keeping the workers under control.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaesong_Industrial_Region

And its not just TV’s Cars, Computers, etc that the South Koreans produce. Here is the Boeing company proudly proclaiming that they have received the first 10 AH-64D Apache Block III attack helicopter fuselages made in South Korea for the US Army.

If the North Koreans manage to expand their Kaesŏng Industrial Park to 700,000 workers at $57 a month I bet they can also make these helicopter fuselages as well since the “free traders” have no talent except finding cheap laborers.

http://boeing.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=2341

Blogger Vox July 12, 2012 9:56 AM  

You're really grasping now.

Sure, Unger. You've gotten your ass kicked all over the place by multiple commenters as well as me, and your response is to claim that I somehow haven't understood the guy whose many errors I have correctly identified. That is indeed amusing.

And you proved my suspicions about free traders here: I do not consider myself an 'American', except as a verbal convenience, or have any care at all for 'America'.

That much was obvious. As has become increasingly clear, dogmatic free traders are contemptible, traitorous globalists of no more moral integrity than Marxists or Communists, and their arguments that free trade will benefit the very nations whose existence they reject are simply lies.

Blogger Vox July 12, 2012 10:02 AM  

The modern welfare system is totally irrelevant to the question. Our trading partners are not paying us not to work. It really is that simple, and I'm appalled that Vox thought it'd be a good idea to try to make the link.

That's because you're not very intelligent. The idea of advocating free trade for the benefit of other nations at the expense of one's own is very similar to the idea of advocating welfare for the benefit of some citizens at the expense of other citizens. Now, most free traders claim that free trade will always benefit both nations, per Ricardo, but they have been shown to be both logically and empirically mistaken.

You don't deserve my loyalty and you don't deserve the fruits of civilization. Fortunately, you don't have the former and you soon won't have the latter, either.

You don't have any loyalty to give. You don't even recognize the existence of nations. And it is free trade, especially in its free movement of labor aspect, that is one of the significant factors destroying Western civilization.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler July 12, 2012 12:05 PM  

I aks the Free Traders something.

Do you put your gold on the sidewalk and let anybody come by and take it?

If you don't do that with your gold, why would you do that with a Nation's manufacturing? The Manufacturing base, along with the Agricultural base and the Natural Resource (minerals/ores/oil/gas/timber) base, comprise the trinity of a nations wealth and self-sufficiency. This is where wealth comes from. Wealth does not come from retail. (The wealth of the Walmart system is collapsed to the few at the top.)

Tariffs are called "Protectionism" for a purpose. To put your gold in a safe is "Protectionism". To put a fence around your yard and home is "Protectionism". To buy an alarm system for your car and home and business is Protectionism. If in all of these areas, man engages in Protectionism, why wouldn't a nation engage in Protectionism? If it is wise for a man to do that, why isn't a nation wise to do that?

If it is foolishness to put your gold on the sidewalk, then it is foolishness to allow your manufacturing base to leave the country!

Tariffs is not "centralization" or "socialism", or any other bogeyman. Tariffs is Wisdom. Tariffs is Protectionism. Just like you protect your personal wealth, the community/society/nation must protect national wealth!

Anonymous unger July 12, 2012 1:15 PM  

scoobius: Like I said, dey bee other factors makin de koreans starve, but oh noes, over heah, iz protectionissm that done us right.

As for your bit on Bastiat, I think I can rest my case. We means not we means we sort of, but not we in a hundred years, but definitely not anyone Bastiat was actually talking about, because you're desperate to evade the simple fact that if you get something for nothing, you're wealthier than you were before, and if you get something for cheaper than you otherwise could, you're wealthier than you otherwise would be, and that both give you an opportunity - which you can take or leave - to do things and produce things you otherwise would have had to forgo.

DJF: So God only takes his cue from humans? Any property distribution is legitimate in theory, and it's only human institutions that make them actually so in this or that place and time - that in effect decide the divine law for God on an ad-hoc basis? Hah, okay. I guess I can add that to the list of heresies I've heard here - you know, with Vox's Arianism, and Wheeler's belief that demanding military expansionism, conquest, and enslavement of the conquered is a sine qua non not just for Christianity, but any sort of theism at all.


Vox: Excuse me? You're the one who totally misread what Hazlitt wrote. I showed this conclusively, to the sound of crickets - which is as it must be, because there's simply no valid reply but 'I was talking out my ass. Several of my 23 points, including several very critical ones, on which others depend, commit the fallacy of ignoratio elenchi, and I apologize to my readers for wasting their time with my vacuous logorrhea.' If you were anyone else, I would say you were too prideful to retract your demonstratedly fallacious bullshit, but you simply don't know it's bullshit.

Anonymous unger July 12, 2012 1:20 PM  

Wheeler: The only way foreigners can 'take our manufacturing' is if we refuse to manufacture anything but what we used to, and refuse to accept anything but the nominal wages we used to have. I'm sorry, but I don't see the use in protecting the indolent from the foreseeable results of their indolence. You liberal welfare statists see things ...differently.

Anonymous DJF July 12, 2012 7:50 PM  

Unger writes

"""DJF: So God only takes his cue from humans? Any property distribution is legitimate in theory, and it's only human institutions that make them actually so in this or that place and time - that in effect decide the divine law for God on an ad-hoc basis? Hah, okay."""

What are you babbling about? When did god get involved in determining who owned what property. Does Joe Smith have a deed from god saying he owns 123 Maple Street, Richmond Virginia? No. He has a deed from the state of Virginia and what determined the steps he went through to declare ownership was determined by humans

Anonymous unger July 12, 2012 9:48 PM  

If 'the government' determines what is and isn't rightful property, then two things follow: first, the seventh commandment's applicability to any given case is determined by the State, not God, and second, the State can never violate the commandment.

As for where God is involved in determining who owns what property: I would expect the answer would be clear, even to someone like you, but since it obviously isn't:

Human nature is created such that certain ways of acquiring property are legitimate and others are immoral, quite like certain ways of having sex are legitimate and others are immoral. You surely agree with that last part? You surely agree that nobody has a deed from God saying that vagina X is a valid orgasm target? You surely agree that human nature, however, is created such that heterosexual matrimonial monogamy is the sole correct form of sexual expression, right? Well, then, what in God's name (so to speak) is your beef with the right to property being similarly transcendent, ordained by God, written on the human conscience, and ontologically prior to the institutions which aid it or acknowledge it?

Anonymous unger July 12, 2012 11:11 PM  

And, of course, given that the right is prior to the human institutions which aid it and acknowledge it, it directly follows that those institutions' claims have moral validity only insofar as they aid and acknowledge true property and combat and deny invalid property. Government exists to uphold property rights, and government that fails to uphold them, or claims to annul them in part or whole, is no government at all, but just one more criminal cabal.

Anonymous DJF July 13, 2012 7:09 AM  

So you are claiming that Sally Smith, wife of Joe Smith whose joint ownership of 123 Maple Street is based on the same thing as her ownership of her vagina? I did not know the state of Virginia gave out titles documents on woman’s vaginas? Does she pay property taxes on her vagina too? Are there zoning laws? Can the state use eminent domain against her vagina?

Now onto something which is not stupid. The ownership of 123 Maple probably can be traced back to either someone buying the land from an Indian tribe or declaring that the land was empty and taking control or by the British government declaring ownership. This ownership was then passed down to others via buying or granting of land all done under the laws of either Britain or the state of Virginia. The present owner of 123 Maple has title because they followed procedures and steps laid out in law and the keep that property as long as they make payments, taxes and follow the rules that apply to ownership of land. No where is god involved beyond being against thief, but even the definition and rules applied about thief are in the hands of humans not god.

Anonymous unger July 13, 2012 2:01 PM  

You didn't understand what I wrote, despite it being a model of English clarity, the sort of thing that any eighth-grader should be expected to grasp. I won't repeat myself - but it doesn't matter, since you've made your view clear. Since all property rights derive from the State, the State is by nature incapable of taking property wrongfully, and God takes his cue from the State. Thanks for clearing that up, heretic.

Blogger cavalier973 July 15, 2012 3:07 AM  

unger, allow me to say that I am really enjoying your defense of free trade. I am continually astonished at the damned ignorance of people who want to claim the mantle of "free market", but dispose of its essential ingredient, free trade. I am directing people to this site for the sole purpose of reading your arguments.

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