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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Gary North still hates Americans

Gary North is apparently foolish enough to continue shopping around that inept and deceptive article wherein he blatantly lies about the opponents of free trade and the arguments and critiques they present. Previously on Lew Rockwell, the same article is now featured by the Mises Institute:
I have found over the years that when I debate with people who promote tariffs, meaning sales taxes on imported goods that are enforced by people with badges and guns, they always adopt arguments that apply only to America's side of the border. They refuse to adopt those very same arguments for people on the other side of the border.

I challenge defenders of tariffs to state their arguments in terms of both of the people who want to trade, not just the American. The ethics and economics of restricted trade surely apply to the person who wants to trade on the other side of the invisible line known as a national border. If the arguments for restricted trade apply to the American economy, then surely they apply to the other nation's economy. Logic and ethics do not change just because we cross an invisible judicial line. I take this position because I want the pro-tariff person to face the implications of his position.
Of course, Mr. North doesn't hold himself accountable to the same standard as he flees from the obvious and inescapable conclusions that are logically dictated by his dogmatic free trade positions. Despite his challenge, I can almost guarantee he won't address this argument for restricted trade, which transcends economics and applies to Americans, Frenchmen, and Chinese alike. Consider:

1. Free trade, in its true, complete, and intellectually coherent form, is not limited to the free movement of goods, but includes the free movement of capital and labor as well. (Note, for example, that the "invisible judicial line" doesn't magically become visible when because human bodies are involved.)

2. The difference between domestic economies and the global international economy is not trivial, but is substantive, material, and based on significant genetic, cultural, traditional, and legal differences between various self-identified peoples.

3. Free trade is totally incompatible with national sovereignty, democracy, and self-determination, as well as the existence of independent nation-states with the right and ability to set their own laws according to the preferences of their residents.

4. Therefore, free trade must be opposed by every sovereign, democratic, or self-determined people, be they American, Chinese, German, or Zambian, who wish to preserve themselves as a free and distinct nation possessed of its own culture, traditions, and laws.


I invite Gary North or any other advocate of free trade to dispute or attempt to correct that argument. Now let's consider the facts. Free trade advocates often claim that there is no reason for any difference between the U.S. domestic economy and the international economy. They believe there should be no more barriers between sovereign nation-states than there are between the several and united American States. And yet, look at the difference between labor mobility in the USA versus the European Union.

In the former EU15, only about 0.1% of the working age population changes its country of residence in a given year. Conversely, in the US, about 3% of the working age population moves to a different state every year,

These institutional and cultural differences suggest comparing internal geographical mobility in the US with the situation within EU Member States rather than between Member States. In doing so, the figures narrow the ‘mobility gap’ between Europe and the US. Between 2000 and 2005, about 1% of the working age population had changed residence each year from one region to another within the EU15 countries, compared to an overall interstate mobility rate of 2.8%-3.4% in the US during the same period of time."

- Peter Ester and Hubert Krieger, "Comparing labour mobility in Europe and the US: facts and pitfalls", 2008

What this means is that US workers are about 3x more willing to change their state of residence than European workers are willing to change their region of residence within national borders, and 30x more inclined to change their state of residence than Europeans are inclined to change their country of residence, even though the US state-to-state change likely involves a bigger geographic move than the EU country-to-country one.

It should be noted that increasing this country-to-country labor mobility rate within the EU is not only a major goal of the EU economic advisers, but the explicitly stated reason for this goal is their belief that increased labor mobility is required in order to increase economic growth.

Now, let's look at what that annual 3 percent intra-US mobility translates to in terms of the overall population. The statistics are as follows for Americans between the ages of 25 and 44:

US overall 50.5 percent
East 54.3 percent
Midwest 65.0 percent
South 47.3 percent
West 40.2 percent

This is why the Midwest has changed much less over the last 40 years than either the East Coast or the West Coast; more Midwesterners stay in the Midwest and maintain their laws and cultural traditions. But more importantly, note what this signifies for the USA if the apostles of free trade were ever able to achieve their goal of permitting international trade to take place on the same terms as American domestic trade in a manner that realized the anticipated economic benefits: very nearly half of all American workers would be expected to leave the USA by the average age of 35!

This vast exodus of young Americans would say nothing, of course, of the hundreds of millions of non-American workers who would be expected to enter the USA, with all of the various consequences to be expected as a result of immigration that is an order of magnitude larger than the current wave.

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

To paraphrase North, if you still refuse to give up the idea of free trade as a desirable means to increase the wealth of nations, then you should at least admit to yourself and others that you favor the total destruction of national sovereignty, the elimination of the U.S. Constitution, and the end of America and other historical nations. It's time to come clean. You favor the politics of ein Welt, ein Recht, ein Volk.

In much the same way that those who support high tax levels cannot understand the counter-intuitive fact that the higher tax rates do not always lead to higher tax revenues, free trade advocates fail to understand that reducing national trade barriers will not always lead to increased wealth or liberty. If one believes that America was ever any sort of paragon of wealth and freedom, then it is obviously insane to advocate any policy that will cause America to return to the global average with regards to either, even if that policy would tend to raise the global average to some degree.

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189 Comments:

Anonymous Misean August 01, 2012 10:09 AM  

I remember a whole chapter in Human Action about "significant genetic, cultural, traditional, and legal differences between various self-identified peoples."

And do you remember when Rothbard totally destroys the case for methodological individualism in Man, Economy and State with his chapter on "sovereignty, democracy, self-determination, or even the existence of independent nation-states..."

What, your edition is missing these chapters? But if Vox is an Austrian Economist, and Vox is always right, then we must rewrite the core texts of Austrian economics.

Anonymous Anonymous August 01, 2012 10:10 AM  

North is senile. He's still puzzled as to why Y2K didn't blow up the world. And he's no computer expert. He's also suggested people become plumbers and live in used trailers because the economy is so bad.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2012 10:14 AM  

What, your edition is missing these chapters? But if Vox is an Austrian Economist, and Vox is always right, then we must rewrite the core texts of Austrian economics.

So, you think the foundation of Austrian economics is Ricardian free trade?

Anonymous Salt August 01, 2012 10:16 AM  

Excellent bitch slap.

Blogger Vox August 01, 2012 10:17 AM  

I remember a whole chapter in Human Action about "significant genetic, cultural, traditional, and legal differences between various self-identified peoples."

I suggest you read the bit from Liberalism where Mises discusses the difference between the German and British positions on free trade and acknowledges the German concerns. And Mises was always rather weak on human genetics....

But if Vox is an Austrian Economist, and Vox is always right, then we must rewrite the core texts of Austrian economics.

I'm not an Austrian economist. I specifically reject elements of Austrian economics, merely fewer of them than I reject of Keynesian or monetarist economics. In RGD, I even pointed out the logical limits of the goods-shifting mechanism of the ABC.

Anonymous Athor Pel August 01, 2012 10:18 AM  

Cognitive dissonance is always fun to induce in someone, to do it to an academic has a sweetness that is nigh on irresistible.

Anonymous Salt August 01, 2012 10:20 AM  

What, your edition is missing these chapters? But if Vox is an Austrian Economist, and Vox is always right, then we must rewrite the core texts of Austrian economics.

First, just admit that free trade without the free movement of capital and labor is not free trade.

Second, without the free movement of capital and labor tariffs become necessary.

Anonymous Huh August 01, 2012 10:24 AM  

I have found over the years that when I debate with people who promote tariffs, meaning sales taxes on imported goods that are enforced by people with badges and guns, they always adopt arguments that apply only to America's side of the border. They refuse to adopt those very same arguments for people on the other side of the border.

Are there any tariff advocates who do not believe other countries cannot and should not impose tariffs? Or is this a total straw man?

Given that a lot of people on the other side of the border already do have people with badges and guns impose taxes on imported goods (or more commonly, impose a multitude of other sorts of barriers to trade), it seems remarkably stupid for us not to have our people with badges and guns do so.

Anonymous Roundtine August 01, 2012 10:26 AM  

This is why you go down the rabbit hole debating Austrians and some libertarians on open borders. You need a government to enforce the law. If there's no one-world government, then there will be countries with borders. They will only enforce the no border rule over territory they control......but how do they define control if there's no border? The libertarian blind spot on "tribalism" is as large as the communist one on greed.

Blogger Vox August 01, 2012 10:28 AM  

Are there any tariff advocates who do not believe other countries cannot and should not impose tariffs? Or is this a total straw man?

I can't say anything about those with whom North has personally spoken, but in terms of the written literature as well as with regards to me and other current free trade critics, it is a total strawman.

I'm sure there are some politicians who speak out of both sides of their mouth on the issue, but then, that's an action that is hardly limited to tariffs.

Anonymous Roundtine August 01, 2012 10:34 AM  

Are there any tariff advocates who do not believe other countries cannot and should not impose tariffs?

Total strawman. The real argument from the trade side is that "people who argue for tariffs think their side will win", that was the argument used before. USA thinks it will be better off with tariffs, China thinks it will be better off, but both are worse off. I'm not sure of a model where both sides win if they have tariffs, but maybe it exists.

They have to go to the strawman because of the arguments now about how free trade lifts the world's poor. It's clearly delivering a big benefit to poor countries and I see that angle played up more now. The argument is starting to turn towards charity, tribalism, why do you hate foreigners, etc.

Anonymous Mr Green Man August 01, 2012 10:38 AM  

Mr. North is a coward who won't honestly debate, and his defenders present such fatuous arguments that make the atheist "nobody thought this before" crowd look like polished debaters. There is nothing stupider than hearing a fashionable (read: dope is good so I think this way) self-identified libertarian argue against doing anything to accomplish chipping away at the edifice of the big government state because there shouldn't be government at all, bad is still bad, so who cares if it's 100% or 93% bad, etc.

It's just like the pro-life movement. Nothing ever gets accomplished. Dopers make anybody serious look like a moron and rattle off such great ideas as, "What if there was no government?". Sure, that's a reason to make it as bad as possible. Government grew in creeping steps and the only way to kill it is one line item, one budget item at a time.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews August 01, 2012 10:40 AM  

The table is confusing. Is that the percentage that stay put? That would make it just below 50% that would have to move (nationally), if the Midwest is the most stable with the highest number.

Do I correctly read your argument that the people in e nation, and thus whatever leaders they have, should determine the amount of any tarrif?

It also seemed the whole argument is a bit too narrow. What impact would price reductions allowing newer technology to grow have on all these values? It seems unlikely we would have had the growth in technology that enables much of this convention in a more controlled system. (Though what we have is quite managed now, so it is hard to segregate out the amount of controls in the current system, a flaw with past analysis.)

Anonymous Josh August 01, 2012 10:41 AM  

Would the purpose of the tariffs be to merely equalize the costs of domestic and foreign goods, to make foreign goods more costly than domestic goods, or to make foreign goods so costly that it is effectively a ban on foreign goods?

Or would it be just a replacement for the income tax as a means of funding government?

Blogger Vox August 01, 2012 11:03 AM  

The table is confusing. Is that the percentage that stay put? That would make it just below 50% that would have to move (nationally), if the Midwest is the most stable with the highest number.

Yeah, 49.5 percent move. I corrected the descriptive text, thanks.

Do I correctly read your argument that the people in e nation, and thus whatever leaders they have, should determine the amount of any tarrif?

That is not a part of my argument presented here, it is an extrapolation from that argument on your part. Which is fine, of course but be careful about such distinctions.

Anonymous Josh August 01, 2012 11:06 AM  

Can't you use that same logic to argue against intranational trade?

Anonymous Vidad August 01, 2012 11:14 AM  

Vox "The Eviscerator" Day.

Nice.

I think most pro-free-trade people are simply seeing it in a superficial fashion; i.e., the ability to trade stuff without gov't intervention. Seeing you open up the complete picture is probably raising some serious cognitive dissonance.

Of course, I have noticed an unfortunate link between some extreme leftists and some libertarians. The desire and longing for a man-made utopia creates strange bedfellows and ugly tyrannies, even if incidentally - as in the case of unrestricted immigration.

Anonymous Vidad August 01, 2012 11:17 AM  

@Josh

Fund government? Do we really want to do that?

Can't we just fund the money into vaccination programs for those darling sick were-seals?

Anonymous E. PERLINE August 01, 2012 11:17 AM  

American and foreign tariffs are nothing but tax increases. If that was all the income the federal government can muster, OK. but the federal government does very well collecting its million other taxes.

Blogger JohnG August 01, 2012 11:21 AM  

The whole concept has been a disaster. This thing with most favorable nation trading status was pitched as a way to prod the Chinese into becoming better on Human Rights - instead it turned China into a capatalist autocracy, now a world economic super power because it has 1 billion slaves (always cracks me up when some liberal group discovers a Nike sweatshop somewhere and raises hell - but doesn't say boo about China). What moron figured that we could have a green manufacturing economy and didn't figure that China would steal the technology and make the products for pennies?

I tried to find some non-poisonous dog chews not made in China the other day, it was very difficult, and actually had to order online.

Blogger Joshua_D August 01, 2012 11:32 AM  

"In much the same way that those who support high tax levels cannot understand the counter-intuitive fact that the higher tax rates do not always lead to higher tax revenues, free trade advocates fail to understand that reducing national trade barriers will not always lead to increased wealth or liberty."

I think this is the best line of the post. It just might shake some fanatical free-traders from their dream state.

Anonymous Misean August 01, 2012 11:39 AM  

"I'm not an Austrian economist. I specifically reject elements of Austrian economics, merely fewer of them than I reject of Keynesian or monetarist economics."

Just so we are clear...

Do you reject the idea of Praxeology / methodological individualism then?

Anonymous WaterBoy August 01, 2012 11:44 AM  

Vox: "They believe there should be no more barriers between sovereign nation-states than there are between the several and united American States."

Not only that, but they also ignore the fact that there is a de facto tariff in many American states against imports from other American states in the form of a Use Tax, often employed as a means to protect in-state businesses who are required to charge a sales tax.

If there should be no more barriers than what exist between the states, then import tariffs are well-justified already.

Blogger Markku August 01, 2012 11:44 AM  

The philosophy of the free traders is like that of hippies: Let's lay down our weapons, and everybody will be so impressed that they'll lay down theirs. If you are against this, you are against world peace - what's wrong with you?!

No, that's not really what happens when you do that. The best you can hope for is small enclaves of liberty in a world of tyranny. And you have to protect those enclaves for them to continue existing. If you do, then you may even be able to very slowly absorb more liberty-minded people, as long as your laws don't reward parasites.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2012 11:44 AM  

Economic freedom is not the intended outcome of GATT, NAFTA, etc. so no one should be surprised that it hasn't increased as a result of such agreements. Vox paints the unrestricted movement of labor, capital, and goods and the implications thereof as a bug in the free trade software. It isn't. It is the primary feature. One world government is the intended goal and always has been. It is sad that so many libertarians (and anarcho-capitalists from Tennessee) are lining up to be fitted for their shackles without realizing it.

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 11:45 AM  

and when Vox will you be presenting a positive case on Trade?

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 11:49 AM  

"I'm not an Austrian economist."

There's a beautiful stake out back that would look lovely with you tied to it... and perhaps some fire.

Blogger Markku August 01, 2012 11:53 AM  

A tariff on imports from China could equally be seen as a slavery tax. It requires money to run a society without slavery, and this cost will inevitably go to the prices of products. This will obviously provide a huge advantage to a country that doesn't have such moral qualms. The only way you could compete with them is to either adopt slavery yourself, or tax their advantage.

And not only that, but you'd also have to accept this in order to remain competitive.

Blogger Joshua_D August 01, 2012 11:57 AM  

Markku August 01, 2012 11:53 AM

And not only that, but you'd also have to accept this in order to remain competitive.


Hey now! What's it to us if the Chinese slaves don't want to stand up to their political elite and stand against the destruction of their environment?!? What's a few more Asian suicides as long as we get cheap IPads for our printed pieces of paper! Free trade rules!

- Joshua "Free Trader" _D

Blogger Vox August 01, 2012 12:00 PM  

Do you reject the idea of Praxeology / methodological individualism then?

Define reject.... I accept and utilize it as a useful knowledge tool. I do not regard it as definitive of incontrovertible truth.

and when Vox will you be presenting a positive case on Trade?

No idea. I haven't even begun to think about it.

There's a beautiful stake out back that would look lovely with you tied to it... and perhaps some fire.

I'm just not a joiner. This always pisses off pretty much everyone sooner or later.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick August 01, 2012 12:08 PM  

I'm just not a joiner. This always pisses off pretty much everyone sooner or later.

You and Pee Wee Herman.

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 12:12 PM  

"I'm just not a joiner. "

And yet you have described yourself as austrian in the past. The fact that you reject some parts of austrian economics does not preclude you from being an austrian... anymore than being prolife makes you non-libertarian.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2012 12:18 PM  

Vox isn't Austrian so much as he's Tyrolean. Same mountains, slightly different view.

Anonymous Log August 01, 2012 12:35 PM  

"To paraphrase North, if you still refuse to give up the idea of free trade as a desirable means to increase the wealth of nations, then you should at least admit to yourself and others that you favor the total destruction of national sovereignty, the elimination of the U.S. Constitution, and the end of America and other historical nations. It's time to come clean. You favor the politics of ein Welt, ein Recht, ein Volk."

I rather thought that was a major - if not central - philosophical plank in the anarcho-capitalist philosophy of most over at LewRockwell.com. They don't really make a secret of it, and so I am bemused by your "conclusion."

Anonymous JartStar August 01, 2012 12:39 PM  

I've never met a "free trader" who's made it past this question: "Do you think it is good for the US to trade with countries who utilize slave/prison labor for the manufacturing of a significant portion of goods?"

Yes = Being OK with exploitation of slaves for personal gain.
No = Wants restriction on trade.

Anonymous Misean August 01, 2012 12:39 PM  

'Define reject.... I accept and utilize it as a useful knowledge tool. I do not regard it as definitive of incontrovertible truth."

This is why your argument is doomed. Because, for one, your same logic can be used to justify any manner of government/statist control over individual actions. Second, how does a government know what level to set a tariff? There is no practical way to implement a "right" level of tarrifs because of the socialist calculation problem. Anyway, North and the Austrians are a in better position to argue because they have a consistent worldview with Praxeology / methodological individualism.

Anonymous JartStar August 01, 2012 12:42 PM  

BTW, Milton Friedman was fine with a foreign government abusing its populace through horrific economic policies so long as we were the recipient of the benefit. Example: If a nation were to confiscate a large portion of wealth from one segment of its population to build cheap products which the US consumer can purchase.

Anonymous Sure there is August 01, 2012 12:45 PM  

"Second, how does a government know what level to set a tariff? There is no practical way to implement a "right" level of tarrifs because of the socialist calculation problem."

The tariff doesn't have to be micro-managed. A flat tax on all imported goods and services of anywhere between 25% and 35% will be "about right".

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2012 12:47 PM  


I rather thought that was a major - if not central - philosophical plank in the anarcho-capitalist philosophy of most over at LewRockwell.com. They don't really make a secret of it, and so I am bemused by your "conclusion."


If so, how do they fail to realize that they are merely being useful idiots for the one world government types? The total destruction of national sovereignty, the elimination of the U.S. Constitution, and the end of America and other historical nations. inevitably leads to ein Welt, ein Recht, ein Volk . The final empire.

Blogger Joshua_D August 01, 2012 12:49 PM  

Misean August 01, 2012 12:39 PM
Anyway, North and the Austrians are a in better position to argue because they have a consistent worldview with Praxeology / methodological individualism.


No. They aren't. They are in a pretty good position to argue the "economic" aspect of life; however, they are in no position to argue the Moral aspect of life, and so all their arguments on what's good or bad fall flat as soon as they try to claim that something is good or bad. This is a fundamental blind spot of free traders.

Anonymous JartStar August 01, 2012 12:51 PM  

There is no practical way to implement a "right" level of tarrifs because of the socialist calculation problem.

There's no perfect/right level, just like there is no perfect/right libertarian solution for police. The idea is to stave off the destruction of liberty by an obvious enemy of liberty, unless of course you believe that free trade has not lowered the US standard of living and is not eroding our liberties.

Anonymous Misean August 01, 2012 12:51 PM  

"The tariff doesn't have to be micro-managed. A flat tax on all imported goods and services of anywhere between 25% and 35% will be "about right"."

Sure you can pull any number of out a hat. Why not 99% percent if it's such a magic button to wealth for Average Joe Sixpack? You're still stuck in the calculation problem, which means you'd be creating malinvestment and unintended consequences with your "about right" numbers, Mr. Central Planner.

Anonymous Misean August 01, 2012 12:53 PM  

"they are in no position to argue the Moral aspect of life"

Treating people as individuals and not "nations" groups tribes classes etc. is immoral?

Blogger Vox August 01, 2012 12:54 PM  

This is why your argument is doomed. Because, for one, your same logic can be used to justify any manner of government/statist control over individual actions.

That's an amusing and blindly ideological assertion. The fact that logic can be abused and misapplied doesn't make it incorrect. That is a category error on your part.

Second, how does a government know what level to set a tariff? There is no practical way to implement a "right" level of tarrifs because of the socialist calculation problem.

Irrelevant. You're failing to recognize that the costs of no tariffs may well exceed the costs of any tariff, regardless of it being the right level or not.

Anyway, North and the Austrians are a in better position to argue because they have a consistent worldview with Praxeology / methodological individualism.

And yet I kick their asses without even breaking a sweat. The fact that they argue so ineptly despite their supposed advantage tends to suggest that the consistency of their worldview is irrelevant. I will debate any of them on the subject in a written debate at any time; unless and until one of them actually manages to defeat me in a debate on the subject, your assertion is both naked and hollow.

Anonymous Misean August 01, 2012 12:54 PM  

"There's no perfect/right level, just like there is no perfect/right libertarian solution for police"

You'd trust the Federal government to set the level of police for the whole of the country? Wow, let me bow down to you, Mr. Super-Libertarian. You've got me check-mated.

Blogger Vox August 01, 2012 12:56 PM  

Why not 99% percent if it's such a magic button to wealth for Average Joe Sixpack?

Even 99 percent would be vastly preferred by Average Joe Sixpack instead of forcing him to choose between unemployment and moving to Bangladesh, as the free traders would have him do.

Blogger Vox August 01, 2012 12:57 PM  

Treating people as individuals and not "nations" groups tribes classes etc. is immoral?

Two questions for you. 1) is murder immoral? 2) is treason immoral?

Blogger Joshua_D August 01, 2012 12:57 PM  

Misean, don't bring your strawmen in here.

Anonymous Misean August 01, 2012 12:58 PM  

"You're failing to recognize that the costs of no tariffs may well exceed the costs of any tariff, regardless of it being the right level or not."

Interesting. And what Central Planning Bureau will measure the "cost savings" you speak of? And "costs" to whom? To me, the individual trader? If it "cost" me, why did I do the trade in first place? And vice versa to my trading partner overseas? Or are you talking about those "costs" to the nation that the Feds can magically conjure to justify anything e.g. ObamaCare?

Anonymous Misean August 01, 2012 1:01 PM  

"Two questions for you. 1) is murder immoral? 2) is treason immoral?"

Murder, no. Treason, sometimes.

"Even 99 percent would be vastly preferred by Average Joe Sixpack instead of forcing him to choose between unemployment and moving to Bangladesh, as the free traders would have him do."

Well, Average Joe Sixpack should figure out that's a false choice instead of rallying behind the state to subsidize his worthless lazy ass.

Anonymous Sure there is August 01, 2012 1:07 PM  

"Sure you can pull any number of out a hat. Why not 99% percent if it's such a magic button to wealth for Average Joe Sixpack? You're still stuck in the calculation problem, which means you'd be creating malinvestment and unintended consequences with your "about right" numbers, Mr. Central Planner."

0% tariff is ALSO a Central Plan - the one that the political elite has foisted on us.

It's just a lousy one.

The purpose of a tariff, to quote Ian Fletcher:

Although this is a complex issue, the fundamental dynamic is clear from the obvious fact that a flat tariff would almost certainly trigger the relocation back to the U.S. of some industries but not others. For example, a flat 30 percent tariff (to pluck a number out of thin air) would not cause the relocation of the apparel industry back to the U.S. from abroad. The difference between domestic and foreign labor costs is simply too large for a 30 percent premium to tip the balance in America's favor in an industry based on semi-skilled labor. But a 30 percent tariff quite likely would cause the relocation of high-tech manufacturing like semiconductors. This is the key, as these industries are precisely the ones we should want to relocate. Therefore a flat tariff would, in fact, be strategic.

The exact level at which to set the tariff remains an open question. Thirty percent is suggested here because it is in the historic range of U.S. tariffs and is close to the net disadvantage America's trade currently faces due to America's lack of a VAT. The right level will not be something trivial, like two percent, or prohibitive, like 150 percent. But there is absolutely no reason it shouldn't be 25 or 35 percent, and this flexibility will provide wiggle room for the compromises needed to get the tariff through Congress.

Anonymous 11B August 01, 2012 1:09 PM  

In order to show the utter futility of the belief that the abolition of the tariff and the establishment of free trade would remedy the condition complained of, all that is necessary is to look at the course of industrial events in England and in Germany during the last thirty years, the former under free trade, the latter under a protective system. During these thirty years it is a matter of common knowledge that Germany has forged ahead relatively to England, and this not only as regards the employers, but as regards the wage-earners--in short, as regards all members of the industrial classes. Doubtless, many causes have combined to produce this result; it is not to be ascribed to the tariff alone, but, on the other hand it is evident that it could not have come about if a protective tariff were even a chief cause among many other causes of the high cost of living.

Teddy Roosevelt, August 1912, 100 years ago this month.

Anonymous JartStar August 01, 2012 1:10 PM  

You'd trust the Federal government to set the level of police for the whole of the country? Wow, let me bow down to you, Mr. Super-Libertarian. You've got me check-mated.

It's amusing that your thinking is so binary and I never said the Fed should run the police across the nation. Only that there is no logical proof of a "right level" of police in any libertarian literature that I've read and yet that doesn't stop the libertarians from recommending a variety of solutions.

Murder, no.

I hope you read that as "killing" and not "murder" because if you think running around and murdering people is moral, free trade is the least of your problems.

Anonymous Josh August 01, 2012 1:10 PM  

Why is maximizing wage rates an inherently good thing?

Blogger Joshua_D August 01, 2012 1:12 PM  

Misean August 01, 2012 1:01 PM

Well, Average Joe Sixpack should figure out that's a false choice instead of rallying behind the state to subsidize his worthless lazy ass.


Haha! That's funny! No wait. That's not funny.

Because I actually know Joe Six Packs who were responsible when they were younger and took decent jobs at funern iture factories here in western NC when they were younger. They we're loyal. They paid taxes. They raised a family. They gave to charity. They continued the community.

Then, some politician using the urging of some free trading economist decided that companies could move their factories overseas, where labor was cheaper. They told the JSP's, "Don't worry about losing your job, you'll recover your loss and more via cheaper products. Just get out there and find a new job, you lazy mother fucker!"

Of course, since JSP worked 50 hours a week for the past 20 years, he hasn't had a lot of time to develop and new skill, like maybe welding, so he was way behind the curve, and finding a new job wasn't actually as easy as the idiot free traders like to claim it is.

Because, you would think that people who proclaim to know praxeology and have read Mises would factor "TIME" into their theories as well as realize that "Labor" is actually real fucking PEOPLE who have lives, relatives, responsibilities, friends, and can't simply shift to a new location instantaneously like your free trading businesses can shift digital dollars into yuan.

Idiot.

Anonymous Josh August 01, 2012 1:13 PM  

The right level of police is either zero or one sheriff per county.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2012 1:14 PM  

And what Central Planning Bureau will measure the "cost savings" you speak of? And "costs" to whom? To me, the individual trader? If it "cost" me, why did I do the trade in first place? And vice versa to my trading partner overseas? Or are you talking about those "costs" to the nation that the Feds can magically conjure to justify anything e.g. ObamaCare?

1. Anyone can do it.
2. To every taxpayer in the nation.
3. Yes.
4. Because people are irrational, short-sighted, and stupid.
5. The same.
6. No, these are easily measured and confirmed costs, such as welfare payments to legal immigrants and the pro rata cost of crimes committed by legal immigrants.

Murder, no. Treason, sometimes.

You just conceded one of your own points. If treason can EVER be considered immoral, then individuals cannot be considered the sole metric of morality. Treason cannot be committed against another individual. You cannot simultaneously argue for the morality of free trade and the immorality of treason.

This, of course, is why free traders are rightly considered to be treasonous and evil, since they can admit no loyalty to the nation, the church, or the family and remain intellectually consistent.

Well, Average Joe Sixpack should figure out that's a false choice instead of rallying behind the state to subsidize his worthless lazy ass.

If you think it is a false choice, you are either ignorant, stupid, or dishonest. It is the inescapable logical conclusion of free trade dogman.

Anonymous Athor Pel August 01, 2012 1:23 PM  

"Misean August 01, 2012 1:01 PM

"Two questions for you. 1) is murder immoral? 2) is treason immoral?"

Murder, no. Treason, sometimes."




Just so we're clear. You're saying that murder is not immoral. Is that right?

So you wouldn't mind if I put a bullet in your head? I mean, since you don't think it's immoral.

Blogger Joshua_D August 01, 2012 1:24 PM  

OK ... who went and crashed mises.org?

Anonymous VD August 01, 2012 1:25 PM  

Just so we're clear. You're saying that murder is not immoral. Is that right?

Look, he's dumb. But he's not THAT dumb. I assumed he misread the question and meant to say that murder is not moral.

Anonymous JartStar August 01, 2012 1:25 PM  

OK ... who went and crashed mises.org?

They free traded their servers to India!

/s

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 1:28 PM  

"And yet I kick their asses without even breaking a sweat. The fact that they argue so ineptly despite their supposed advantage tends to suggest that the consistency of their worldview is irrelevant. I will debate any of them on the subject in a written debate at any time; unless and until one of them actually manages to defeat me in a debate on the subject, your assertion is both naked and hollow."

All the while ducking the consistent points made by both Josh, and myself, about the dangers of allowing government to regulate commerce.

Economics is about cost and benefits. Free trade has a cost... Tarrifs have a cost. Both have benefits.

But the cost of the THREAT created by giving government the power to regulate commerce, which in effect gives the government unlimited power, is far greater than ANY benefit of any tarrif system... and that threat is far greater than any demographic threat as well.

So yeah... keep taking on the midgets. I don't deny you're beating them down effectively.

I just note that you're ignoring the hammer poised over your head.

Anonymous JartStar August 01, 2012 1:29 PM  

The right level of police is either zero or one sheriff per county.

Which demonstrates my point. Just because we cannot agree upon the number of police, or even who funds the police, it doesn't mean that we cannot a)recognize a problem with the current police b)suggest solutions even if they are not proven logically or empirically.

The same is true for free trade.

Anonymous Lysander Spooner August 01, 2012 1:32 PM  

"This is why the Midwest has changed much less over the last 40 years"

I have lived in the Midwest for the past 20 years, and despise it. The people are unbearably stupid at times, frozen in time is an understatement. Additionally, it is the ice storm capital of the world, famous for 'black ice'. No real winter with snow and outdoor activities, just slam, click and TEEVEE. I am from upstate NY, glacier lakes, and real winter.

I recall this song, goes like this: " I gotta get outta this place, if it's the last thing I ever do".......

Anonymous Yorzhik August 01, 2012 1:34 PM  

Vox wrote: 3. Free trade is totally incompatible with national sovereignty, democracy, and self-determination, as well as the existence of independent nation-states with the right and ability to set their own laws according to the preferences of their residents.

This is just wrong. Free trade does not have to be reciprocal.

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 1:34 PM  

"Just because we cannot agree upon the number of police, or even who funds the police, it doesn't mean that we cannot a)recognize a problem with the current police b)suggest solutions even if they are not proven logically or empirically."

No. The problem with tarrifs is you are surrendering the power to regulate commerce to the government... and the power to regulate commerce has been proven to be the power to regulate... everything.

Once that power is given over... the concept of limited government is pure lip service. Its dead.

if the government has the power to levy tarrifs... then the government has the power to tell you what you can and can't buy... any time... any place... any thing.

Anonymous patrick kelly August 01, 2012 1:46 PM  

"You can't buy anything from X" .. is the gov't telling you what you can/can't buy.

"You have to pay us a tariff in order for that Y from X to cross the national border" .. is the gov't applying a tariff.

One of these things is not like the other.....

Anonymous Salt August 01, 2012 1:51 PM  

Free trade does not have to be reciprocal.

Practice "free trade" all you want. But if your trading partner does not allow, for instance, the movement of labor or capital into its country from yours, to what level of free trade are you making claim to?

Anonymous JartStar August 01, 2012 1:51 PM  

No. The problem with police is you are surrendering the power to police to the government... and the power to police has been proven to be the power to police ... everything.

Following your logic if a government has one police officer on their payroll at any level, then the eventual destination is a liberty crushing police state.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2012 1:54 PM  


No. The problem with tarrifs is you are surrendering the power to regulate commerce to the government... and the power to regulate commerce has been proven to be the power to regulate... everything.

Once that power is given over... the concept of limited government is pure lip service. Its dead.

if the government has the power to levy tarrifs... then the government has the power to tell you what you can and can't buy... any time... any place... any thing.


Justice Nate has made his ruling on free trade. Now let him enforce it.

Answer the following questions:

1) What happens under your hypothetical free trade regime if China does not play by the rules?

2) Does your hypothetical free trade regime either require or allow unrestricted movement of labor, capital, and goods?

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 1:57 PM  

"if the government has the power to levy tarrifs... then the government has the power to tell you what you can and can't buy... any time... any place... any thing."

No system of government has ever been invented that is not subject to being abused by those in power. Ultimately, it is the job of the people to resist tyranny, and if they fail to do that, then there is no hope for limiting the size and scope of government. Clearly, government has grown well beyond what it was originally intended to be. If it is important to the people that government be restrained, they will restrain it.

Anonymous uh what now? August 01, 2012 2:00 PM  

if the government has the power to levy tarrifs... then the government has the power to tell you what you can and can't buy... any time... any place... any thing.

Didn't Justice Roberts recently pretty much rule that the gummint had exactly that power?

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 2:01 PM  

In other words, Nate, you're falling victim to the slippery slope fallacy. Government simply does not have the means to exert total control over all individuals. Attempting to do so will result in a bankrupt government, a hopelessly broken economy, and laws so numerous that the rule of law becomes meaningless. Which is basically where we are.

Blogger James Dixon August 01, 2012 2:02 PM  

> ...if the government has the power to levy tarrifs...

If the governments power to levy tariffs is limited to a single tariff on all imported goods, then it becomes much less problematic.

Anonymous LOL August 01, 2012 2:02 PM  

Nate... better hammer some more nails into that barn door, buddy. Dear God, we don't want that "power to regulate everything" horse to escape!

Anonymous And another thing August 01, 2012 2:08 PM  

"if the government has the power to levy tarrifs... then the government has the power to tell you what you can and can't buy... any time... any place... any thing."

Nate, you do know that the government levied tariffs in the 18th and 19th century, right? In fact, that was the major source of government revenue until the creation of the income tax.

If tariffs are inconsistent with freedom then it's hard to explain why they were the most acceptable form of government action during the time when America was most "free" in libertarian terms, 1783-1916.

Anonymous Scintan August 01, 2012 2:14 PM  

The problem with tarrifs is you are surrendering the power to regulate commerce to the government... and the power to regulate commerce has been proven to be the power to regulate... everything.

That's a ridiculously stupid statement, and one which I'm shocked to see came from you. You're usually much better than that.

Anonymous outlaw x August 01, 2012 2:20 PM  

you are kicking butt. I used your post on global warming to kill an email going around at work that was directed directly at the author of a the paper that was being sent around. There truly is a war on for our minds. You keep winng them.

Anonymous sth_txs August 01, 2012 2:22 PM  

I've always wonder whether free trade and labor wage disparities would be less of an issue if all countries had commodity backed currencies.

Are there any article about that?

Anonymous Daniel August 01, 2012 2:24 PM  

I love typos. I think Nate qualifies as the Last Free Trade Dogman.

Anonymous Yorzhik August 01, 2012 2:34 PM  

Salt wrote: Practice "free trade" all you want. But if your trading partner does not allow, for instance, the movement of labor or capital into its country from yours, to what level of free trade are you making claim to?

The free trade that a country can benefit from. If you get the cheap labor and capital that another country is willing to give up without them taking anything back in return, then so much the better for you.

Anonymous Josh August 01, 2012 2:40 PM  

OT:

Chickfila is insanely busy today.

They may take our lands, they may take our lives, but they'll never take OUR CHICKEN SAMMICH!

Anonymous VD August 01, 2012 2:45 PM  

All the while ducking the consistent points made by both Josh, and myself, about the dangers of allowing government to regulate commerce.

Not ducking anything. I'm not interested in irrelevant second-order discussions at this point in time. The various problems with government control of trade - known problems which have been dealt with for the vast majority of human history - have nothing to do with the different problems created by free trade.

But the cost of the THREAT created by giving government the power to regulate commerce, which in effect gives the government unlimited power, is far greater than ANY benefit of any tarrif system... and that threat is far greater than any demographic threat as well.

Obviously false, based on the known historical examples of government-regulated commerce. What is worse than the total loss of sovereignty and the establishment of a global dictatorship? You cannot compare actual costs to potential ones, you must compare actual to actual and potential to potential. No advocate of free trade has ever done this to the best of my knowledge.

This is just wrong. Free trade does not have to be reciprocal.

Then the trade is obviously not free. This is more free trade dishonesty, appealing to the other side when it suits them and ignoring it when it doesn't. And it's also irrelevant.

If you get the cheap labor and capital that another country is willing to give up without them taking anything back in return, then so much the better for you.

No, Yorzhik. We already know that you are totally irrational when it comes to the costs of immigration due to your own immigrant background. The addition of 100 million Chinese slave laborers and 300 million Indians are not going to improve the American economy or American society.

Anonymous Roundtine August 01, 2012 3:05 PM  

If you get the cheap labor and capital that another country is willing to give up without them taking anything back in return, then so much the better for you.

Do you want to be the man who learns to fish, or the man who gets a free fish?

Blogger tz August 01, 2012 3:07 PM  

Slave for sale. Responds to "Gary North". Only shippable to counties that does not a priori reject that human beings can be property.

Government goes both ways. We have Interstate Commerce here in the US where we enforce "free trade" by striking down the same restrictive laws. Catholics call this Subsidiarity. What is appropriate for the neighborhood or town is NOT appropriate for the nation.

But even here, trade requires fulfillment of contracts across those same borders. Why can't I just take the goods or money and not deliver? You are going to whine? You are going to use violence yourself? Or are you going to find some people with badges and guns? But can those same people cross borders? As police? Or as an army? If not, instead of trading, why not just pillage across the border and sell within? And isn't that what the managed trade treaties are doing to us?

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 3:10 PM  

"You cannot compare actual costs to potential ones, you must compare actual to actual and potential to potential. No advocate of free trade has ever done this to the best of my knowledge"

And yet that is exactly what you are doing.

You suggest that Free Trade potentially leads to global one world government. That means that the potential costs of allowing commerce regulation are clearly in play as well.

Given that the mythical one world government has never materialized in spite of hundreds of years of Free Trade activists... your fears appear to be almost entirely baseless. Where as we can readily see the price paid in the US for the acceptance of the dread commerce clause.

So by all means... lets compare potential to potential and real to real.

Lets compare the evils done by the US government facilitated by the commerce clause... to the evils done by what you describe as free trade.

Anonymous Oy Vey August 01, 2012 3:16 PM  

"Where as we can readily see the price paid in the US for the acceptance of the dread commerce clause."

Dude, PAY ATTENTION.

This country ALREADY imposed tariffs for OVER A CENTURY without suffering any political or economic evils -- indeed, the tariffs provided enormous economic advantages.

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 3:18 PM  

@thing
"If tariffs are inconsistent with freedom then it's hard to explain why they were the most acceptable form of government action during the time when America was most "free" in libertarian terms, 1783-1916."

Tariffs during this period were not without their problems, and a large reason they were utilized is that they could be collected much easier than other forms of taxes. A national income tax or sales tax would have been quite difficult to enforce. Tariffs also tended to disproportionately affect Southern states and were one of the factors that finally led Southern states to secede.

Anonymous Meh August 01, 2012 3:21 PM  

"Tariffs during this period were not without their problems"

But they obviously did not lead to the complete crushing of economic and political freedom as Nate Pantybundle thinks they do.

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 3:23 PM  

If we have free trade, is intellectual property still protected in any way? If not, who decides how it is protected? Do we also end all environmental protection measures (most of which are stupid, and some of which are essential) and labor laws?

Just a few of the major problems with "free trade."

Anonymous VD August 01, 2012 3:25 PM  

And yet that is exactly what you are doing.

Yes, precisely. I am comparing actual to actual and potential to potential.

Lets compare the evils done by the US government facilitated by the commerce clause... to the evils done by what you describe as free trade.

By all means, do that. I'll be pleased to check your math.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2012 3:27 PM  

Given that the mythical one world government has never materialized in spite of hundreds of years of Free Trade activists... your fears appear to be almost entirely baseless.

Because they haven't succeeded in implementing true free trade.

Blogger Joshua_D August 01, 2012 3:30 PM  

Noah B. August 01, 2012 3:18 PM
Tariffs during this period were not without their problems, and a large reason they were utilized is that they could be collected much easier than other forms of taxes. A national income tax or sales tax would have been quite difficult to enforce. Tariffs also tended to disproportionately affect Southern states and were one of the factors that finally led Southern states to secede.


Isn't that apples to oranges, though? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the issue with tariffs leading up to the War Between the State was that the federal government wanted to place unequal tariffs on Southern State governments that still believed they had some sovereignty of their own.

The issue wasn't the tariff, per se, but rather the Northern states voting to impose higher tariffs on Southern states.

Of course, today, states in the USA aren't sovereign.

Anonymous FP August 01, 2012 3:37 PM  

Waterboy: "Not only that, but they also ignore the fact that there is a de facto tariff in many American states against imports from other American states in the form of a Use Tax, often employed as a means to protect in-state businesses who are required to charge a sales tax.

If there should be no more barriers than what exist between the states, then import tariffs are well-justified already."

My favorite example of this would be retired state workers on a state pension who leave their state and retire "somewhere sunny" which usually translates into any state that doesn't have income tax. Oregon sees that happen a fair amount. Washington isn't much better but they have no income tax, just sales taxes and use taxes.

WA voters killed their state liquor stores last year but the law/state gov raised the taxes and thus the prices. Oregon and Idaho have seen a large increase in sales in border towns. California stores advertise 100+ miles into Oregon for their private run liquor stores across the border.

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 3:38 PM  

@Joshua_D
The federal government was imposing tariffs on European manufactured goods that were cheaper than those produced in Northern states, which meant that Southerners were paying the tariffs but were not receiving the same benefit from them as Northerners. In other words, the same tariff applied to everyone in the US, but the impact the tariffs had was far from equal.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 01, 2012 3:44 PM  

if the government has the power to levy tarrifs... then the government has the power to tell you what you can and can't buy... any time... any place... any thing.

If not the government, then who? But first what do you think is the main purpose of tarrifs?

Anonymous Salt August 01, 2012 3:46 PM  

Given that the mythical one world government has never materialized in spite of hundreds of years of Free Trade activists... your fears appear to be almost entirely baseless.

Because they haven't succeeded in implementing true free trade.


Saw that one coming a mile away.

Nate, your Fu is getting weak.

Anonymous patrick kelly August 01, 2012 4:00 PM  

Apparently mythical one world government and mythical free trade are doing lunch at Chick-Fil-A today.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) August 01, 2012 4:30 PM  

What is the purpose of the title of this post? Attack the person's position, not their character if you want to have anyone listen to you.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2012 4:32 PM  

Nate, now that you're done playing patty-cake with Vox, I'm still curious what your answers are to these questions:

1) What happens under your hypothetical free trade regime if China does not play by the rules?

2) Does your hypothetical free trade regime either require or allow unrestricted movement of labor, capital, and goods?

Anonymous VD August 01, 2012 4:38 PM  

What is the purpose of the title of this post? Attack the person's position, not their character if you want to have anyone listen to you.

Right, THAT'S why people don't listen to me. Not because they don't want to hear it. Not because they're not interested in esoteric subjects. It's because I'm insufficiently polite to deceivers and liars. Fuck them if they want to hear it their way, their willingness to listen is not my responsibility. The purpose of this post is to identify for everyone the intrinsic anti-Americanism, the intrinsic anti-nationalism of the dogmatic free traders.

Notice that NO ONE has identified a hole in the argument. No one has even tried. If I am correct, then I am correct regardless of whether you like me or not. If people would rather have their ears tickled, then someone else will have to tickle them.

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 4:52 PM  

"This country ALREADY imposed tariffs for OVER A CENTURY without suffering any political or economic evils -- indeed, the tariffs provided enormous economic advantages."

actually it was far more than a century... and remember that whole war thing that cost millions of americans their lives and resulted in the total destruction of the republic?

Yeah that was over tariffs.

So... think real hard before you decide you're tall enough for this ride hoss.

Anonymous patrick kelly August 01, 2012 4:52 PM  

TickliSSSS!!!

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 4:52 PM  

"Because they haven't succeeded in implementing true free trade."

Wait...

So free traders can't use the "that's not really Free Trade" point... but you can?

/facepalm

Anonymous Clay August 01, 2012 4:53 PM  

Damn, Vox. That's "fuck" twice in one day.

Anonymous Salt August 01, 2012 4:54 PM  

actually it was far more than a century... and remember that whole war thing that cost millions of americans their lives and resulted in the total destruction of the republic?

Not according to the Yankees.

Anonymous Other Josh August 01, 2012 4:56 PM  

By the amount of people I know who think they are actually "making a stand" by eating Chik-Fil-A today - I'm beginning to hate Americans, too.

"We'll show our gubmint we support straight marriage by eatin' fried chicken today. That'll show 'em."

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 4:57 PM  

"1) What happens under your hypothetical free trade regime if China does not play by the rules?"

I don't care what rules china plays by because my concern is not the well being of american business. My concern is limiting the power of government.

"2) Does your hypothetical free trade regime either require or allow unrestricted movement of labor, capital, and goods?"

2) I am not a ricardian free trader and do not support his idiotic baseless ideology. I believe in severely restricting immigration. Capital and Goods are not government property and thus the government has no say in where they go. I suggest that if you are going to have a door open.. you best make sure your house is comfortable if you want people to stay there. The cure is not to close the door.

Anonymous Daniel August 01, 2012 4:58 PM  

A word on the four points: they are as elegant and effective as a Roman cross vault. Such a specimen would be the ideal proof of concept for any engineered language.

Well done.

Blogger Nate August 01, 2012 4:58 PM  

Also...

I am not a free trader in the sense that North and others are.

Generally I would support a small flat universal tariff on all imports from everywhere no matter what. This would be a strict tariff that would only be adjustable by constitutional amendment and would be the only means available to fund government activities.

Anonymous Salt August 01, 2012 5:03 PM  

Capital and Goods are not government property and thus the government has no say in where they go.

And what of people (labor)? Can't ignore them.

Anonymous Josh August 01, 2012 5:04 PM  

Vox, you're making an argument largely against a strawman. True free trade is this, etc. When certain people offer a rebuttal, your response has been, "well, if x, y, and z conditions are not met, it's not free trade." And given that the ideal free trade also needs the condition of a true free market in money and credit, you have to take that into consideration when quantifying the effects of free trade. You can't blame loss of jobs and wages on free trade since the closing of the gold window, because that's not free trade.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 01, 2012 5:09 PM  

I am not a free trader in the sense that North and others are.

Nate, that does not seat well with this:

So free traders can't use the "that's not really Free Trade" point... but you can?

So, yes, free traders can't use the "that's not really Free Trade" point if there is something like a Nate's Free Trade and a North's Free Trade.

Anonymous Daniel August 01, 2012 5:10 PM  

Generally I would support a small flat universal tariff on all imports from everywhere no matter what. This would be a strict tariff that would only be adjustable by constitutional amendment and would be the only means available to fund government activities.

If it can be adjusted by constitutional amendment, then it is neither universal, nor will it remain flat.

That is, of course, unless you allow for a (very small, mind you - tiny almost. Insignificant, the size of a mustard seed, in fact) extra-national governing body.

You know, just to ensure the universality and the flatness and what have you.

Anonymous Josh August 01, 2012 5:14 PM  

Generally I would support a small flat universal tariff on all imports from everywhere no matter what. This would be a strict tariff that would only be adjustable by constitutional amendment and would be the only means available to fund government activities.

For the record, this is my preferred position as well.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 01, 2012 5:22 PM  

A universal flat tarriff is possible through intergovernment contracts, commonly known as treaties.

Anonymous Yorzhik August 01, 2012 5:41 PM  

Vox wrote: Then the trade is obviously not free.

Free trade doesn't mean a country forces another country to do what they want. It means the people in a country are free to transact.

This is more free trade dishonesty, appealing to the other side when it suits them and ignoring it when it doesn't. And it's also irrelevant.

What other side? If you are talking about what Gary North says, I find a number of things he says that are wrong about free trade. I think he believes free trade should be reciprocal. You won't find me being inconsistent with that argument.

We already know that you are totally irrational when it comes to the costs of immigration due to your own immigrant background.

Sheesh, I should have lied just so my arguments would have been rational.

My reasons are sound. Free trade helps not just me but every business that deals with migrants. And it makes sense for that to be the case since they are willing to work for lower wages which allows a business to be more competitive.

And there is another interesting thing about our situation in the US; the migrants are paid those lower wages in cash. And so they end up using services and buying goods almost as much as the rest of the workforce that have higher incomes.

The addition of 100 million Chinese slave laborers and 300 million Indians are not going to improve the American economy or American society.

Not slaves, but men free to find a better situation than they would have if they stayed in their own country. They will stop immigrating when the labor pool is full and there is no more work to do. In other words, a country is like a barn rais'n. You want as many people as you can to work, but you aren't obligated to let any particular person on your property.

Anonymous Salt August 01, 2012 5:45 PM  

@ Yorzhik August 01, 2012 5:41 PM

/facepalm

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2012 5:45 PM  

"1) What happens under your hypothetical free trade regime if China does not play by the rules?"

I don't care what rules china plays by because my concern is not the well being of american business. My concern is limiting the power of government.

"2) Does your hypothetical free trade regime either require or allow unrestricted movement of labor, capital, and goods?"

2) I am not a ricardian free trader and do not support his idiotic baseless ideology. I believe in severely restricting immigration. Capital and Goods are not government property and thus the government has no say in where they go. I suggest that if you are going to have a door open.. you best make sure your house is comfortable if you want people to stay there. The cure is not to close the door...
I am not a free trader in the sense that North and others are.

Generally I would support a small flat universal tariff on all imports from everywhere no matter what. This would be a strict tariff that would only be adjustable by constitutional amendment and would be the only means available to fund government activities.


Let's see...You support tariffs, would restrict immigration, and would sacrifice economic gain in order to limit the power of government. There's a stake for you too son...in Auburn, right next to the one you reserved for Vox.

I really don't see where you differ materially from Vox on this. You simply do not include the things he finds most objectionable about free trade in your definition of free trade. You may be a trader, but you aren't a free trader.

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 5:47 PM  

"You can't blame loss of jobs and wages on free trade since the closing of the gold window, because that's not free trade."

Definitely a fair point. But wasn't it liberalized trade agreements with Europe that left foreign countries holding huge amounts of US dollars, which in turn led to the closing of the gold window?

Anonymous It's da niggaz, stupid! August 01, 2012 5:50 PM  

actually it was far more than a century... and remember that whole war thing that cost millions of americans their lives and resulted in the total destruction of the republic?

Yeah that was over tariffs.


No, you halfwit, the Civil War was NOT over tariffs.

Anonymous Yorzhik August 01, 2012 5:51 PM  

Stilicho wrote: 1) What happens under your hypothetical free trade regime if China does not play by the rules?

I can't control China, and I don't care about China as much as I do the US. So I can improve my economy with free trade and shrug my shoulders when they don't do the same with their economy.

2) Does your hypothetical free trade regime either require or allow unrestricted movement of labor, capital, and goods?

Just like a barn rais'n where you invite everyone. Everyone has unrestricted movement of labor, capital, and goods to get the job done. But if those #*@& Baker boys show there faces you are under no obligation to let them on your property. It also means you have the right to know exactly who anyone is that enters your property.

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 5:59 PM  

"In other words, a country is like a barn rais'n."

When you explain it that way, it all makes sense. They should have just put that in the Constitution.

Anonymous kh123 August 01, 2012 6:00 PM  

"So I can improve my economy with free trade and shrug my shoulders when they [China] don't do the same with their economy."

Reminds me of the discussion from a few weeks ago with Clinton B about a lack of firearms, but doing everything possible to safeguard one's family and home.

Anonymous Yorzhik August 01, 2012 6:05 PM  

Noah B. wrote: When you explain it that way, it all makes sense. They should have just put that in the Constitution.

I know I've overplayed that analogy but the concept explains a great deal but it seems no one understands it well enough to comment on it.

Anonymous Gored Vital August 01, 2012 6:05 PM  

How can an individual claim to be sovereign, at the same, also claims his sovereignty to the State? A nation with borders, that insists it must protect with force (i.e. import/custom tax, guns, etc.) those borders, must also have a claim on an individual's claim to sovereignty. An individual, who claims sovereignty, at the same time, some other entity claims same sovereignty, is not -- sovereign.

The problem with nationalism, is that sovereignty must be claimed and given to the State. Whatever sovereignty the State (federal or otherwise) gives back, or allows to the individual, that individual cannot also claim to be sovereign. Sovereignty is like being pregnant. There is no half-way or partial measure. It's all or nothing.

Free trade, that is trade without restriction (both sides), is incompatible with nationalism, or any nationalistic tendency of an entity, this including a constitutional republic, putting limits on an individual. Of course, there is, and there must be "rule of law."

The dilemma of free trade, is equal to that of Babylonian Banking with a monopoly gold/metal standard monetary policy. This question will never be resolved within the context of a fallen state of human society, before pure light will flow through human veins...

Blogger Spacebunny August 01, 2012 6:06 PM  

No, you halfwit, the Civil War was NOT over tariffs.

Look, just because you are historically illiterate doesn't mean the rest of us are. However, this is far OT so it will stop here.

Anonymous Daniel August 01, 2012 6:07 PM  

A universal flat tarriff is possible through intergovernment contracts, commonly known as treaties.

Only under two conditions:

1) The treaty has no party who unilaterally withdraws
2) The flat rate is equally beneficial to all parties at all times

So, "universal flat" should be qualified as "fantasyland universal flat" may be possible through treaties.

The second that one party doesn't like the rate or the treaty is the second the practical lie of "universal and flat" is exposed.

In any case such a novelty is unrelated to free trade as it is commonly understood.

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 6:13 PM  

"I know I've overplayed that analogy but the concept explains a great deal but it seems no one understands it well enough to comment on it."

That's not the reason why no one has commented on it.

Anonymous Yorzhik August 01, 2012 6:28 PM  

Noah B. That's not the reason why no one has commented on it.

You might be right. It might be well understood, but since it successfully challenges the anti-free trade argument those that hold it might simply be loath to comment.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2012 6:42 PM  

So free traders can't use the "that's not really Free Trade" point... but you can?

No, you're missing the point. If they want to play it, I can trump it. But I certainly don't need it to make my case. Where do you see it in the four points I raised?

Vox, you're making an argument largely against a strawman. True free trade is this, etc. When certain people offer a rebuttal, your response has been, "well, if x, y, and z conditions are not met, it's not free trade." And given that the ideal free trade also needs the condition of a true free market in money and credit, you have to take that into consideration when quantifying the effects of free trade. You can't blame loss of jobs and wages on free trade since the closing of the gold window, because that's not free trade.

If you think that, then you have not understood the scope of the argument. The argument is devastating to the realistic partial free trade argument as well as the full hypothetical free trade one that you erroneously consider a strawman. (You are wrong because people most certainly do make that argument; it is not a strawman even though many free traders don't make it.) I will not tell you again that your constant attempts to appeal to the currency element are irrelevant, you're simply making yourself look stupid each time you try to sidetrack the issue that way. I encourage you to think through what you are saying. Regardless of whether the payments are in gold, paper or rocks, the same issues I have pointed out will remain.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2012 6:50 PM  

My reasons are sound.

No, they're not. You keep repeating the same, long-disproven assertions and completely failing to even address my points. I was familiar with the arguments you are making now when I was 16.

I know I've overplayed that analogy but the concept explains a great deal but it seems no one understands it well enough to comment on it.

No, it's simply irrelevant. Do you seriously think it is so complex that no one understands it? You haven't even begun to address the labor issue or the fact that genuine free international trade on the domestic model would require the expatriation of half of all working Americans under the age of 35. That's not even remotely sustainable, that's totally insane to the point that it makes the EU lunatics look reasonable.

Anonymous VD August 01, 2012 7:02 PM  

Damn, Vox. That's "fuck" twice in one day.

Really? I don't know, I'm hitting 280/295, just finished running the character breakdowns through the spreadsheet and realized I have to a) turn a minor character into a perspective one, and, b) do a fair amount of revision and cutting and rewriting once I finish the first draft the week after next.

I'll be done on time and the book will be the better for it, but every now and then the magnitude of the undertaking feels oppressive.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) August 01, 2012 7:04 PM  

There shouldn't be free trade with southern california because the first language there is or will soon be spanish and the latino culture is much different. You can't expect americans to move to southern california to find work.

Anonymous JohnS August 01, 2012 7:13 PM  

@yorzick 5:41pm

"My reasons are sound. Free trade helps not just me but every business that deals with migrants. And it makes sense for that to be the case since they are willing to work for lower wages which allows a business to be more competitive."

What you appear to be advocating is throwing the rest of us into tooth and claw competition for resources (i.e. a paycheck)with as much of the 3rd world as is able to get themselves here; until the place is little different than a Calcutta slum--with wages to match (and just imagine your competitive advantage then!).

If this is your case for free trade, it appears some tighter immigration controls should have been applied to your parents.

"And there is another interesting thing about our situation in the US; the migrants are paid those lower wages in cash. And so they end up using services and buying goods almost as much as the rest of the workforce that have higher incomes."

Dude, are you retarded? You think pointing out how illegals already have the native born at a competitive disadvantage via skipping the laws we're all compelled to obey on pain of massive government overkill, throwing the book at we unconnected proles for the slightest infraction of the most obscure of regulations or codes; you think this HELPS your case? Seriously? And you wonder why Vox heaps scorn on you?

Sigh... and finally:

"Not slaves, but men free to find a better situation than they would have if they stayed in their own country. They will stop immigrating when the labor pool is full and there is no more work to do. In other words, a country is like a barn rais'n. You want as many people as you can to work, but you aren't obligated to let any particular person on your property."

To resort to another country turn of phrase, It sure sounds like you're trying to fool the rest of us into getting in the stump*...



*For the uninitiated, the stump has this amazing knothole, you see...

Anonymous JohnS August 01, 2012 7:19 PM  

Yorzhik August 01, 2012 6:28 PM

Noah B. That's not the reason why no one has commented on it.

You might be right. It might be well understood, but since it successfully challenges the anti-free trade argument those that hold it might simply be loath to comment.


I'm thinking the lack of comment may have more to do with charity...

Anonymous Anonymous August 01, 2012 8:07 PM  

There is no true free trade without the free movement of labor and capital. Thus, at its most basic level, one cannot support free trade and still be any sort of nationalist or statist or whatever "ist" you want you to refer to someone that supports any sort of political state unless you are a globalist and support a one-world government. I believe in free trade, but I don't believe that there should be any sort of political state. If you want to call me "anti-American" simply because I don't care any more about some stranger in NYC than I do about some chinaman in Beijing then so be it. I don't. I think all individuals are equal in terms of their natural rights. Is that reality? Of course not, states exist and always will, because a majority of people apparently have an intrinsic need to be ruled. So, Vox is, IMO, correct in his argument from a "this is reality" standpoint. I do not agree with his argument from a moral perspective, because I don't believe it is moral to initiate force against another individual, and any sort of government interference in any transaction is, by definition, initiating force against an individual.

This applies to immigration, commerce, or any other voluntary interaction. Those immigrants (free traders should recognize them as "labor") are only coming here because other "anti-Americans" want them here. It's exactly the same as you trying to use force to prevent your neighbor's friends from visiting him just because you don't approve. The only difference is, in a political state, one is legal and one may not be. Neither are moral.

Anonymous Rip August 01, 2012 8:08 PM  

Sorry, the above was mine. I mistakenly chose "anonymous". I don't post here much and forgot about the changes.

Anonymous Stilicho August 01, 2012 8:16 PM  

I can't control China, and I don't care about China as much as I do the US. So I can improve my economy with free trade and shrug my shoulders when they don't do the same with their economy.

Therefore China is free to export to you at will while restricting your exports to China. That's not improving your economy, that's losing your industrial production to a competitor along with the associated jobs and capital in return for temporarily lower prices. You failed to account for the fact that your capital went to China so you do not have the ability to compete even at lower wages until and unless you once again have the requisite capital.

Alternatively, you can restrict trade with China on mirror terms, but that brings you back to protecting national interests and again destroys your free trade arguments.

Anonymous E. PERLINE August 01, 2012 8:25 PM  

Jartstar- What you said about captive labor reminds me of a line- maybe it was from the novel Spatacus- that slaves and prisoners are not good at manufacturing. They break things.

Blogger tz August 01, 2012 8:52 PM  

'Regulation' in the original sense was 'to make regular', I.e not chaotic and define rules for how to insure things would work out.

@Nate - enforcing private contracts - within or across boundaries -requires government power. So does determining who is responsible (in advance) who is responsible if the train carrying the merchandise or the bank facilitating the transaction fails - derails or goes bankrupt in the middle. We have too little government on wall street. Or between the branches themselves.

I have a simple solution. You can bring anything tariff free into the country if you personally go and purchase the merchandise yourself. You must gonthere and bring it back (and not resell it). Or even if they want to send a person with merchandise here. Interfering with proxies is different than interfereing with a direct transaction.

If you can bypass one aspect of government by crossing a border, you can bypass all. If I want your car, stealing it locally would be a problem, but instead, I should get a mexican or canadian to get it across the border where I can freely pay a few dollars to buy it and be the legally recognized owner (assuming you want any government)? If you don't want any community action or standards, the one with the better gun or the better marksman wins.

Anonymous Yorzhik August 01, 2012 9:30 PM  

Vox wrote: No, they're not. You keep repeating the same, long-disproven assertions and completely failing to even address my points. I was familiar with the arguments you are making now when I was 16.
One of your points is that immigration from very depressed places will have the wages of the incoming workers go up relative to their former wages, and the wages of the indigenous population go down because they have to compete with the relatively lower wage of the immigrant. Thus, we should stop immigration because it will drag down the economy and lifestyles of the indigenous with an across the board income decline.

Another point is that the culture will change in bad ways because the immigrants will bring their different culture that is supposedly worse. Thus we should stop immigration to avoid worsening the culture.

Another point is that immigrants will eventually get the right to vote and will vote in bad policies. Thus we should stop immigration because they naturally don't understand good governance.

To the first point: wages might go down but wealth won't. Cheaper labor will reduce prices. But wealth will be increased because the immigrant labor is more productive than indigenous labor. We know this because the profits go up for the same amount of labor. With an increase in wealth production, and more needs to be met, a country's economy will grow if the people are free to meet those needs. No one will hire an immigrant unless they get more production from their labor cost.

As to the second point: Culture changes whether immigrants arrive or not. The velocity of change may be different, but it doesn't matter much if the people are civil. A civil populace is created by the justice system, not the culture.

As to the third point: If so many immigrants come in that they can't find work better than where they move from, they will stop coming. We saw this happen with the Puerto Ricans coming in the 50's and stopped coming in the 70's. The only reason NY might be messed up today because of this migration is because they get to vote. Letting the people vote is a bad idea.

Did I miss a major point?

No, it's simply irrelevant. Do you seriously think it is so complex that no one understands it?
Right. I'm wrong that people don't understand it. They understand it but it quells the argument enough that they'd rather not comment

You haven't even begun to address the labor issue
I did in broad terms. I hope the above is more detailed.

or the fact that genuine free international trade on the domestic model would require the expatriation of half of all working Americans under the age of 35.
Which is why the domestic model doesn't work for international trade. Free trade means the people are free to transact. To whatever extent individuals working to improve their lives are free to do so, they will increase the wealth of themselves and thus the country. Therefore, if only one side has free trade and the other doesn't, the free side will derive more benefit because the individual won't trade with the other country without an increase of their wealth in the deal.

That's not even remotely sustainable, that's totally insane to the point that it makes the EU lunatics look reasonable.
Of course it's not sustainable, which is why that model is not the right one to use when discussing free trade.

Anonymous Yorzhik August 01, 2012 9:34 PM  

JohnS wrote: I'm thinking the lack of comment may have more to do with charity...

I don't think anyone would miss a chance to point out where it is wrong (barring where any analogy would break down).

Anonymous Yorzhik August 01, 2012 9:44 PM  

JohnS wrote:What you appear to be advocating is throwing the rest of us into tooth and claw competition for resources (i.e. a paycheck)with as much of the 3rd world as is able to get themselves here; until the place is little different than a Calcutta slum--with wages to match (and just imagine your competitive advantage then!).
Wages might go down but wealth cannot. If wealth were to decrease the immigrants would not find work, and they wouldn't come. By necessity they will only be hired if the person that hires them can achieve greater wealth for his labor cost.

Dude, are you retarded? You think pointing out how illegals already have the native born at a competitive disadvantage via skipping the laws we're all compelled to obey on pain of massive government overkill, throwing the book at we unconnected proles for the slightest infraction of the most obscure of regulations or codes; you think this HELPS your case? Seriously?
If the immigrants were here or not, the problem you cite will still be the same. Thus, the "pain" is the REAL problem. The immigrants just expose it (and mitigate it somewhat). So, yes, it is a big help to my case.

Fight the real problem, not the symptom.

To resort to another country turn of phrase
That's a cute phrase, but it isn't much of a counter-point. I'd rather hear a counter-point from you.

Blogger rcocean August 01, 2012 9:45 PM  

The purpose of this post is to identify for everyone the intrinsic anti-Americanism, the intrinsic anti-nationalism of the dogmatic free traders.

This will piss off a lot of Southern Boys, cause they're in favor of "Free-trade" because their daddy was in favor of "free-trade" and their granddaddy and his daddy. Free trade is ALWAYS good for the South, because it just is.

Anonymous Roundtine August 01, 2012 9:55 PM  

Therefore China is free to export to you at will while restricting your exports to China.

Therefore China is free to create an industrial policy specifically designed to hollow out your key manufacturing industry, followed by all the suppliers (geographic proximity is valued and speeds up information sharing), then the migration of research & development, and eventually even the know-how, as the local universities become increasingly competitive due to their ability to work closely with the industry.

Anonymous Rantor August 01, 2012 9:59 PM  

@Rip, so you don't believe it is moral to use force against another person? You won't mind then if all the dread ilk come over and stay at your place for the next six months? I mean we are all pretty nice and ither than big arguments about deflation or predestination, we'll be pretty quiet. And since you won't use any force on us, we won't have to use any force on you. Just keep the wine, beer and snacks flowing.

Anonymous Rantor August 01, 2012 10:04 PM  

@RIP, also that stranger in. NYC, as much as we all may hate the liberal, big city bastard, is an American and thus I do care more about him than for someone in China. The closer someone is to mee the more I care. I don't want to be surrounded by the homeless, unemployed, illiterat, or diseased. I want my fellow Americans to do well and keep America moving forward. I even want RIP to do well. Rising tide lifts all boats and all that rot.

Now I know you don't believe in force, but the Chinese do, funny how that works...

Anonymous JohnS August 01, 2012 10:09 PM  

To the first point: wages might go down but wealth won't. Cheaper labor will reduce prices. But wealth will be increased because the immigrant labor is more productive than indigenous labor. We know this because the profits go up for the same amount of labor. With an increase in wealth production, and more needs to be met, a country's economy will grow if the people are free to meet those needs. No one will hire an immigrant unless they get more production from their labor cost.

You really seem to be an amoral sociopath, or at least a posterboy for the utility of guillotines. Do you not recognize that you are making an argument for slavery? By all means, keep chasing profit as the be-all-end-all, it's such an endearing trait.

I hope you're spending those profits on reinforcing your compound's defenses... as the masses of "less profitable" may wish to have words with you once you've aided in dragging their family's prospects into 3rd world hell. While I don't endorse the initiation of force, one could say that you're actively forcing them into the gutter... good luck sparky.

Blogger Joshua_D August 01, 2012 10:18 PM  

rcocean August 01, 2012 9:45 PM
Vox: The purpose of this post is to identify for everyone the intrinsic anti-Americanism, the intrinsic anti-nationalism of the dogmatic free traders.

This will piss off a lot of Southern Boys, cause they're in favor of "Free-trade" because their daddy was in favor of "free-trade" and their granddaddy and his daddy. Free trade is ALWAYS good for the South, because it just is.


You apparently haven't been to the South lately.

JohnS August 01, 2012 10:09 PM

You really seem to be an amoral sociopath


Exactly, except "amoral sociopath" is redundant. ;) In then end though, we'll all get our comeuppance, and the free-traders will have to account for their disregard for their brothers, sisters, sons and daughters and neighbors.

Extreme Individualism comes at a cost, and that cost will be paid.

Anonymous JohnS August 01, 2012 10:23 PM  

And, as it's more than obvious that I may as well be talking to a wall, for all the progress I'm making here... I give up Yorzick.

I'm going to bed.

Anonymous JohnS August 01, 2012 10:26 PM  

Exactly, except "amoral sociopath" is redundant. ;)

touche'

Anonymous zen0 August 01, 2012 11:00 PM  

This will piss off a lot of Southern Boys, cause they're in favor of "Free-trade" because their daddy was in favor of "free-trade" and their granddaddy and his daddy. Free trade is ALWAYS good for the South, because it just is. @ rcocean

The War of Northern aggression was an anti-tariff war agin southern tariffs. Obviously some one in the south liked them.

You must be mistaken about southern gents proclivities.

Anonymous zen0 August 01, 2012 11:07 PM  

JohnS August 01, 2012 10:26 PM

Exactly, except "amoral sociopath" is redundant. ;)

touche'


Don't be so quick to concede. What about moral sociopath?

Sociopathology is a relative term. Do you think all the people who have opinions, and who think other people are opinionATED, should examine their assumptions?

Hmmmmmmmm?

Anonymous zen0 August 01, 2012 11:16 PM  

@ RIP anon: There is no true free trade without the free movement of labor and capital. Thus, at its most basic level, one cannot support free trade and still be any sort of nationalist or statist or whatever "ist" you want you to refer to someone that supports any sort of political state unless you are a globalist and support a one-world government.

Hey, dude.
Global Government would constitute a state, right? So a Globalist would by definition be a Statist. Que?

Like right off the top you are fucked.
Take the test again...

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 11:37 PM  

Yorzhik, I am holding out hope that you are simply a master troll.

Anonymous Noah B. August 01, 2012 11:49 PM  

@Oy Vey

Hey dipshit - next time you consider posting a link, you should probably read it first. Especially the part beginning with the following: "The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the the South not at all."

If you can't understand what you're reading, then just shut up.

Anonymous stg58 August 02, 2012 12:26 AM  

Really depressing to see this no borders/free trade bullcrap catch on. There are many liberty people in Austin who think this way. It is also disheartening to see Gary North go this way. Maybe he is outside of his most productive, most lucid years. I think Vox posted about that, in regards to SCi-Fi authors.

This content North is producing is totally contrary to the times he and my dad talked to each other, and what my dad told me about him.

Anonymous Outlaw X August 02, 2012 12:50 AM  

To the first point: wages might go down but wealth won't. Cheaper labor will reduce prices. But wealth will be increased because the immigrant labor is more productive than indigenous labor. We know this because the profits go up for the same amount of labor. With an increase in wealth production, and more needs to be met, a country's economy will grow if the people are free to meet those needs. No one will hire an immigrant unless they get more production from their labor cost.


You really seem to be an amoral sociopath, or at least a posterboy for the utility of guillotines. Do you not recognize that you are making an argument for slavery? By all means, keep chasing profit as the be-all-end-all, it's such an endearing trait.

I tend to agree with your analysis of this kind of thinking. Since my words cannot describe my complete disgust for his statement let me give my analogy. Vox says it has become a religion to these folks and I agree.

Free trade religion is like pre-trib rapture theology they all think they have a place at the table and their "savior" (free trade) will deliver them from the tribulation that is sure to come. But when and if it (free trade)comes the table is jerked out from under them and they find themselves impoverished.

I would go as far as to say there is a spiritual dimension to this and it is mammon.

Anonymous Yorzhik August 02, 2012 12:55 AM  

JohnS wrote: You really seem to be an amoral sociopath, or at least a posterboy for the utility of guillotines. Do you not recognize that you are making an argument for slavery? By all means, keep chasing profit as the be-all-end-all, it's such an endearing trait.

Profit isn't the be-all-end-all. But it is a good way to measure whether if you are conducting your business right. And, if you didn't know, slavery is less productive than freedom. In fact, the history of slavery is a good argument for freedom in an economic context.

I hope you're spending those profits on reinforcing your compound's defenses... as the masses of "less profitable" may wish to have words with you once you've aided in dragging their family's prospects into 3rd world hell. While I don't endorse the initiation of force, one could say that you're actively forcing them into the gutter... good luck sparky.

That's only if I'm supporting or helping to force them into the gutter. As I said before, wealth goes up when a cheaper labor force becomes available. We know this because the businesses around me would be happy to hire local labor, except that they can all count the cost up front. The migrants do a better job for less. That's just reality. Any commodity like what we have here would cost more to all the consumers and so every consumer's wealth would go down using local labor. And our situation is identical to every commodity industry in the US that has access to migrant labor... and that is a big chunk of the US economy.

If we were to expand the migrant labor to more places, they could all benefit the same way.

And, BTW, it has been this way a great deal longer than it would have taken for this area to become depressed if the migrants were causing a depression. Reality is that this area counts on the profits of our migrant-worked commodities to keep our local economy healthy.

Anonymous Willy Wonka August 02, 2012 1:06 AM  

Global utopians.

Anonymous batman August 02, 2012 1:36 AM  

Off topic, but check out this before and after photo comparison of James Holmes:

http://vigilantcitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/487953_10151951838655024_1851146367_n-e1343857206303.jpg

How sure is everybody that this killer is who the mass media says he is?

Anonymous Freddy August 02, 2012 3:32 AM  

North is a postmill guy.

How would trading with foreign nations work itself out in that optimistic view of the future?

Now on the other hand, most premill's suggest Christ must rule from Jerusalem imposing a literal sword on his enemies.

Vox hasn't worked out an eschatological opinion about how this trade/free trade works out in Christendom.

The prophet Isaiah talks about Lions and Lambs laying down with each other, war tools left behind, much grace offered between individuals, nations and God. The gospel affects even the way we trade with oneanother, individually, nationally and beyond.

You are not thinking wholistically.

Your narrative is less than satisfying.

Paul tells us that the Christian is trans-national..."from every tribe, tongue and nation...neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female.."

Your story leads to isolationism. Walls.

Your hopeless eschatology colors your beliefs

Anonymous VD August 02, 2012 4:52 AM  

Vox hasn't worked out an eschatological opinion about how this trade/free trade works out in Christendom.

Mostly because it is not necessary. Free trade might work in Heaven. It doesn't work on Earth.

Did I miss a major point?

Yes. The fact that removing trade barriers to the point that international trade is as free as domestic trade will require either a significant lower standard of living for Americans or the expatriation of nearly 50 percent of the American working class by the age of 35.

And, of course, your answers do not rebut the points, but that's another matter.

Anonymous VD August 02, 2012 4:57 AM  

Which is why the domestic model doesn't work for international trade. Free trade means the people are free to transact.

You clearly have no clue what you are talking about here and have failed to follow the logic. You're claiming that free trade doesn't work for international trade, which is the precise opposite of what you have been arguing all along.

If people are as free to transact internationally as they are domestically, it will lead to the replacement of the American population with three percent of the work force leaving the country every year, and 49.5 percent of young working Americans under the age of 35 leaving the USA. If they refuse to leave, it will lead to mass unemployment and a significant lowering of the US standard of living.

Anonymous Idle Spectator August 02, 2012 5:45 AM  

Look, all you need to know about this free trade thing is thinking different populations will behave equally economically is ridiculous (A). Which therefore makes open borders ridiculous (B). Which therefore makes the free flow of labor ridiculous (C). A => B => C => Your ass.

It's like economists continually scratching their heads wondering why the Nordic Economic Model has functioned as long as it has.

Krugman: "Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if we tried that socialism here..." He says to himself constipatively in Human syllables. You know, over in New York, as he sits there stroking his ferrety beard, playing with a ferret ball in the corner of his plastic playpen office.


Bzzzzt, wrong answer.


HELLO? They're all Scandanavian in a high-trust, low-crime, homogeneous society. Same reason they can get away with all those ridiculous Excellent Equalitarian Experiments (EEE!!!), like mandating corporate boards be a certain proportion of women.

Anonymous Idle Spectator, Ethnomusicologist at UCLA August 02, 2012 6:11 AM  

Plus no one rocks harder than the Swedes. Like here in their legendary music video Abba: Waterloo

Look at that clothing. Look at those beards. Glitter. Sequins. I just can't look away...

It's just like when Dr. David Bowman flew directly into the star gate opened up by the ominous Monolith at the end of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.


AHHHHH HHHA HHHHHHHHHHHH HHH HH UHHH EEE H EAG

HHHHH OOO WWW


My God... ... .... ..

...

.

.....it's full of plaid.

Anonymous Rantor August 02, 2012 6:18 AM  

And Swedish Women seeking to ban urinals and make the men sit down to pee so that they are more equal, and can share all the bathrooms... Have Swedish men no backbone? (Except in certain neighborhoods around Malmo where Islamic Men will not put up with their BS.)

Anonymous Rip August 02, 2012 8:20 AM  

@zen0
"Hey, dude.
Global Government would constitute a state, right? So a Globalist would by definition be a Statist. Que?

Like right off the top you are fucked.
Take the test again..."


Like, you don't understand the qualifier "unless". Epic fail.

@Rantor

I said "initiate force", not "use force". There is a profound difference.

Blogger Joshua_D August 02, 2012 8:51 AM  

Rip August 02, 2012 8:20 AM

I said "initiate force", not "use force". There is a profound difference.


Of course, the devil is always in the details, Rip, and the real question becomes what is force? Is force simply physical? Can an imminent threat be classified as force? Is pointing a gun force, or do you have to wait until you get shot to shoot back?

Can "force" or threats of force be applied to the neighborhood you value or some other non-physical thing you value? What if my neighbors invite a bunch a friends over to their house and in the course of an evening the trash the property and their trash starts spilling over in to my property. Can I use force then?

Just like free traders seem incapable of considering the non-economic impacts of free-trade, you seem incapable of seeing the non-physical possibilities of force and perceived force.

Anonymous Rip August 02, 2012 9:08 AM  

@Joshua_D

Perhaps before you assume that I'm incapable of seeing differing forms of force you should ask what I consider the term to mean. Yes, violent threats are a form of force. Yes, if your neighbors' party trespasses on your property, that is a form of force. Trespass is a form of force. There are many forms of force other than bitch slapping someone. As I said, it's best not to assume things, you end up being wrong more often than not. But we're getting off-topic now.

Blogger Joshua_D August 02, 2012 9:10 AM  

So, Rip,

I apologize for making assumptions.

My neighbor sells his property to someone who moves in three single-wide trailers, and rents them to seven meth addicts who start cook meth daily. Is that force?

Anonymous Josh August 02, 2012 9:20 AM  

It's their property, if they want to cook meth on it, who cares?

Anonymous Stilicho August 02, 2012 10:00 AM  

It's their property, if they want to cook meth on it, who cares?

That's a fair position up until the point where the meth operations interfere with the neighbors' use of their property or where the lowlife's hanging around have to be dealt with violently because they pose a danger to the neighbors. Then it becomes a question of who is better armed.

Anonymous Rip August 02, 2012 10:41 AM  

Josh is exactly right. And if you don't want your neighbor to tell his property to someone you find seedy, buy it from him yourself.

Look, there is no perfect world nor a perfect solution, but I'd certainly counter that political states infringe upon more freedoms than they protect.

Anonymous Rip August 02, 2012 10:43 AM  

*sell his property

Anonymous Inquistior August 02, 2012 10:51 AM  

"Vox Day calls Gary North a stinking liar. And unAmerican to boot:"

/care

"I can almost guarantee he won't address this argument for restricted trade, which transcends economics and applies to Americans, Frenchmen, and Chinese alike. Consider:"

"2. The difference between domestic economies and the global international economy is not trivial, but is substantive, material, and based on significant genetic, cultural, traditional, and legal differences between various self-identified peoples."

Not seeing the issue here. You're still talking about arbitrary lines. If people want to trade, whatever their "differences" are, what is your problem? What is "Vox's" problem? Talking about "transcendent" principles when there aren't any involved here is just kooky emotionalism.

"3. Free trade is totally incompatible with national sovereignty,"

Boohoo.

" democracy, "

**** mob rule.

"self-determination,"

Whose "self-determination?"

" as well as the existence of independent nation-states with the right and ability to set their own laws according to the preferences of their residents."

No, they set them according to how their rulers interpret a minority of the populace's "preferences". Dont' try and legitimise this crap based on people's "preferences". They are perfectly fine at expressing them themselves.

"4. Therefore, free trade must be opposed by every sovereign, democratic, or self-determined people, be they American, Chinese, German, or Zambian, who wish to preserve themselves as a free and distinct nation possessed of its own culture, traditions, and laws."

Translation: every sentimentalist, emotionalist kook needs to oppose free trade based on imagined "transcendent" principles that have nothing to do with people being "self-determined" ... or else they could tell whom they should or should not trade with using their own brains and preferences.

"Now let's consider the facts. Free trade advocates often claim that there is no reason for any difference between the U.S. domestic economy and the international economy."

Strictly speaking, there really isn't.

" They believe there should be no more barriers between sovereign nation-states than there are between the several and united American States. And yet, look at the difference between labor mobility in the USA versus the European Union."

I am not following. Because the EU over-regulates... the US needs to over-regulate trade with it and stiffle it?

Truly the dogma of an imbecile. I know why North hates your sort. You have no arguments of any merit at your disposal, just allusions to fanciful anti-concepts. If people value their "cultures", genetics etc. they're free to weigh it up and decide for themselves what and with whom to trade. They don't need your precious, ignorant state butting in.

Blogger Joshua_D August 02, 2012 11:04 AM  

Rip August 02, 2012 10:41 AM
Josh is exactly right. And if you don't want your neighbor to sell his property to someone you find seedy, buy it from him yourself.

Look, there is no perfect world nor a perfect solution, but I'd certainly counter that political states infringe upon more freedoms than they protect.


You're right. No perfect solution exists for an imperfect world. However, your only counter that "political states infringe upon more freedoms than they protect," falls short. Some political entities do infringe more than others, and it may be the case that political entities will always eventually infringe up as many rights that people allow. Of course America was once much freer than it is now, and Americans have let the government infringe on those rights.

But, at certain times, certain political entities infringe much less, and can in fact, promote liberty. We simply can't overlook time. We can't argue as if we are in a steady state of affairs.

It seems that there does exist a "best" somewhere between the extremes of self and society. Of course, any argument about "best" has to involve some type of moral compass that we can use to judge better or worse, and your view lacks that as far as I can tell.

Non-agression falls short as the sole metric for right and wrong. I think it's an excellent component of helping to determine right and wrong, but it can't be the only component.

Anonymous patrick kelly August 02, 2012 11:50 AM  

All utopian isms, anrchism, communism, socialism, libertarianism, work best as intellectual circle jerks and occasionally in smaller, local context, but fall apart as soon as they have to interact with larger, more powerful population outside their cushy little bubbles.

That's why they often end up on crusades to forcible convert the rest of humanity via war and gulags, that is unless their ideology can't somehow be twisted into permitting such things, in which case they cause very little noticeable change in the world around them.

Now which channel is broadcasting the revolution for the ism of the day?........

Blogger Vox August 02, 2012 12:08 PM  

Oh, the irony. Juxtapose these two statements:

I am not following. Because the EU over-regulates... the US needs to over-regulate trade with it and stiffle it?

No, you're not following at all.

Truly the dogma of an imbecile.

Amusing, coming from someone who admittedly doesn't follow the argument.

Anonymous Freddy August 02, 2012 3:29 PM  

vox shows his eschatological ignorance when he believes that the study of future events somehow precludes earthly endeavours regarding trade. The eternal state of one's soul (heaven) and the leavening effects of the gospel here on earth are two seperate matters.

Anonymous BR August 02, 2012 5:35 PM  

Some of you are responding to "Vox" as if he were "VD" Can't you tell the difference?

Anonymous WaterBoy August 02, 2012 6:08 PM  

BR: "Can't you tell the difference?"

Is this a serious question? Because if it is, Vox and V[ox]D[ay] are the same person....

Anonymous Rip August 02, 2012 10:10 PM  

Joshua_D

Since we are getting off topic I refrained from responding, but honestly, I think you've answered your own question, so to speak. If you take certain political states and look at them in a given snapshot of time, then yes, some of them do preserve more liberties than they infringe upon. However, if you look at them over time, they do not. Ever. Not in the history of man.

At any rate, that's beyond the scope of this discussion. As I said, as long as political states exist, then the idea of actual free trade won't exist unless and until there is a true globalist government. It can't otherwise, given the impediments to freely moving labor and capital.

Blogger Markku August 02, 2012 10:32 PM  

Some of you are responding to "Vox" as if he were "VD" Can't you tell the difference?

There is no difference. It is Vox when he is signed in, and VD when he types it into the name field without signing in.

Blogger Markku August 02, 2012 10:40 PM  

As to the second point: Culture changes whether immigrants arrive or not. The velocity of change may be different, but it doesn't matter much if the people are civil. A civil populace is created by the justice system, not the culture.

The justice system will manage to civilize only a certain rate of immigration, especially when the immigrants start from a state of barbarism. And it is exactly the barbarians that the system favors the most: They make their own countries such hellholes that the increase of the standard of living when they immigrate to Western societies is the greatest. So, the least civilized people have the most incentive to immigrate.

Blogger Markku August 02, 2012 10:54 PM  

Off topic, but check out this before and after photo comparison of James Holmes:

http://vigilantcitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/487953_10151951838655024_1851146367_n-e1343857206303.jpg

How sure is everybody that this killer is who the mass media says he is?


WOW that's moronic. The left ear (on our right) spans more pixels horizontally because the photo is taken from a slight angle. Look at the rightmost picture, the ratio is exactly the same with both ears from the same photo. And the nose appears wider when he is smiling, because smiling pulls the nostrils outwards. Try it in front of a mirror. Do a smile and normal expression in quick succession.

Anonymous Yorzhik August 04, 2012 1:17 AM  

Vox wrote: Yes. The fact that removing trade barriers to the point that international trade is as free as domestic trade will require either a significant lower standard of living for Americans or the expatriation of nearly 50 percent of the American working class by the age of 35.

But no one will chose to move unless their lives are bettered by the move. Which is what brings the immigrants in the first place. So are you saying the immigrants come and then the economy is ruined and so all the immigrants go back and take 1/2 the working population of the indigenous with them? Who would they sell to? And if there is no one to sell to, why would they move?

And, of course, your answers do not rebut the points, but that's another matter.

That's because your foundation is wrong. I'm turning the discussion to your foundation because your conclusions are wrong because of them.

You clearly have no clue what you are talking about here and have failed to follow the logic. You're claiming that free trade doesn't work for international trade, which is the precise opposite of what you have been arguing all along.

No. Free trade would work fine with both countries implementing free trade. The difference is that the countries have the authority to implement it to whatever extent they do. If both countries remove barriers to trade, that's great. If only one country removes barriers to trade, it will be the chief benefactor of the two country's trade. The point being that free trade can be implemented on one side only that side would have free trade. If you have the freedom to transact in your country, you aren't under the laws of another country that erects barriers to trade and therefore you have free trade.

If people are as free to transact internationally as they are domestically, it will lead to the replacement of the American population with three percent of the work force leaving the country every year, and 49.5 percent of young working Americans under the age of 35 leaving the USA. If they refuse to leave, it will lead to mass unemployment and a significant lowering of the US standard of living.

So what you are saying is that the 49.5 percent of the working population will move because they will have a better life in doing so, since they will avoid the mass unemployment lower standard of living by doing so. But what happened with all the immigrants that came into the country?

Anonymous Yorzhik August 04, 2012 1:21 AM  

The justice system will manage to civilize only a certain rate of immigration, especially when the immigrants start from a state of barbarism.
Which is why no country is obligated to let any particular person into the country. There are some people groups that have to prove they learned to be civil before they come into a country.

Most Mexicans I work with are civil, as well as most Asians. There are a number of African nations...

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