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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

On being underwhelmed by economists

One of the things I've learned about the internet is that it has a way of stripping the intellectual glamor from those one had reason to respect for one reason or another. I discovered that Thomas Sowell was rather less bright than I'd believed when I had a direct personal encounter with him over Michelle Malkin and Pearl Harbor. And it was disappointing to learn that Thomas Woods is considerably more conventional, and considerably less serious, as an economist than I'd imagined him to be.
Supreme Dark Lord @voxday
Free trade advocates don't realize they're supporting a failed theory that never applied to modern economies or technology in the 1st place.

Bent Nail Retweeted Supreme Dark Lord@ThomasEWoods  free trade failed Tom...just like the non-aggression principle .only works if all comply.

Supreme Dark Lord ‏@voxday
No, it doesn't work at all. Free trade is totally incompatible with having a nation.

Tom Woods ‏@ThomasEWoods
No, that's completely wrong. Why not block out the sun? It's not playing fair, giving all that light for free!

Tom Woods ‏@ThomasEWoods
"Having a nation" = "forcing people to pay higher taxes to the sociopaths who oppress them." Got it.
Supreme Dark Lord @voxday
I mean literally having a nation at all. With true free trade, HALF of Americans under 35 will have to emigrate.

Tom Woods ‏@ThomasEWoods
Especially the US lightbulb industry, which deserves to suck at the proverbial teat forever. Nationhood demands it
Woods is a good Austrian, in the economics sense, but he's obviously in over his head here. I am entirely confident that he has literally never considered the obvious consequences of free trade from a labor mobility standpoint, despite the fact that labor mobility is a necessary component of free trade from theoretical, logical, and empirical standpoints.

In fact, with a very few number of exceptions, such as Gary North, who rejects the core concepts of "nations" and "borders", I daresay that fewer Austrian economists understand that their free trade dogma is absolutely antithetical to the survival of Western civilization than libertarians grasped that their open borders policy was self-refuting twenty years ago.

I find it amusing because the conversation usually goes like this:

FREE TRADER: Free trade is good! Just look at how domestic free trade has benefited the US economy!

VOX DAY: Very well. Now look at US labor mobility rates.

FT: (stricken look) Um, labor mobility isn't necessarily part of free trade.

VD: Yes, it is. But more importantly, it is observably part of the US economy.

FT: (wide-eyed horror, crash, reboot) Why not block out the sun? Japan! 1970s automakers! Ricardo! Smoot-Hawley!

They literally have no comeback for this argument, because most of them are unwilling to openly declare themselves anti-American globalists who don't believe in nations, let alone national sovereignty, let alone the US Constitution. And that is the only rational response that remains to them if they are going to retain the free trade dogma.

I have yet to hear a single free trader even TRY to respond to my point that if the international economy was opened up to free trade to the extent that the domestic economy is, US labor mobility indicates that nearly half of all Americans would be forced to emigrate by the time they turn 35.

Free trade. Nations. Pick one.

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202 Comments:

1 – 200 of 202 Newer› Newest»
Anonymous RS April 06, 2016 11:09 AM  

You guys are probably talking past each other. Woods is the only writer I read on a regular basis that is in your same ballpark of IQ and rigor.

I've heard his and Lew Rockwell's comments on immigration and they actually like up pretty closely with yours - basically, that there is no way if private property were upheld that anyone in the US would welcome Muslim immigrants into it.

You guys should have an amicable debate. Tom has been digging in to the alt-right (recently having Milo/Lauren Southern/etc as guests and frequently railing on SJWs). Yall are on the same team. Yes, Tom comes from a borderline anarchic point of view, but you two would probably come pretty close to agreeing in practice.

He's certainly no moderate, and doesn't shoot at his own side (see his comments about Jeff Tucker's SJW tirade).

Anonymous RS April 06, 2016 11:14 AM  

Seriously, you two should link up and you should be a guest on his podcast. He does a great job, and readers here would agree with the vast majority of his work.

Anonymous DissidentRight April 06, 2016 11:17 AM  

I think most these Austrian/Mises Institute guys will come around if they have the arguments laid out before them. They just haven't seriously considered the implications.

Seriously, you two should link up and you should be a guest on his podcast. He does a great job, and readers here would agree with the vast majority of his work.

THIS.

Tom converted me to anarchocapitalism before I discovered Vox Popoli...

Anonymous Sensei April 06, 2016 11:18 AM  

I had previous subscribed to libertarian ideas about unhampered free trade, though I read enough here to begin to question that, but with this spelled out so obviously I now feel foolish for having not seen it at the beginning. With human mobility at historic highs, real global free trade would necessarily mean nations become arbitrary and unimportant boxes humans flow in and out of in response to economic factors larger than any nation could control. And whoever can regulate or control that trade is the true global government.

Blogger Sam Lively April 06, 2016 11:21 AM  

Woods had Milo on his podcast, IIRC, so while he is very dogmatic, he isn't quite as incestuous and inbred as other anarcho-libertarians. Maybe he'd be willing to have you on, or if he doesn't like debating, host a debate between you and one of his Austrian buds.

Anonymous #8601 Jean Valjean April 06, 2016 11:24 AM  

Vox Day for Secretary of Trade in the Trump Administration.

Anonymous sth_txs April 06, 2016 11:26 AM  

In regards to truly free trade across international borders as proposed by some, would wage disparities of labor be less of an issue if every country were on a gold standard or some sort of commodity money system?

In other words, would labor in China or India be less or more than in developed countries? I guess it would be speculation but it seems manipulating one's currency is a major issue.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 11:26 AM  

GUNS AND BADGES!

Blogger B.J. April 06, 2016 11:28 AM  

Even Stephen Molyneux is walking back from open borders and completely free trade now.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 11:30 AM  

You guys are probably talking past each other.

No, he is not talking past me. He is not doing what I suggested, which is looking at the labor mobility problem instead of pontificating and bloviating.

Hence my disappointment in him. I'd be happy to discuss free trade with him, but I'd prefer it if he did his homework first.

Blogger Crowhill April 06, 2016 11:30 AM  

The more smart people I meet, the more I realize that ... people really aren't all that smart. Everybody believes weird things, has strange hang-ups, insists on seeing some things and refuses to see others.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 11:30 AM  

Can we have another Vox vs Nate debate on free trade?

Anonymous ZhukovG April 06, 2016 11:31 AM  

I used to be all for Free Trade. But that was when I had a “Badge and a Gun”, living off the Taxpayers. Once I returned to the real world, I realized how devastating Free Trade was.

Even with internal Free Trade and Labor Mobility within the United States, you can readily see the detrimental effects that occur when groups of people are forced to relocate to where the jobs are.

Blogger RobertT April 06, 2016 11:34 AM  

Write a short book. Right now is prime time to rush one to market.

Blogger E. Harris April 06, 2016 11:34 AM  

Linking to Ian Fletcher's
“Fatal Flaws in the theory of Comparative Advantage”
http://www.americaneconomicalert.org/view_art.asp?Prod_ID=3076

would have set him back more than mere assertions, however right.

Blogger praetorian April 06, 2016 11:36 AM  

Can we have another Vox vs Nate debate on free trade?

Vox v. Tom Woods would be much better, if Woods took it intellectually seriously rather than going rolled-eyes and rhetoric like he does on Twitter.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 11:37 AM  

would have set him back more than mere assertions

First, I know Ian Fletcher. His arguments are solid, but they're not as totally devastating to free trade. Second, it is far more than a mere assertion. It is a correct logical syllogism based on current US demographic statistics.

Blogger Salt April 06, 2016 11:39 AM  

Mobility of labor reminds me of locusts. An area gets highly productive, then the locusts come. Time to go produce elsewhere.

Blogger Shimshon April 06, 2016 11:39 AM  

Robert Wendel also falls into this category.

Blogger Jourdan April 06, 2016 11:45 AM  

Economic thinking is one of the banes of our era. It's am important line of inquiry, and economics is indeed central to all societies, but it's not everything, not by a long shot.

The aspie-like obsession with percentages and market share and GDP and the like reveals a personality more comfortable with numbers and abstractions than the actual crooked timber we all live, work and socialize with every day.

Take Wal Mart as an example. To those economic thinkers, it's a wonder. Goods at an amazingly low price! Decent quality! Massive selection! We're rich.

Meanwhile, any sentient human being who visits one or has the misfortune to live in a town/city whose local market Wal Mart dominates recognizes that a wide selection of flavored iced teas is hardly a substitute for, you know, an actually functioning polity.

Blogger Shimshon April 06, 2016 11:46 AM  

Obviously I meant Wenzel.

Blogger Chris Ritchie April 06, 2016 11:47 AM  

"Stick a gun in my belly!"
I never understood how Gary North reconciled his slavish devotion to free trade, which he knows requires open borders, with his ideas on Covenantal Law. He wrote an entire economic commentary on the Bible. Contract and Property Law are foundational concepts to a Biblical economy. Thus, you have to "stick a gun in the belly" of those who don't follow the Biblical Law in order to do business with them. Case in point, Nehemiah stationing guards at the gate to prevent trading on the Sabaath. Isn't this a barrier to free trade? Doesn't preventing trade on the Sabaath in order to respect the Law of God qualify as restricting free trade to the benefit of those within the "closed" society who do follow God's Law?

The other point I never understood (not from Gary North) is "A rising tide raises all ships." On the contrary, the free movement of Labor across borders shifts the entire supply curve to the right, lowering the price of labor even as Demand increases, thus reducing salaries and wages to the lowest common denominator. We see that in practice as manufacturing first moved to Mexico in the 90's when NAFTA was signed, then moved on to southeast Asia and China for even lower labor rates there, leaving destruction in its wake. Thoughts? Am I wrong on my assumptions?

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 11:48 AM  

Take Wal Mart as an example. To those economic thinkers, it's a wonder. Goods at an amazingly low price! Decent quality! Massive selection! We're rich.

Meanwhile, any sentient human being who visits one or has the misfortune to live in a town/city whose local market Wal Mart dominates recognizes that a wide selection of flavored iced teas is hardly a substitute for, you know, an actually functioning polity.


And yet without Wal-Mart the standard of living for the lower half of society would be massively reduced.

Blogger MATT April 06, 2016 11:49 AM  

What transpired between you and Sowell? I don't remember you blogging about it.

Anonymous Engineer April 06, 2016 11:49 AM  

Oddly enough, Krugman points out nearly all of the pieces of Vox' argument here, but may not have noticed a particular direction of causality that Vox mentions. Krugman has noticed the very high structural unemployment rates (close to 50 percent for young people in many places) in much of Europe, and noticed that America only has such high structural unemployment rates in inner cities. He has concluded that the key reason for the difference in structural unemployment rates is that Americans can, and do, resettle in different parts of the country. He has also pointed out that the common language, common money, and common legal structure (within the U.S.) made it easier for Americans to move, than for Europeans to move (within Europe before the advent of the Euro).

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 11:50 AM  

And yet without Wal-Mart the standard of living for the lower half of society would be massively reduced.

You can more accurately say that Wal-Mart massively reduced the standard of living in every community it entered. It all depends upon what your standard is. Cheaper t-shirts don't make up for not having a job, or a viable Main Street.

OpenID luciussomesuch April 06, 2016 11:51 AM  

Anecdote isn't the singular of statistics: but twice in recent years, I've bought a pack of General Electric (made in Hungary!) lightbulbs for the bathroom (the over-the-mirror size), only to have each and every single one (I only use one at a time since one is quite enough light in there for me) blow out each and every successive morning I go in and turn on the light. Yes, even switching around which socket they go into (I leave dead ones in the others).

But the Sylvania ones work fine.

Mind you, if shipping absolutely useless light bulbs across the seas is the price Hungary has to pay for keeping its freedom, so be it. Viva free and Hungarian Hungary!

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 11:52 AM  

What transpired between you and Sowell? I don't remember you blogging about it.

It was petty. He wrote a column defending Malkin and made an argument based on an error with regards to Pearl Harbor. I pointed out the error. He waved them off and claimed they didn't matter; basically he was just white-knighting for Malkin.

Blogger Nate April 06, 2016 11:53 AM  

I really loath gary north.. but at least he's consistent on this. He would at least look at your dilemma and say "no nations? yes. and?"

Blogger Copperheaded April 06, 2016 11:54 AM  

VD wrote:

You can more accurately say that Wal-Mart massively reduced the standard of living in every community it entered. It all depends upon what your standard is. Cheaper t-shirts don't make up for not having a job, or a viable Main Street.


I moved out of the city I was living in because I heard they were putting in a Wal-Mart.

Blogger Chris Ritchie April 06, 2016 11:55 AM  

And yet without Wal-Mart the standard of living for the lower half of society would be massively reduced.

Yes, but at what cost to the people who produced those low priced goods for Wal-Mart? Their standard of living is necessarily at poverty subsistence level in order to produce goods at such low prices. Is that a good thing? Not in my opinion. But I don't want to bow to Socialism either with mandated minimum wages. I haven't read all of Fletcher yet. I don't know the best answer.

I think somehow we have to link buying choices to moral choices. But the Libertarian view states we're not responsible for understanding the entire supply chain. It's not a moral choice in their eyes. But then again, some of the Mises views come from atheists like Murray Rothbard. Should we as Christians really be taking our cues from atheists?

Again, I don't know the right answer, but it seems like the Libertarian view is the following:
"It doesn't matter that you get that carton of 50% cigarettes from the Mob. Don't be concerned that they stole it. The only thing you care about is that they are the lowest price cigarettes around." We're not responsible to know how they got that low price?

Anonymous RedJack April 06, 2016 11:55 AM  

@23

But is that because of Walmart, or has the standard of living been going down because of the situation that allows a Walmart (or Amazon) to exist?

A friend of mine worked at Walmart part time for a while when he was in school. He said most of the workers were on some form of public assistance. So Walmart's (and others) employment costs are subsidized by the State.

The US doesn't make much anymore, and what is being made is in the hands of fewer and fewer people. The promised "service" economy is proving to be just what the old timers called, a parasite on production (you don't need financial services if you are not making any capital). So what comes next? Crushing poverty? A socialist revolution? Tariffs?

Sadly, I don't see anyway out of the box we are in without massive pain. So learn to garden, and live where the food is. The new nobility might take pity on you and let you become a serf.

Blogger RobertT April 06, 2016 11:57 AM  

1/2 RS

Assumptions kill. But everyone makes assumptions. 'The earth is round.' 'Free trade is good. It's impossible to research everything. So people inadvertently build careers, tax strategies, all kinds of things, on flawed assumptions. Sometimes it just leads to some awkward moments, but other times it leads to catastrophe. One of the things that scares the establishment about Trump is he's challenging assumptions they built their careers on. I don't know Tom Woods from the man in the moon, but that is probably his problem. He may be starting to get an inkling his career is built on a house of cards. So if you're bringing the truth, he'll throw anything at it.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 11:59 AM  

You can more accurately say that Wal-Mart massively reduced the standard of living in every community it entered. It all depends upon what your standard is. Cheaper t-shirts don't make up for not having a job, or a viable Main Street.

Let me rephrase. Like the post 1980 credit expansion, Wal-Mart has papered over the economic decline of the lower half. Absent cheap overseas goods and low margins, people would currently have far less stuff.

Blogger justaguy April 06, 2016 12:01 PM  

Would VD recommend a good book or discourse spelling out the "VOX DAY: Very well. Now look at US labor mobility rates." point. I tend to black box things to study them, and imports (ignoring tariffs) are an easy thing to black box. Either done domestically with X labor, y capital, z culture build-up to give A output opposed to X', y', z' and A' if imports. I'm after data and logical argument that show the next step-- too many job losses for lower socio-economic population so they must accept lower lifestyles.

As I understand it, the free trade sides that jobs will be found for the low education capital population that along with lower prices make up for the job losses. The tariff side says ?

The real key is whether a nation can stand astride the world and say stop to some trade without suffering enormous consequences. I don't see where anyone has actually done a decent job with the data or logic.

Thanks,

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 12:02 PM  

But I don't want to bow to Socialism either with mandated minimum wages. I haven't read all of Fletcher yet. I don't know the best answer.

That is the unfortunate flip side of the anti free trade position.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 12:02 PM  

I really loath gary north.. but at least he's consistent on this. He would at least look at your dilemma and say "no nations? yes. and?"

I give him credit for that. Even though, as others have pointed out, he only believes that part of the time.

Like the post 1980 credit expansion, Wal-Mart has papered over the economic decline of the lower half. Absent cheap overseas goods and low margins, people would currently have far less stuff.

Well done. I concur.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 12:03 PM  

But then again, some of the Mises views come from atheists like Murray Rothbard. Should we as Christians really be taking our cues from atheists?

Should we read and profit from someone like Aristotle?

Blogger frigger611 April 06, 2016 12:04 PM  

consequences of free trade from a labor mobility standpoint -

As a once avid reader of Bastiat, Rand, the Austrian and Chicago schools some ages ago, I was very much a champion of free trade as I (mistakenly) supposed it was essential for freedom and the American Way.

Steeped in too much soaring rhetoric, I was missing some basic logic-based building blocks.

And you have nailed it with "labor mobility." I can't pretend to have all the answers, still mulling through a lot, but any "economist" who so easily and casually dismisses this component, who refuses to look at it closely and seriously, is intellectually dishonest to say the least - and risks assuming the mantle of "hack" or "fraud" or worse, "Op-Ed Writer for the New York Times."

Blogger Michael Maier April 06, 2016 12:05 PM  

28. VD April 06, 2016 11:52 AM
What transpired between you and Sowell? I don't remember you blogging about it.

It was petty. He wrote a column defending Malkin and made an argument based on an error with regards to Pearl Harbor. I pointed out the error. He waved them off and claimed they didn't matter; basically he was just white-knighting for Malkin.


You mis-read Thomas Sowell, Vox. He wasn't white-knighting for Me-So, he was romanticizing WW2.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 12:05 PM  

Would VD recommend a good book or discourse spelling out the "VOX DAY: Very well. Now look at US labor mobility rates.

I can't. Because the argument is original to me. I put it on the blog here - click on Free Trade on the left sidebar - and I repeat it in Cuckservative. To a certain extent, this may be the 2SD communications gap we've discussed here at play, because I simply don't know how to make something so completely obvious to me any more easy to understand.

Anonymous DavidKathome April 06, 2016 12:05 PM  

To make sure I understand the labor mobility argument...

You are pointing out that people in the USA can freely move to the states in the USA where the jobs are...and that is what they do. That is certainly what I did, leaving Michigan when I was 21.

But what is great for the USA, is not possible or practical on a global level. Most people won't be able to migrate and live in a completely foreign culture. Do I have the main points correct?

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 12:07 PM  

I suppose I could write up a short ebook and call it "Labor Mobility and the Impossibility of Free Trade". Although I doubt anyone wants to pay $2.99 for 10-15 pages.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 12:07 PM  

Vox, do you have any older posts looking at increased labour mobility in Europe as a result of the EU and its predecessors?

Blogger Michael Maier April 06, 2016 12:07 PM  

Folks should have less stuff. WALMART sells junk that falls apart in a year and isn't repairable.

I would rather live in a world where "stuff" costs more and it's worth having.

Blogger White Devil April 06, 2016 12:07 PM  

I guess America or White People or Christians should just form a corporation.

Western Civilization Incorporated.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 12:10 PM  

Vox, do you have any older posts looking at increased labour mobility in Europe as a result of the EU and its predecessors?

One or two, yes. I think I compared the current European rate to the US rate; it was about one-third, if I recall correctly.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 12:10 PM  

I guess America or White People or Christians should just form a corporation.

Chick Fil A...perhaps you've heard of it?

Anonymous AP April 06, 2016 12:12 PM  

Josh is a globalist wtf does he know?

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 12:13 PM  

Interestingly, he discussed it last week and I commented that he should have you on.

Of course one way to end up at anarcholibertarianism is to have all the AnLibs shoot the statists as soon as they violate the NAP. Now it is not so important to me as to why someone doesn't violate the NAP - philosophical, religious 10 commandments, or just doesn't want to be shot, but you need a large consensus.

Many of Woods' works are behind paywalls. What would help free trade is to put all of them on a server somewhere they don't have our Statist IP enforcement if they believe in IP at all.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 12:15 PM  

Josh is a globalist wtf does he know?

I am?

Blogger Jourdan April 06, 2016 12:15 PM  

It's really on community issues--which Vox deftly labels Main Street above--that the Alt Right can find common cause with a decent portion of the Left.

Or, in other words, if the Jacksonians ever figure out how to enter into an alliance with the Jeffersonians, the current Hamiltonian-Wilsonian hybrid monstrosity in power would be yesterday's news faster than you can say "hey, where's the nearest lamppost?"

Anonymous ZhukovG April 06, 2016 12:15 PM  

Walmart and EBT; the opiate of the masses.

Blogger Salt April 06, 2016 12:15 PM  

VD wrote:because I simply don't know how to make something so completely obvious to me any more easy to understand.

Hire the person, then fire them the next day because 30 immigrants applied willing to take far less in wages.

Anonymous AP April 06, 2016 12:17 PM  

"I am?"

You support Cruz.

Anonymous 11B April 06, 2016 12:17 PM  

I've been following this debate for a few years. I've argued on blogs that free trade leads to what we have among the US states which includes the free movement of labor. At the time I was rebuked by free traders who lectured me that the United States, and even the EU, are examples of 'common markets' and are not examples of the free trade they push. They argued that the free mobility of labor was only included in a common market, and that free trade arrangements were not common markets and did not necessitate the free movement of labor.

I obviously disagreed with them. But it is interesting that I no longer see free traders making that distinction anymore between free trade arrangements like NAFTA and common markets like the US states or the EU.

Blogger frigger611 April 06, 2016 12:18 PM  

Absent cheap overseas goods and low margins, people would currently have far less stuff. - Josh

A few years back I moved to Los Angeles for a spell (was there for 2 years), and lived in a downtown high rise.

I had moved from my 4 bedroom house in northern Kentucky to a 1 bed, 1 bath apartment there (the rent was more than double my mortgage).

So I had to jettison A LOT of stuff.

And I found it quite refreshing, actually. (I'm back in Kentucky now, I live more simply. That move was a good exercise).

Yes, we have way too much junk. I would much rather invest my money in books and ebooks, like one for $2.99 that offers novel and original thinking regarding labor mobility.

Put me down for one.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 12:20 PM  

You support Cruz.

I don't, please cite or retract.

Blogger August April 06, 2016 12:20 PM  

I am a few years late, but I have certainly been dreaming of emigrating. Credentialism plus feminism and diversity combine to create one train wreck of a managerial class. I've got Ian Fletcher's book- trying to walk myself through your conversion to a non-free trade position. I notice I am too used to saying- "but this is not a free market."

Blogger frigger611 April 06, 2016 12:23 PM  

@53,

Salt, that's pure genius.

Blogger HardReturn¶ April 06, 2016 12:23 PM  

It's fun reading or listening to Woods, but the academicians can get in weeds with theory and too removed from actual flesh-and-blood people. Creative destruction is great when you benefit from the creative part, not so if you're on the destruction side. Folks on the destruction side can get nasty. Maybe they'll take their lumps like good sports, maybe they won't and go total berserker. Depends on how much destruction and whose ox is being gored. People and cultures aren't as fungible as some of the Austrians believe.

Blogger RobertT April 06, 2016 12:25 PM  

Free trade kills.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 12:25 PM  

@41 - It is not so much the 2SD gap as it is the "true believer" nature of anarcholibertarianism or even Objectivism.
"Free Trade", or more properly comparative advantage is a dogma. It only exists in the tautological contrived examples. Note even those examples admit of no innovation, invention, or mobility (The surgeon doesn't need to have the lesser man wash his instruments, he can buy a machine, or send them out, so no one is employed).

I think you should see if Molyneux would be interested in discussing the topic.

You will have a very different culture when there is a community where people can depend on things.

Here is where time preference destroys the economy.

If you can get a secure job in your 20's and retire with a pension, your time preference involves grandchildren and great grandchildren and women can be wives and mothers.

If you have to switch jobs and skills every 5 years from uncontrolled and unmitigated forces of "creative destruction", you are just above the illegal immigrant hordes in time preference. You can't afford a 30 or 10 year mortgage if you are going to worry about moving next year to find a new job. You won't invest in a startup which might be bankrupt in 180 days. Or even a bank if it won't be bailed out.

So the very creative destruction and free market they are advocating is causing time preference to contract at least an order or magnitude.

Time preference is even more a practical reaction to external conditions than something innate or philosophical.

Whether the barbarians that come and burn down your capital/labor are Vikings or Visigoths, or Shumpeterians, it doesn't matter. You don't save what you expect to be stolen or destroyed.

Anonymous PVB April 06, 2016 12:28 PM  

I was going to suggest Vox's next book be on Free Trade, then it was covered in Cuckservative. Perhaps offer that chapter as a free PDF download? It's a lot easier to promote a book if there is some bait like with SJWAL.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 06, 2016 12:29 PM  

But is that because of Walmart, or has the standard of living been going down because of the situation that allows a Walmart (or Amazon) to exist?

Amazon and Walmart are entirely different beasts and not at all equally bad for a community. Walmart has limited shelf space and tries to maximize it's profit on each square foot by squeezing it's suppliers. Once it's run the other retailers out of town, it can exert leverage on its suppliers, forcing them to lower wholesale prices. This forces them to cut production costs, which eventually means outsourcing everything to crappy Chinese production.

Amazon has unlimited shelf space. They increase their profits by having more things for sale through their storefront and taking a percentage of total dollars spent rather than a per-item profit (they do that on some things, but increasingly their business is order fulfillment at a percentage). Amazon has no real incentive to pressure suppliers into lowering wholesale prices for physical goods (they did for e-books, but that was because the big publishers where trying to collude to protect stupid margins).

Walmart's strategy is to monopolize local shopping and capture a larger percentage of the local money spent - capturing it from the manufacturers, shifting money from people who make things to people who retail them. It's been terrible for the country.

Amazon's business model is to disrupt retailers, taking retail business away from Walmarts by lowering the cut the retailers get, offering a better deal to manufacturers. Amazon actually shifts money from the retail sector to the manufacturing sector. Walmart does the opposite.

As they are currently operating, Amazon is good for America and Walmart is bad for it.

Anonymous FriarBob April 06, 2016 12:30 PM  

The "initial" adjustment "period" is NOT a rising tide.

**If** the globalists were not merely the power-hungry whores they really are, then *after* the initial devastation of the first world economy the rising tide probably would come and probably would raise all ships... at least somewhat.

That would require integrity, though, and they obviously have none. It would require equal currency standards too, also not present. Thus it becomes merely a pipe dream for the deluded.

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 06, 2016 12:30 PM  

The movement of labor stumped him? Really?

I don't think this about a difference in SD. I believe it is about a difference in gigaparsecs. You two sure as hell aren't on the same planet.

Holy Moses, I'm borderline retarded and I grasped it instantly when it first came up. Woods may be be dumber than a bent nail.

Anonymous AP April 06, 2016 12:31 PM  

"I don't, please cite or retract."

Cruz snaking Trump delegates:

221. Except that GQ confirmed that Ted Cruz's campaign manager bought publishing rights for that photo.

Wrong.

Please cite or retract.

149. Well, you have to be high on Oxy or Crystal Meth to support Trump.

Or just high on MURICA FUCK YEAH


There is probably more. Over and over again you defended Cruz and took shots at Trump. You are a little disingenuous liar like Cruz.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 12:32 PM  

To continue to clarify - Time preference determines interest rates.
When the money and SOCIETY was sound, 2-3% was plenty especially with technological deflation.
When the money is fraudulent scrip, and society won't let you keep it (whether through state or street crime), loan sharks can't find investors.

So here is the question - Most economists would say low interest rates are a good thing, a good sign of saving and investing in capital so entrepreneurs are improving everything technologically by allowing ever higher factors of production. But they say the free market "creative destruction" is also a good thing which must lower time preferences and cause much higher interest rates because people will have to draw down their savings (or put it in the mattress instead of a bank to loan out).

Which is better to have, or at what point is the optimum?

Blogger Sir Thermite April 06, 2016 12:34 PM  

I'd pay $2.99 for such an ebook. I'd also buy a 2nd copy to a send to a former Econ professor I know who's worked for Northwood and FEE, who originally convinced me of the importance of free trade...

Anonymous AP April 06, 2016 12:35 PM  

140.This while Trump was on the DREAMer train. Who knows where he is on that one now.

Is the #TrumpTrain fine?

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 12:36 PM  

There is probably more. Over and over again you defended Cruz and took shots at Trump. You are a little disingenuous liar like Cruz.

Neither of those are examples of me supporting Cruz.

Anonymous #8601 Jean Valjean April 06, 2016 12:38 PM  

VD, if you turn your free trade chapter into a "paper" and upload it to the SSRN network, it might get some traction. Depending on the number of downloads, you could become a top author or top economist.

Not that you care.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 12:41 PM  

Another problem is a variant of the maker-taker problem.
It is hard to innovate.
It is easy to clone a new innovation.
So people in the USA come up with something after a lot of development, and in the 1980's Japan would steal it (TVs, video recording), and now China does.
Same with the real drugs (not those with TV ads directed at the AARP Medicare part D crowd).
Even Samsung has a few innovations, but copies Apple and depends on Google/Android.
Much of the Automotive industry innovations come from here or Europe.

If there are no legal or cultural blocks to this (or conversely, R&D subsidies), innovation will slow or stop. While I won't get into the philosophical or moral arguments for or against intellectual property, the economic argument is there will be more of it when it is property and not a public good.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 12:42 PM  

Walmart's strategy is to monopolize local shopping and capture a larger percentage of the local money spent - capturing it from the manufacturers, shifting money from people who make things to people who retail them. It's been terrible for the country.

Amazon's business model is to disrupt retailers, taking retail business away from Walmarts by lowering the cut the retailers get, offering a better deal to manufacturers. Amazon actually shifts money from the retail sector to the manufacturing sector. Walmart does the opposite.

As they are currently operating, Amazon is good for America and Walmart is bad for it.


They're both disruptive to retailers. Amazon is just the next gen Wal-Mart.

Anonymous AP April 06, 2016 12:42 PM  

"Neither of those are examples of me supporting Cruz."

Double down like an SJW.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 12:44 PM  

Twitter sized rebuttal to TW:
If there is no legal or physical barriers to goods, labor, or capital, what then is a nation which has no border?

Anonymous Roundtine April 06, 2016 12:45 PM  

You can have a nation, but you will not have territorial integrity. If you want your nation to all live in geographic proximity, you must either restrict trade or target industries which give an absolute competitive advantage. In which case, you're not going to have a large nation like the United States, but you could definitely have a small nation like Switzerland or maybe even as large one such Germany if there is a lot of unity on economic policy. Press the libertarians on whether people have the right to even form into economic groups in order to outcompete their neighbors, then you will reveal what they really think about nations, sovereignty, and "rights."

Blogger Zen Trader April 06, 2016 12:45 PM  

VD wrote:I'd be happy to discuss free trade with him, but I'd prefer it if he did his homework first.

A good point about labor mobility. Another is that free trade is more suited for intra-national trade than it is for international, as everybody has a similar environment and the same rules to play by. The less friction there, the better.

The problem with applying free trade to international trade is that nobody has the same rules, and even considering that, they cheat. Also, what we have now isn't free trade anyway - with free trade you wouldn't really need agreements that set out terms. Trump is right in pointing out that what we have is poorly negotiated trade, at least from a national perspective.

Anonymous roversaurus April 06, 2016 12:45 PM  

Just because you want to restrict the free flow of people to protect the nation state doesn't mean that restricting the free flow of goods will improve the economy.
If it were physically impossible for people to relocate from one nation to another, the trade of goods would still improve the lot of those who participate in the trade.

If for some reason you restrict the free flow of pencils between nations that doesn't mean the free flow of automobiles must be restricted.

All you have logically demonstrated is that complete free trade means that people can actually relocate and the example of the several states indicates that they would relocate. So? If you don't want people to relocate prohibit relocation, but don't tell me that because we prohibit relocation we must prohibit all other trade.

Restricting the free trade of one product means that you will arrive at a less optimal economic situation. That doesn't mean you therefore must restrict all of the other products.

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 06, 2016 12:48 PM  

Let me try to "simplify" it:

Brawndo's got what plants crave. Plants are outside. Someone gots to go outside to pour the Brawmdo on the plants.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 06, 2016 12:52 PM  

But they say the free market "creative destruction" is also a good thing which must lower time preferences...

Creative destruction does not automatically lower time preferences. You were closer to the mark when you said funny money lowers time preferences. So does powerful, unaccountable and unpredictable authority (i.e. government regulators, or Wall Street banksters).

In fact, I would say the biggest problem we have with short time preferences today comes from not having enough creative destruction in the government and finance sectors.

But the subject you raise is very interesting. I'd love to dig into it deeper.

Blogger Russell Widhalm April 06, 2016 12:56 PM  

Austrians, especially the Mises.org guys, don't seem to grasp two things:

1. Free Trade is bad for nations
2. Corporations are a creation of the state

I lost considerable respect for Tom Woods when he linked an article on Twitter that praised corporations because they receive tax benefits from the government, and that is good because LOW PRICES! When I pointed out the fact that corporations are creations of the state, and thus Tom was contradicting his belief that state intervention into the market is bad, I was pooh-poohed and told that I lacked reading comprehension.

Modern Austrians tend to navel-gaze just as much as economists of other schools of economics. This is a pity, because now is the perfect time for them to go on the attack. I guess they prefer to sit back and do nothing like Hayek did in the 1930s.

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 06, 2016 12:56 PM  

Here's your e-book:

"Free trade levels all prices throughout the market. That's why a cashier in Miami gets paid about the same amount as a cashier in Portland. Even if free trade increases the overall amount of global economic growth, in doing so, it necessarily reduces wages and standards of living in the wealthier nations to bring them more in line with the wages and standards of living in the poorest nations."

Either that, or buy Cuckservative. The whole megacomplex of the comprehensive flaw is all there.

In one chapter.

Blogger Shimshon April 06, 2016 12:56 PM  

I had a very tedious exchange with one Randy Rosales at Wenzel's blog about a month ago (post).

I mentioned Chapter 7 of Cuckservative, provided a few key excerpts of it, and urged Bob (and Randy) to spend the few dollars to read the entire chapter. This was around the time Vox did his Reddit AMA and I even encouraged them to engage you directly if they were too cheap to buy the book.

Bob, unfortunately, didn't engage at all. He's not so different than Tom in this regard. Their belief in Free Trade is literally dogmatic, and they seem incapable of processing the arguments against it. Something I understand, having evolved considerably from that line of thought myself.

It is very frustrating, because people like Tom and Bob are otherwise good guys and on our side. Lew Rockwell seems to get it to some degree, given his posts on Trump and immigration.

I think I did a pretty good job of staying on message and sticking to the topic, even though debate is not my strong point.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 06, 2016 12:59 PM  

They're both disruptive to retailers. Amazon is just the next gen Wal-Mart.

You missed the fundamental difference in their business models. Amazon doesn't compete with manufacturers for the consumer dollar the same way Walmart does.

Blogger Russell Widhalm April 06, 2016 12:59 PM  

"VD, if you turn your free trade chapter into a "paper" and upload it to the SSRN network, it might get some traction. Depending on the number of downloads, you could become a top author or top economist.

Not that you care."

As Gary North has already stated, Vox isn't an economist because he doesn't have a PhD. (Of course, Dr. North's PhD is in history, not economics, but that doesn't matter to Gary).

Modern PhD economists really don't know much economics anyway.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 12:59 PM  

Perhaps offer that chapter as a free PDF download? It's a lot easier to promote a book if there is some bait like with SJWAL.

That's a good idea.

Depending on the number of downloads, you could become a top author or top economist. Not that you care.

I really don't. I don't even know how to write an "academic paper". As near as I can tell, write an introductory paragraph, throw in four pages of indecipherable mathematical equations, then make something up at the end that doesn't have any relation to anything that preceded it.

What it is supposed to prove, I never know.

Anonymous Cash April 06, 2016 12:59 PM  

@64

You are crazy if you think Amazon is the good guy while Wal-Mart is bad.

Amazon has done good things with the ebook world but they are far worse than Wal-Mart could ever dream of being. Wal-Mart may lower prices but they at least have to make a profit.

Amazon has never made a real profit. They are running whole industries out of business and now with 2 hour delivery they want to run whole cities out of business while claiming tax free status and getting state subsidies all while not making a profit.

Do you think Amazon is never going to try and raise prices? They lost 100,000,000 just trying to destroy everyone else who sold diapers?

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 1:00 PM  

Another clarification for the non-economists. Deposits to a non-fractional reserve bank or your mattress are not "savings" that can be used for investment. Only those at risk, even if minimal risk can be used, and the interest rate will be on a curve. If a factory takes 5 years, then you will need to attract 5 year certificates of deposit, not checking accounts.

This is why short time preference can be devastating and why where the effects of "creative destruction" end up happening matter.

Blogger Shimshon April 06, 2016 1:01 PM  

@42 Vox, you could simply excerpt (and perhaps embellish) Chapter 7 of Cuckservative.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 1:03 PM  

Just because you want to restrict the free flow of people to protect the nation state doesn't mean that restricting the free flow of goods will improve the economy.

Yes, it does, because the same logic that applies to the free flow of goods applies to the free flow of labor. Notice that as trade restrictions have decreased in the USA and EU, the restrictions on the movement of people have decreased as well.

You cannot restrict services and claim that you are practicing free trade.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 1:04 PM  

Restricting the free trade of one product means that you will arrive at a less optimal economic situation. That doesn't mean you therefore must restrict all of the other products.

Absolutely true. But it does mean that you have accepted the principle of restricting trade. Now we're just negotiating about where to draw the line.

Blogger unconventional nazi April 06, 2016 1:04 PM  

Not to derail the entire topic to Walmart but my observations from real life: when I was a kid growing up in a small town, we had a wide variety of local owned franchise stores (think Western Auto, Gibsons, etc.). We paid more for what we got but on the flip side, our small town had a nice functioning middle class. Then Walmart came. For the first 2-5 years they sold everything below cost and would warranty anything you brought in the door, receipt or not. The local businesses all closed up. After the local businesses all closed up, Walmart's prices went up to what they are everywhere else. Now 35 years later you drive through my old home town and the town square consists of government assistance offices, payday loans and cash for title. The only thing resembling a middle class is old retired people who don't have to make a living. Honestly, it sickens me every time I go back.

Blogger FALPhil April 06, 2016 1:05 PM  

@65
Yes I am not supposed to post but offering no view I simply ask. Since you now appear to advocate "nationality" and therefore the accompanying apparatus necessary to enforce trade restrictions may we take it that you now would accept third-party restrictions on your personal economic interests in pursuit of national interest defined by others and not necessarily corresponding to your own?

I think you are missing the point, which is, the existence of nation is diametrically opposed to the existence of free trade.

In an age where technology has the capability providing for direct democracy, let the people decide. If they want free trade, they need to be prepared for the consequences due to the upheaval it will cause. But, in order to make the decision, they need to have the information about the upheaval that it will cause. If, conversely, they want nation, they need to understand the economic ramifications in terms of costs that will result. But, in order to make the decision, they need to have the information about the costs that maintaining the nation.

Those that don't like the decision can legally emigrate to a nation more suited to their liking that will take them.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 1:06 PM  

As Gary North has already stated, Vox isn't an economist because he doesn't have a PhD. (Of course, Dr. North's PhD is in history, not economics, but that doesn't matter to Gary).

Hell, Vox doesn't regret not having a PhD. Vox regrets having a BS/BA. One of the biggest mistakes of my life was finishing college.

Blogger unconventional nazi April 06, 2016 1:06 PM  

Honestly, I don't understand how supposedly smart people cannot grasp this labor factor. I don't consider myself exceptionally smart and it's as plain as day to me.

OpenID sigsawyer April 06, 2016 1:06 PM  

His snap at "the sociopaths that oppress us" is telling.

Ask him which is more likely, that he'll have his personal freedoms revoked by official corruption, or private crime?

It's not some evil secret police that have instituted a de-facto curfew and no-go zones on our inner cities.

Those exist because of idiots like him tying the police's hands on the methods they need to combat rampant crime, idiots like him opening the borders to drug dealers and gangsters, and idiots like him giving american business carte blanche to outsource labor.

(Before someone starts in about feral blacks and genetic determinism, there were peaceful, productive black districts in every big American city before the 60's. Sure, being 5-10 generations away from hunter-gatherers makes them more likely to revert to savagery when society starts to fail, but history proves that they can be ruled)

The Mises school of economics is descriptive, not prescriptive. It's the optimal state for a healthy economy in a peaceful nation under the rule of law. It has no way to save an ailing country spiralling toward demographic collapse.

No trade restrictions= no nation. Dissolving a country's borders is to dissolve its national identity and political power. He understands that perfectly well; see his 'sociopaths that oppress us' line. He doesn't want nations, he is opposed to the idea of them. It's leftism all the way down.

As an aside, ancaps should go shoot themselves. The property rights and contract law that are necessary for corporations to survive and business to thrive require a sovereign power with the ability to enforce property rights and contract law.

Blogger FALPhil April 06, 2016 1:08 PM  

@86
Modern PhD economists really don't know much economics anyway.

My gran'ma always told me that "PhD" stood for "piled high and deep".

Blogger praetorian April 06, 2016 1:09 PM  

"Absent cheap overseas goods and low margins, *landfills* would currently have far less stuff."

Fixed it for you, Josh.

Anonymous Tenured Ivory Tower April 06, 2016 1:09 PM  

Now, now, Vox, you just don't understand Free Trade. You need to read some David Ricardo. The Porguese winemakers would never be endangered by the English winemakers, because you can't just pick up grapevines and move them about, for example. It's obvious, my boy, obvious. MIght as well fret about Portuguese Science Fiction authors taking over that industry. Can't happen, America has too much of a comparative advantage, what with solid publishing houses and writers and so forth.

No, no, Vox, your boat has gone off the rails. You've missed the train. Besides, the point of Free Trade is to make Free Traders richer, and you can't fail to note how well that has worked out, can you?

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 1:11 PM  

@87 What it is supposed to prove, I never know. That you can baffle. The problem is most aren't intentional hoaxes.

@81 Maybe it would be fairer to say it increases the interest rate required - the less safe an investment is for any reason - creative destruction, or opening the borders to remote competition - increases the risk premium.

But my point is also to the pool of capital available for investment in a true free market. The more stable the country, state, city, i.e. the longer you can expect you can live without disruption, the longer your time preference. When you introduce economic chaos so that your situation isn't stable, if you're rational your operational time preference will only be as long as you expect to be able to stay in that situation.

The government hacking the financial system to produce wildly wrong economic indicators is no different than socialism - price transmits information including interest rates.

There was a reason real interest rates were low under a sound currency and stable society.

My point is even good innovation destabilizes society and increases interest rates. There is probably a free market equilibrium between the too - extra innovation disrupts lives (the buggy whip makers aren't going to afford cars if they are unemployed) - that disruption lowers the investment-savings.

Try convincing an illegal immigrant to invest his money in a 10 year CD here. What interest rate if any?

Anonymous A Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents April 06, 2016 1:12 PM  

Crowhill
The more smart people I meet, the more I realize that ... people really aren't all that smart.

Or they are smart about one thing, and only one thing, total dunderheads about pretty much everything else.

Blogger Avraham April 06, 2016 1:13 PM  

I saw a good critique of economics by an economics professor at MIT. It was an essay about the limits of computer modeling but had a devastating critique of macroeconomics in the essay. Mainly the idea was,- anything they predict comes out wrong; so it is not a science.

Blogger slarrow April 06, 2016 1:16 PM  

For those asking for earlier posts on this topic, I think this one was pretty good:

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-illusion-of-knowledge.html

But my argument against free trade does not rest on David Ricardo's intellectual corpse. It is not even, strictly speaking, economic in nature. This is the four-step Vox Day Argument Against Free Trade.

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. (The "invisible judicial line" doesn't magically become visible simply 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 nationals.
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.

Anonymous paradox April 06, 2016 1:25 PM  

Michael Maier

Folks should have less stuff. WALMART sells junk that falls apart in a year and isn't repairable.


Said another way, has WalMart's sub-par goods really saved the low income segment money? Yes, one might have more stuff. However, if one good doesn't work, and the same good has to be repurchased, I've wasted money. Should have bought the higher quality more expensive good first.

Anonymous Remembering Days Past April 06, 2016 1:34 PM  

Dr. Gary North, PhD in History

Which gave him such credibility in the run up to Y2K.

Surprised he ever came out of his bunker.

Blogger dc.sunsets April 06, 2016 1:35 PM  

Where I was wrong as a "free trader" was that I did not grasp that social cohesion (possible only in the near-absence of cross-border population flows) is a public good with very significant economic value.

While economic value is subjective, it is nonetheless quite real. Today we see social cohesion completely discarded on the altar of "equality"...and the result is the same as completely discarding clean drinking water and the means to provide it.

Watch as the value of this increasingly scarce good ramps ever higher, and the price people are willing to pay for it approaches an important threshold.

This is just another illustration of philosophical libertarianism's Utopian nature. As with socialism, it ends up ignoring laws of human nature that are outside the economic sphere of behavior yet utterly inviolate.

Blogger Chris Ritchie April 06, 2016 1:36 PM  

When I pointed out the fact that corporations are creations of the state, and thus Tom was contradicting his belief that state intervention into the market is bad, I was pooh-poohed and told that I lacked reading comprehension.

That's the one solution I've hit upon. I read recently that Walgreens wanted to move their corporate HQ to Europe for the lower taxes (how that's possible, I don't know). So the Secretaries of State for each state should then just reject Walgreens' charters to conduct business in their state. Would change the tune of the corporations quickly.

Being a creation of the state, the corporation owes a duty to the communities where they are located. That's the purpose of the charter. The ability to do business is granted by "the people" through the representative government of that state. When it's obvious they no longer fulfill that role, like a Wal-Mart, we should reject the charter, as some localities have done exactly that by refusing a Wal-Mart in their cities.

It's a pipe dream I know, but philosophically, it makes sense to me. Thoughts?

Blogger praetorian April 06, 2016 1:37 PM  

Said another way, has WalMart's sub-par goods really saved the low income segment money

Yes. Junk from Walmart looks good in the GDP stats because you have to buy a new widget every summer since the last one broke/dissolved. Meanwhile, your family hasn't built any capital by acquiring heirloom quality goods. The ability to build high quality goods has been removed from your community. And, finally, your dump is filling up with the broken pile of plastic shit that the modern economy has turned your labor into.

Blogger dc.sunsets April 06, 2016 1:41 PM  

Absolutely true. But it does mean that you have accepted the principle of restricting trade. Now we're just negotiating about where to draw the line.

There's the rub. Everyone seems to want a one-size-fits-all-forever system for objectively placing that line.

Never going to happen. Life is far too dynamic. All I know is that the way this line was set these past 50 years has outlived its usefulness. I can't say what comes next will be net better or worse. It will be different, that's all.

My favorite is when someone suggests they can square the circle of human nature, that is, they can have a system administered by people that lacks the innate weaknesses of individuals.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 06, 2016 1:45 PM  

Josh wrote:Neither of those are examples of me supporting Cruz.

Josh, Josh,
Trump train or Cruz Bot. No-one is allowed to stand to on side drinking out of a paper bag and making rude gestures at the rubes.
N
O
T

A
L
L
O
W
E
D

Blogger dc.sunsets April 06, 2016 1:51 PM  

Walmart's existence was simply part of the system that allowed the current Narrative to last as long as it did.

We experienced utterly vast credit inflation, but due to plummeting real prices of essentials, it didn't show up in nominal prices for food, clothing and shelter the way a stable-money, stable manufacturing system would have revealed.

This is doubly true when you add all the regulatory costs of a vast bureaucracy (e.g., from the EPA, OSHA, DOT, HUD, etc.) and medical mandates (e.g., state-level insurance mandates) and rising tax burden. Had cheap crap from overseas not hidden these costs, a third of Americans would have been barely able to afford their clothes, much less "eating out" (at JunkFoodR-US.)

Wait until the flow of T-bills out and junk from overseas in ceases and the real cost of domestic products is revealed.

This should occur simultaneously with the largest credit collapse in recorded history, meaning that access to money should collapse even while the real price of goods skyrockets (nominal prices might actually decline.) Imagine watching gasoline fall to $0.50/gal and a pair of Levi's to Wallyworld specials yet still not be able to afford them.

It's an Rx for political revolution(s).

Blogger frigger611 April 06, 2016 1:55 PM  

I don't really care one way or another about computer architecture, whether one is PC or Mac.

I do find it particularly annoying that some Mac people have a quasi religious love for their machines and all things Apple. So when I point out how horrible it is that they support slavery and oppression of peasants they blanch.

But yeah. They work them so hard in China, like egg-laying chickens, that the workers sometimes prefer death over continuing to work (which is all their life has become).

After a number of suicides occurred with workers leaping off of the factory roofs, the factory managers installed nets around the factory to catch future unhappy cogs.

Now peasants cannot even hope for death as an escape. And Americans get to stay happy with Apple's prices. Ah, the gift of labor mobility.

Shiny.


Blogger Lew Rand April 06, 2016 1:57 PM  

@88: Walmart vs Amazon vs this whole discussion.

I see your fighting over who is the bigger meanie actually demonstrating probably the biggest problem. Both companies are doing their damnedest to lower prices by cutting out the supply chain. Walmart did it first with regional buying and pretty much being their own suppliers, then Amazon one upped them by creating direct to manufacturer buying, taking out even the regional supplier model. Both resulted in a lot of lost jobs that in a free market are determined to not be necessary.

The issue is that by removing all the buggy whip jobs, the need for actual human capitol to make and SUPPLY things keeps dropping at the same time the number of people are increasing. (Throw in an extra 20 years of life span and you have a ton of people who really don't have a purpose to sustaining society)

Now I don't have an answer for what to do with all these people. Constant retraining isn't gonna give the average person the skills to be needed to make bigger bucks.

I just hope useless executives start taking it in the shorts too. They seem to have dodged most of the pain that greed (and automation / effeciency) have wrought.

Blogger Austin Ballast April 06, 2016 1:58 PM  

I still need to read through all the comments, but I wanted to note that I have still not seen a post that demonstrates free trade requiring free movement of people.

I did recently get Ian Fletcher's book, so perhaps that has the case, but you should really do more to make that case in some post than just make it an underlying postulate VD.

Blogger Austin Ballast April 06, 2016 2:00 PM  

Now I don't have an answer for what to do with all these people. Constant retraining isn't gonna give the average person the skills to be needed to make bigger bucks.

Everyone doesn't have to make big bucks. Doing so would make them no longer big bucks.

Finding productive uses for people's efforts would be a better approach, but that would requiring a serious rethink of the modern "take all I can and only give what I must" mindset.

It would require some form of spiritual revival to realize life is more than just the individual or tiny family unit.

Blogger Chris Ritchie April 06, 2016 2:07 PM  

Great comments here and I think a combination of the comments could be weaved together for a coherent essay. What is lacking is the quantitative proof and then a roadmap to the desired result that would round out a book.

Here are some summary thoughts that seem to make sense to me:

A nation defends its own culture and people group through the force of law. Human nature causes people to congregate around skin color, ancestry, or shared religious views. The Leftists see that as "racist."

Defending the exchange of goods is paramount to benefiting your own society.

How is it accomplished? Through force.

This leads back to how that force is meted out. In a brutal society, it is force on an unwilling populace. In a "just" society, it's based on a shared understanding of property rights and contract law. And that last statement makes it a moral decision. It's not secular.

Thus, I would argue that a just and free society cannot exist upon a foundation of just the non-aggression principle. You need some other law. As far as the U.S. and Europe have abandoned the Christian underpinnings of our contract and property rights laws, we see the destruction of our local and state economies. Money flows away from the "flyover" regions to the coasts.

Another poster said it very well. Social cohesion is itself a valued commodity. Look at white flight from the inner cities. People pay dearly in terms of subjecting themselves to the shackles of two-income families in order to afford living in the "best" areas away from crime-ridden inner cities (minorities) or even crime-ridden eastern Kentucky and West Virginia (poor whites). It's not skin color, but culture and religious based. Where rule of law is abandoned, crime results. Mexico is another shining example.

We see the same thing in China. They have a brutal form of force. Executives from Mattel were found culpable for lead in the plastic toys. It caused the Chinese government to lose face. So a few executives were executed as an example to others. Yet in the U.S. Corzine and Paulson and others are still walking around free without so much as a probation notice.

This probably isn't a coherent philosophy, but I think it is a start towards justifying a civil and peaceable rule of law being required for a prosperous people. You see it in Switzerland and in the U.S. in the past. Also in Israel? (not sure I can justify that though). What do they have in common? Homogeneous races and religious views. They don't have the multi-cultural populations many other Western countries have now.

Blogger Lew Rand April 06, 2016 2:08 PM  

Yeah I have pondered the need for an evolution in the human mindset now that we are in many ways close to a utopia.

Used to be dusk to dawn to live out a meager existence. Now live better than kings of old after an hour or 2 of work, and what do humans do with all the idle time they have with God lost most of them?

Caveat: I am an agnostic, believing in a spirit and energy I cannot explain. There is much I cannot know or explain and cannot believe that there is definitely nothing out there

I am also probably too emphatic, and believe in serving others is the highest duty. Though I'm getting to the point of serving SJWs after baking at 400 degrees for a few hours is looking like a better path to an ideal world.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 06, 2016 2:09 PM  

Chris Ritchie wrote:I read recently that Walgreens wanted to move their corporate HQ to Europe for the lower taxes (how that's possible, I don't know).

1) set up or buy a holding company in EU
2) loan EU holding company several billion Euros
3) Holding company buys Walgreens

Blogger Blunt Force April 06, 2016 2:09 PM  

RedJack- A friend of mine worked at Walmart part time for a while when he was in school. He said most of the workers were on some form of public assistance. So Walmart's (and others) employment costs are subsidized by the State.

The entire Free Trade scam is heavily subsidized by the very taxpayers victimized by off shoring. Does cheap goods recover the taxpayers cost of heavily subsidizing ever major corporation in the US?

http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/subsidy-tracker

Report: Walmart State and Local Tax Avoidance Exceeds $400 Million Annually
tp://www.goodjobsfirst.org/report-walmart-state-and-local-tax-avoidance-exceeds-400-million-annually

OpenID mojavedesertresistance April 06, 2016 2:13 PM  

You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it! Is that clear?! Do you think you’ve merely stopped a business deal? That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds.

There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and You Will Atone! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?

You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy.

There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state – Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale.

The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale; it has been since man crawled out of the slime. Our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality – one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock – all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.


What it all boils down to:

http://www.usdebtclock.org/money-history/money-timeline1100-1791.html

Anonymous dudemanhey April 06, 2016 2:13 PM  

@ 42 "I suppose I could write up a short ebook and call it "Labor Mobility and the Impossibility of Free Trade". Although I doubt anyone wants to pay $2.99 for 10-15 pages."

I agree it's simple enough to explain the concept - 10-15 pages.

But maybe to add text, & context to help the more moderately intelligent, you could find/list/expound upon some real life anecdotal examples and make a book out of it?

OpenID denektenorsk April 06, 2016 2:15 PM  

Another victory for Free Trade: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/04/06/steel-china-running-rings-around-uk-politicians/

The usual suspects are all up in arms that the evil right wing Tories won't do anything to help save working class Britons' jobs. When you point out that their hands are tied and maybe they should leave the EU if they want to waste tax payers money on failing industries the histrionics are quite amusing.

Anonymous BGKB April 06, 2016 2:15 PM  

And yet without Wal-Mart the standard of living for the lower half of society would be massively reduced.

How many stores/jobs shut down because Walmart sells stuff designed to break in a year, that is not worth repairing? Wal mart will run an ad for something that doesn't exist in their store and their low price guarantee is mainly for model numbers that only wall mart sells.

Deposits to a non-fractional reserve bank or your mattress are not "savings"

What about sticking precious metals under your mattress?

Ask him which is more likely, that he'll have his personal freedoms revoked by official corruption, or private crime?
It's not some evil secret police that have instituted a de-facto curfew and no-go zones on our inner cities.


I have always suspected that the "Stonewall riot" was more sedate than blacks at Chuck E Cheese.

requiring a serious rethink of the modern "take all I can and only give what I must" mindset.

When what you give ends up in the hands of black sows with more expensive smartphones than you, why would you want to give more? Seeing a line of white women at a food pantry was a wake up call about charities.

Blogger Chris Ritchie April 06, 2016 2:18 PM  

One more thought to echo dc.sunsets. The lack of accountability for the ruling class is a recipe for political revolution. And I'm sure others have seen the same graphs I have where the disparity of haves to have-nots is worse that it ever was in American history. And the American corporations are worse than any corporations in the entire world in terms of ratio of executive pay to lowest tiered worker pay. Last I checked it was about 345 to 1.

And this is the destruction of the Middle class. There's the 1% rich and the 99% desperately poor. How long will that be allowed to last?

OpenID denektenorsk April 06, 2016 2:21 PM  

Chris Ritchie wrote:
I read recently that Walgreens wanted to move their corporate HQ to Europe for the lower taxes (how that's possible, I don't know).


1) set up or buy a holding company in EU
2) loan EU holding company several billion Euros
3) Holding company buys Walgreens


It's called a tax inversion. Ireland is the place of choice due to incredibly low corporate tax rates.

OpenID denektenorsk April 06, 2016 2:25 PM  

I don't really care one way or another about computer architecture, whether one is PC or Mac.

I do find it particularly annoying that some Mac people have a quasi religious love for their machines and all things Apple. So when I point out how horrible it is that they support slavery and oppression of peasants they blanch.

But yeah. They work them so hard in China, like egg-laying chickens, that the workers sometimes prefer death over continuing to work (which is all their life has become).

After a number of suicides occurred with workers leaping off of the factory roofs, the factory managers installed nets around the factory to catch future unhappy cogs.

Now peasants cannot even hope for death as an escape. And Americans get to stay happy with Apple's prices. Ah, the gift of labor mobility.

Shiny.


You are talking about Foxconn. They also made their employees sign contracts that make them promise to NOT commit suicide, backed up by removing any death benefits to the surviving family.

http://www.dailytech.com/Foxconn+Installs+AntiSuicide+Nets+at+Its+Facilities/article18877.htm

Blogger Chris Ritchie April 06, 2016 2:27 PM  

Did I just channel Wheeler? :-) All I'm saying is repeating Vox: Poland for the Polish, Israel, for the Jews, France for the French, etc. Where I'm stuck is "America for the __________"? WASPs? German-Scotch-Irish from the early 1800's in the South? French-Canadians in Louisiana? Dutch in the Mid-west? And what about the displaced "Native Americans?" This could go on and on....

Blogger frigger611 April 06, 2016 2:32 PM  

Thank you for the clarification and link, d.

What a brave new world. Employers helping employees reach their full potential. (If by potential you mean "work until you collapse")

Sickening.

OpenID denektenorsk April 06, 2016 2:37 PM  

"Absent cheap overseas goods and low margins, *landfills* would currently have far less stuff."

Fixed it for you, Josh.


Hear, hear. You want to "solve climate change"? Tariff cheap shit from China. Manufacturing would return state side. Quality products would be made again meaning less stuff is manufactured in the long run. The manufacturing would be regulated by a more transparent government. You wouldn't burn fossil fuels to ship stuff literally half way around the world and loose a non-trivial percentage overboard in rough seas. You won't have China lying about emissions out of one side of their mouth while asking for carbon subsidies out of the other side.

The downside? "We" don't get to replace our iPhones every 12-18 months. Oh no.

All of that hurts inflated GDP #s.

Blogger Blunt Force April 06, 2016 2:42 PM  

The Canadian government heavily subsidizes their timber industry which arrives here in the US as competition to local grown timber.The cost of local grown pine is higher, thus people buy the inferior Canadian Spruce import. The result is local timber growers lose sales. This is Free Trade. This is the level playing field we here so many Free Traders incessantly mooing about. Were it not for government subsidies the entire Free Trade edifice would come crashing down and the AnarchoLibs would be mewling on about how it just wasn't correctly implemented. Put me down for the 2.99 Labor Mobility and the Impossibility of Free Trade booklet.

Anonymous msl April 06, 2016 2:51 PM  

Thomas Woods is not an economist, but a philosopher/legalist/historian/ideologue.

He has no degree in economics. Perusing his work on Wikipedia and through your blog, none of his arguments rely on models or empirics that would be recognizable as "economics" as such to an economist.

The bigger question to me, as a regular reader of your blog, is why you would expect such arguments from him, especially after having such unprofitable exchanges with him in the past?

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 2:54 PM  

The bigger question to me, as a regular reader of your blog, is why you would expect such arguments from him, especially after having such unprofitable exchanges with him in the past?

The bigger question is why are you an idiot?

Anonymous Jack Amok April 06, 2016 3:02 PM  

Cash, did you read the sentence where I wrote "as they're currently operating"?

You're also ignoring the business model and the implications of limited vs unlimited shelf space. If you don't understand that difference, you don't understand what's going on.

OpenID denektenorsk April 06, 2016 3:03 PM  

The Canadian government heavily subsidizes their timber industry which arrives here in the US as competition to local grown timber.

In my part of the woods the provincial government charges absurdly low stumpage fees. That's the extent of our subsidies. Needless to say we are not entirely pleased about our publically owned forests being clear cut with nothing to show for it.

Can't speak to BC who were much more vocal about it. If memory serves Canada went to the NAFTA tribunal twice and "won" - only to settle outside the court to get any product flowing. That settlement expires this year.

On the flip side plenty of companies have sued various levels of Canadian government.

For example a forestry giant (based in Montreal!) sued the Newfoundland goverment under NAFTA when this situation arose:

- company made big promises about jobs, jobs, jobs
- goverment threw in way too much tax payers money they didn't have
- company folded the local operation when they didn't meet their targets (colour me surprised)
- provincial government seized the assets to recoup their losses (Danny had some balls on him, he did)
- US BRANCH (despite HQ being in Montreal) sues the government and wins a 500 million settlement for lost profits or some shit.
- Harper (our PM) at the time paid the tab and warned the premiers that if they got any ideas they'd pay the bill next time. In the interest of every day Canadians and all that.

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2010/02/25/AbitibiBowater-sues-Newfoundland-for-500M/98731267133606/

In other news the NS government is being sued by a US mining company because a permit was turned down. Another US company sued the Quebec government over a fracking ban. Other companies are suing over stuff in BC. The list goes on and on.

This is between (relatively) equal trade partners. Just wait until the TPP is passed and you open it up to the Chinese state run companies.

As I've said before, if you think US politicans are feckless you haven't met enough Canadian ones.

Blogger Ron April 06, 2016 3:04 PM  

Can someone recommend 4 books that would serve as a foundation to understanding the topic of this post?

Yes I get the idea, but assuming I finish through my current reading list, I'd like to know what would be good to go through next.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 3:08 PM  

Ask him which is more likely, that he'll have his personal freedoms revoked by official corruption, or private crime?

It's not some evil secret police that have instituted a de-facto curfew and no-go zones on our inner cities.

Those exist because of idiots like him tying the police's hands on the methods they need to combat rampant crime, idiots like him opening the borders to drug dealers and gangsters, and idiots like him giving american business carte blanche to outsource labor.


NWA was right.

Fuck the police.

Also, fuck the police fellators.

The police currently seize more property than private criminals, so yes, they are revoking more personal freedoms.

Anonymous Case April 06, 2016 3:15 PM  

It's impossible to engage in free trade with totalitarian government nations which practice wage/price controls and manipulate the value of their currency.

I can't see why that's so difficult for an esteemed economist to understand when it's perfectly evident to the average Joe Blow on the street.

Blogger VD April 06, 2016 3:17 PM  

But maybe to add text, & context to help the more moderately intelligent, you could find/list/expound upon some real life anecdotal examples and make a book out of it?

Of course I could. But I already have three books to write, so that's not happening.

Blogger justaguy April 06, 2016 3:19 PM  

#41 VD: Thank you. I’d like to read your pamphlet. I read everything you publish. As this idea goes against the mainstream thought, maybe a pamphlet is needed.

No 2SD problem, just an analytical engineer with lots of statistics background who is seeing a problem with too many changing main variables. Technology is a large job disruptor and is at play here. Just as tractors and machinery displace the majority of labor in the West for about ½ a century, computers, software, robots, expert systems, automation and advanced user interfaces, have displaced a large percentage of the labor force over an equal time frame. The differences are that now we have had social programs that trap those displaced into subservience for votes for socialism by Democrats.

Virtually unlimited immigration, free trade, and technology have almost destroyed the low-skilled labor portion of the population. While some have been able to find more training and find niches, low-paying service jobs are slowing becoming less remunerative and all that are available. “Fishtown” is devastated and ends up with a breakdown of society and dependent on government handouts, “Belmont” has less kids and adds classes to the few kids get the few high-skilled jobs that remain.

Now as one who thinks that a nation can separate the labor form the goods portions of free trade, I’m interested in seeing thoughts on both. I think that a nation can allow free trade in goods, but severely restrict incoming immigration to a small number of highly educated immigrants. I’m after something like the US did in the mid-20th century before Ted Kennedy and LBJ enacted the “we won’t change our ethnic make-up- trust us” 1965 Immigration/National Suicide Act. BTW, imho, this is why I think the Boomers couldn't change things once in power, they were outvoted by recent immigrants and their kids.

Most nations restrict trade in some areas for national security—to keep certain industries. Although I think we need to do more here as we rely on allied industries too much, I don’t see how restricting trade to all industries doesn’t hurt the nation as a whole. Reagan applied protective tariffs to select industries either for security or political reasons, but it was kept, not to a minimum, but not across all industries either. The large cost per job saved seems to imply that restricting trade across the board would be a huge cost, and as we aren’t totally nationally self-sufficient, those items we need from abroad would become more and more expensive.

So yes, I’d like to see an analysis that holds some of the major variables constant and analyzes free trade of goods. But I think the real issue is how to handle the displaced workers and their descendants. With socialism, the descendants remain untrained and more numerous than the original displaced. We basically are quasi-socialist now with the single mom-welfare family making more from the government in most states than a computer programmer. Add in unlimited immigration with their quick shift to the welfare rolls and voting and we get large social outlays, a huge voting bloc, and little increase in good paying full-time jobs.

VD, your thoughts are always appreciated.

BTW, introducing Walmart as a more efficient retailer (not as an importer of Chinese goods) in a black box way is the same as introducing tractors and farm equipment— same output for less inputs. So for those who want mom and pop shops over Walmart—you are fighting against progress/efficiency and being Luddites.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 3:24 PM  

Of course I could. But I already have three books to write, so that's not happening.

But with free trade you could outsource writing those to monkeys and increase your productivity!

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 3:25 PM  

@107 Good point, I think it extends mine, but it is not always sacrificed on the altar of equality - that is the left's temple. On the right it is efficiency and competition.

You see this with Walmart opening a mini-store for one year, all the mom and pops close down, then Walmart closes it so everyone has to now drive 30 miles.
Walmart made an economic error, but there was collateral damage, and not just the other stores.

@82 @108 - exactly: Corporations are undead creations of Dr. Frankenstate and are endowed by their creator with whichever rights he decides they should have.

Worse, Corporations are formed to shield liability, which violates any notion of the rule of law, NAP, justice or common sense. If tz shoots you, it's murder and I might be hung. If "tz, LLC" shoots you, well, you can only dissolve the corporation and seize assets, if any. Even if it was the same act involving intent or negligence. Maybe we can all form a LLC and have it hire someone to assassinate annoying anarcholibertarians.

@115 I own my labor, originally and philosophically it is my property. How can I trade my labor if I'm forced to stay on one side of an artificial line, especially if it is something like plumbing, carpentry, electrical which must be done on-site?

@116 agree on the revival, but having lower priced goods - deflation - is the equivalent of getting a raise. When I moved, my rent went down $1000/month.

@117 A nation defends its own culture and people group through the force of law. Or The Law and Legal System of a nation reflects its culture and people (e.g. English v.s. Roman). It is one of the most fundamental expressions of who they are. And each one will have consequences for the people - different levels of creativity, prosperity, tolerance.

A Just and Free society can exist based on the NAP only to the extent that the members of society will ruthlessly enforce it.
“When you are unwilling to defend your right to your own lives, then you are like mice trying to ‘negotiate’ with owls. You regard their ways as ‘wrong.’ They regard you as dinner.”
Basically you must be willing and able to YOURSELF shoot evildoers if you don't want a state or government to do it. Even if you can create a Galt's Gulch, you will need to insure anyone who comes in will adhere to the pledge, or be exiled or executed. This is the point in suggesting those who hate the state go to Somalia - it isn't empty and those there don't hold to the NAP even though there wasn't a "state" as such.

The obvious case is the problem with mice inviting owls in, but a sufficiently large horde of mice can and will kill the owls. The elite are going to find this out.

NOT peaceable in Israel. They are a secular, socialist, progressive government modeled after the parts of Europe they came from.

Anonymous Dave April 06, 2016 3:34 PM  

A good middle position is to let goods flow freely while restricting the flow of people, because goods can be easily discarded when they're no longer useful.

If we reversed the 1965 immigration law and repatriated all the third-worlders who entered the country since, there'd be plenty of jobs for all Americans. Australia has long had a $15 minimum wage with free trade and low unemployment, thanks to their strict immigration laws. Someone has to pick the crops.

You could say that ship has sailed, but then so has the free trade ship. No one is going to build EPA-OSHA-ADA-EEOC-compliant factories or banana greenhouses in America -- we'd pay the tariffs, trade and repair second-hand goods, get jobs as smugglers, and lobby Congress to re-open the trade routes.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 3:38 PM  

@120 David Cay Johnston's "Free Lunch" goes into detail about this - and his other books document corporate and elite abuse.

@124 What about sticking precious metals under your mattress? Still not invest-able. Buy a sustainable ranch farm that doesn't depend on a supply chain if you want to hold wealth and get a payment, as well as being able to eat if something blows up the system.
I have always suspected that the "Stonewall riot" was more sedate than blacks at Chuck E Cheese. Not merely sedate, but fabulous.

@132 It doesn't stop Woods from pontificating (he is Catholic) on Economics.

@139 Labor is enabled by Capital, and that must make a profit. When you allow free trade in goods, there is no point in Capital investment here for most things since as soon as your investment is seen to be successful, it will be cloned with a far smaller investment across the border where capital is subsidized and labor is cheaper. Separating them is to deny Labor any human dignity or difference. To an economist, if a mine train with a car of workers and a car of coal derails and is destroyed, both the workers and coal are treated as if they are the same KIND of thing. If you aren't intent on destroying labor, you must provide work for them to do. It would be like splitting trade in goods - We ban ALL imports of cars, but allow as much styrofoam packing peanuts in.

Blogger J Van Stry April 06, 2016 3:40 PM  

I would say that free trade works for a country only when it has unfettered capitalism. Because then it can at least attempt to out compete.
We do NOT have unfettered capitalism however, ours is quite heavily fettered, so for us, free trade isn't a very good idea.
At least IMHO.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 3:41 PM  

@142 - or we can fund pirate ships as we have the only blue water navy across the globe and let China, etc. pay us protection money and live a life of luxury (with something similar along the Mexican border). I'm sure the pirates wouldn't charge more than a few hundred for a new Prius (with the crew returned, but if they resisted, just sink the ship).

Anonymous Bob April 06, 2016 3:45 PM  

Is it perhaps as simple as a vocabulary clarification?

It appears to me that too many wish freely substitute the term 'free trade' with the term 'free enterprise'. They are not the same. When confronted, one should always ask for a clarification. Goalposts can move in a freindly debate, but the yardage should reflect the move each time. Break out the chain.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 3:46 PM  

@144 - the problem is what you really mean by "unfettered" is no law or regulations, even access to the courts for workers injured or killed, or for consumers that get unsafe products, and that can use pinkertons as a private eminent domain force.
In short, what china does so there can be no regulatory arbitrage in any form.

The rule of law, or laws themselves aren't things which ought to be subject to market forces. That is why I said the NAP would have to be enforced ruthlessly - you would have to execute the owner and the others responsible for a negligent homicide in a factory with unsafe conditions. I believe the law here still allows individuals or unofficial posses to hang cattle rustlers and horse thieves. But such hasn't happened for decades.

Blogger praetorian April 06, 2016 3:55 PM  

A good middle position is to let goods flow freely while restricting the flow of people, because goods can be easily discarded when they're no longer useful.

Nah, you have to retain productive capacity multipliers (manufacturing capacity) all the way down the IQ curve, to retain dignified productiveness for your entire... nation.

The only thing that should be relatively freely imported by the US are raw materials or finished goods that are difficult to impossible to produce domestically.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 3:59 PM  

It appears to me that too many wish freely substitute the term 'free trade' with the term 'free enterprise'.

A pickpocket is obviously a champion of private enterprise. But it would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that a pickpocket is a champion of private property. The point about Capitalism and Commercialism, as conducted of late, is that they have really preached the extension of business rather than the preservation of belongings; and have at best tried to disguise the pickpocket with some of the virtues of the pirate.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 4:01 PM  

@139 BTW, introducing Walmart as a more efficient retailer (not as an importer of Chinese goods) in a black box way is the same as introducing tractors and farm equipment— same output for less inputs. So for those who want mom and pop shops over Walmart—you are fighting against progress/efficiency and being Luddites.

Not quite. It generally takes the same labor and materials to make a T-Shirt whether it is made here, China, or Bangladesh. They don't have the laws protecting labor there, nor protecting property from pollution, and are highly subsidized.

Walmart almost always gets local tax-breaks, even often collecting a city's portion of sales tax and keeping it as a subsidy (Johnston: Free Lunch). They don't do that for the Mom and Pop stores and they don't negotiate. They will use eminent domain to get property then demand service expansion (water, sewer lines) for free.

There are certain places Wal-Marts naturally make economic sense without any subsidy. There are other place they don't even with the breaks, but that only is visible after they've killed the competition and then move out anyway having imposed costs on the locality from doing so.

It is not so much I prefer Mom-and-Pop shops, but I don't want them and the community to be victims of failed experiments in market economics. This is the kind of externality that when over-exploited leads to more regulation.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 4:03 PM  

@149 beating your Chesterton works.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 4:10 PM  

It also brings up my standard example.
I am with someone in front of a Wal-Mart and they say they like them because you can get a pack of T-shirts for $10. I say they can have it for $5. They say OK. I say wait 5 minutes, go into the Wal-Mart, and return and pull a pack of T-Shirts from under my jacket and ask them for $5. They say "But you shoplifted them! That's why you can sell them for $5! I want no part of that". I reply "you never asked how Wal-Mart can sell them for $10, but I assure you, far worse crimes have occurred so that you can get them for $10, and you didn't raise a single objection when we first discussed the matter".

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 4:15 PM  

There is also a big difference in having a reasonable number of well paying jobs for low skilled workers (blue collar), where there is a long continuity of employment and hiring unskilled illegal immigrants in hit-and-run employment.
They are popular in the meat packing industry, which is why I suggest they can be employed in the production of Mrs Lovett's Mexican Meals - Real Mexicans!, I mean Mexican, which would solve the problem eventually with only an gastronomical cost.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 4:24 PM  

Just because you want to restrict the free flow of people to protect the nation state doesn't mean that restricting the free flow of goods will improve the economy

How about un-restricting the free flow of C4, Semtex, Dynamite, AR-15s, AK47s, Guns of all kinds including machine guns...

Or even things the EPA regulates as toxic?

The ISIS refugees can then bring their toys with them, not just teddy bears and soccer balls.

That will improve the economy but might have other side-effects, however my more general point is it is immoral to use free trade as an excuse for all the evil regulations we impose on our own economies. Government breaks your leg - then it ought to give you a crutch. You would take away the crutch and without fixing the leg demand they race an athlete from China on Steroids and when he wins because without the crutch they can't even walk you call that "free trade and fair competition".

Blogger Chris Ritchie April 06, 2016 4:37 PM  

@152
I posed the same exact problem to both Gary North and Tom Woods. Their response was that we are not responsible for the morality of the retailer. It is the same as selling stolen cigarettes as represented in Goodfellas. What has happened is that instead of stealing them from our neighbor (the local truck driver) that we can see and materially affects us, the Wal-Mart's of our world are stealing it from Foxconn's workers and Burmese and Malaysian textile workers in the form of slave wages and poverty subsistence. We can't see it so we're not culpable, according to the Libertarian mindset.

This is nothing more than externalizing the costs to the other side of the world instead of the other side of the tracks, as it were.

Blogger Aeoli Pera April 06, 2016 4:42 PM  

I have yet to hear a single free trader even TRY to respond to my point that if the international economy was opened up to free trade to the extent that the domestic economy is, US labor mobility indicates that nearly half of all Americans would be forced to emigrate by the time they turn 35.

I realized today that I'm a canary in a coal mine. It's a difficult truth to swallow, but not the most difficult medicine I've had in the last ten years.

You know, people will try to cheer you up by saying there will always be a great market for extraordinary people. Well, that implies that ordinary people will be unemployed.

Anonymous DavidKathome April 06, 2016 4:43 PM  

As a separate question, what do we do when it becomes cheaper for robots to do the labor? That looks like the greater future threat than jobs moving overseas.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 4:44 PM  

Puerto Rico suspends payments on Debt

Free flow of capital indeed.

This is like one of those bad sounds you hear while driving fast on the freeway you know will end badly but you don't quite know where.

In this case lots of Muni funds are likely to be clipped.

Blogger Gapeseed April 06, 2016 4:46 PM  

The United States is (are?) the last and best hope of freedom and democracy, and the central repository of Western Civilization ideals put into practice. When established, the U.S. was established as a free trade zone between states, with open borders and free movement of labor. Indeed, the open road is woven into the American DNA.

I am pretty much in agreement with Vox on the national level - i.e., free trade between nations spurs movements of people possibly unhealthy to the local political and cultural fauna. But what of the United States? Doesn't the internal free trade (and resulting labor movements) enrich the nation as a whole? If Maine wants to trade lobsters to Nebraska for steak, does not that make both sides richer? And does it matter where people uproot to purely as a local matter in America? I don't think we should throw out Ricardo on the more local levels - after all, a migrant from Pennsylvania shares enough language and culture to be a productive Texan, even if somewhat out of place. Migrants from outside the Anglosphere present special problems - they are unlikely to speak the language, and as a result, are less likely to blend in and less likely to be productive.

The irony is that for years the GOPe prided itself on having a more sophisticated and nuanced view of political economy than those primitive paleocons like Pat Buchanan, with his talk of closed borders and trade restrictions and English First. When you factor in the cultural costs and hidden economics burdens, Pitchfork Pat turns into the sophisticate and his detractors the fools.

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 4:49 PM  

@155 - and they would not be responsible for the morality of the shoplifter. But this violates most people's versions of the NAP and Catholic and Christian morality.

Sometimes you can only expose an untenable, irrational, or immoral position.

A corollary is that 3rd parties can't enforce the NAP, only those involved which would negate private security. Otherwise I could steal from WalMart and give the proceeds to those in China who were stolen from and it would be moral to do so as I would be correcting a violation of the NAP.

Blogger Aeoli Pera April 06, 2016 4:50 PM  

DavidKathome wrote:As a separate question, what do we do when it becomes cheaper for robots to do the labor? That looks like the greater future threat than jobs moving overseas.

Has precedent. See the industrial revolution in Britain.

It's not a question of what ought to happen, it's a question of what will happen, and which has happened before: an increase in the average per capita wealth but extreme wealth disparity, such that a huge segment of the population (maybe 40%) is impoverished. I don't mean WIC poverty either, I mean the kind where you die of minor infections for lack of access to medical care.

The people advocating for patriarchy are going to get their wish, but what they may not realize is they aren't in the 20%.

Blogger Aeoli Pera April 06, 2016 4:50 PM  

Huh, David musta got spammed.

Blogger Chris Ritchie April 06, 2016 4:55 PM  

a migrant from Pennsylvania shares enough language and culture to be a productive Texan, even if somewhat out of place. Migrants from outside the Anglosphere present special problems - they are unlikely to speak the language, and as a result, are less likely to blend in and less likely to be productive.

Apparently, you've never worked in Texas or the deep south. People there definitely don't see the northern transplants as interchangeable. Or talk to anyone one born and raised in Texas what has happened to Austin with the Californication of that city from Californian expats. They bring their same failed policies to bear on Austin as what is destroying California. You see the same thing in Dearbornistan.

The fact is culture is much more localized that our public schools indoctrinate us to believe. The U.S. is not one big melting pot. And southerners have seen what has happened from all the transplants to Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta, Nashville, and Austin. They're different places now. What's Nashville doing with a hockey team, just as an example?

Of course, this idea isn't new:
http://archive.lewrockwell.com/wilson/wilson12.html

Blogger Chris Ritchie April 06, 2016 5:05 PM  

A nice film clip about culture:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpD072xGGJA

Blogger Geir Balderson April 06, 2016 5:16 PM  

@6
I doubt a natural-born citizen like VOX would be interested in taking a job that normally is given to immigrants?

Anyway, the 2016 Tax-Freedom day is supposedly this month or around there based on hidden taxes and crap. And, it is said Americans have more taxes wrung from them then what they pay for housing, clothes, food and other necessities of life.

So, Bring on the Bern!!! Heck, we need more taxes for the Freebies!!!

Blogger Aeoli Pera April 06, 2016 5:19 PM  

Crowhill wrote:The more smart people I meet, the more I realize that ... people really aren't all that smart. Everybody believes weird things, has strange hang-ups, insists on seeing some things and refuses to see others.



This is one of the most important conclusions you can take from researching extremely high intelligence. Which is...it's really not. The fact is that we're all retards, some just a bit less so.

Blogger Aeoli Pera April 06, 2016 5:25 PM  

VD wrote:And yet without Wal-Mart the standard of living for the lower half of society would be massively reduced.

You can more accurately say that Wal-Mart massively reduced the standard of living in every community it entered. It all depends upon what your standard is. Cheaper t-shirts don't make up for not having a job, or a viable Main Street.


It does to a greater extent than you're suggesting. $20 of charity can clothe a person head-to-toe, provided they don't spend it on booze. Now, that's a pretty big risk because up until about 2010, only the extremely dysfunctional were impoverished (or sometimes those with medical debt).

Blogger 744 Bosoms of Liberty April 06, 2016 5:42 PM  

Never go full Ricard.

Blogger Josh April 06, 2016 5:44 PM  

Free trade is ricarded?

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 6:28 PM  

Free trade with Cuba is Ricky Ricardo with one of Lucy's schemes

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 06, 2016 6:30 PM  

Uh...that's not free trade J Van Stry.

Anonymous DissidentRight April 06, 2016 6:50 PM  

1. Its not reasonable to expect midwits to instantly appreciate the implications of a fact that they have literally never considered before, especially when it contradicts a cherished dogma. Tom Woods is not an SJW. The first step to admitting free trade is bad is accepting what free trade _does_, which is simply an indisputable fact.

2. If international trade was banned, would anyone object to Wal-Marts tactics?? I still believe in mostly free markets...

Anonymous freddie_mac April 06, 2016 7:23 PM  

@88
I don't even know how to write an "academic paper".

Conclusions are the easiest part; simply say "further study is required."

Blogger tz April 06, 2016 7:57 PM  

@174

Someone who touts his association with the Mises Institute and pushes all the topics and apparently has read all the relevant works (on his side) isn't a "midwit", the problem is the will, not the intellect, but it is a problem.

The larger problem is when you say "free trade", most don't realize they are thinking of the "Ricardian Tautology", not anything real in practice no matter how much they say they reject NAFTA. The roots in the "Surgeon washing his instruments" comparative advantage fable is also a problem because it assumes a closed and static model. It may be cheaper to send them out to be cleaned, or get disposable versions shattering the narrative - it also requires reducing conditions to a tautology.

Recardio ad absurdum - Beaten again!

This was what Vox explained that opened my eyes - my initial position was merely that Ricardo described something extremely contrived so as to demonstrate things, but if you add labor mobility, it breaks. If you add innovation, it breaks. If you add variation (weather isn't constant, fads come and go, etc.) it breaks. Once you reduce the conditions to reductio ad absurdum, it is both always true and irrelevant.

The other reductio is "Certetes Paribus" (keeping everything else constant) - but NO system is the same by changing one variable. They are all interrelated so changing one thing will alter everything else.

Anonymous Millie April 06, 2016 8:11 PM  

Just skimmed the comments so forgive if this is a repeat point, but what's the alternative to free trade? Who sets tariffs and other policy? It's not like we get some disinterested data-driven algorithm to do it. It's politics. It's the same problem with socialism and managed economies as a whole. I'm living in India and from my perspective, the high barriers to trade, even among the states of India, and the prolific labor laws keep people in permanent poverty. Maybe that's the point?

Blogger Joe A. April 06, 2016 8:36 PM  

Woods is an anarcho-capitalist, so he'd probably choose free trade over nations, unfortunately.

Blogger Joshua Sinistar April 06, 2016 9:31 PM  

Free Trade is an oxymoron. If governments do not protect jobs and domestic industries then they are worthless. If you're a shitstain on the world with massive poverty and three cents for the average wages, then any sort of deal might be worth it. However, if you have the highest standard of living on Earth and enough workers and resources to make everything you need, then trade is about as useful as opening garbage bins and dollar stores for the lazy and unemployed.
The lame argument that trade encourages peaceful relations, I have never seen it. The hostility towards Japan and now China shows how stupid that argument is. The idea that free trade lowering the standard of living can be offset, shows the disingenuous ploy these treason merchants engage in. Give up your money and show how dedicated you are to sacrifice for globalism.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 06, 2016 11:22 PM  

Worse, Corporations are formed to shield liability, which violates any notion of the rule of law, NAP, justice or common sense. If tz shoots you, it's murder and I might be hung. If "tz, LLC" shoots you, well, you can only dissolve the corporation and seize assets...

But that's where you are wrong. Corporations don't shoot people - people shoot people. There's nothing on the books that says the person who pulled the trigger - or the executive who ordered it - can't be held liable for the illegal action they took.

What corporations propertly do, is shield minority, non-managerial, investors from liability beyond their investment. Why would I ever invest in tz LLC if your mis-management could expose me to additional losses? All that an LLC does is allows passive investing. There is nothing inherent in that that has to allow malfeasance from the directors and officers. It's a misunderstanding - ignorant on your part, intentional on the banksters/corruptokrat's part - that says nobody can be held liable for actions taken by agents of a corporation.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 06, 2016 11:34 PM  

As a separate question, what do we do when it becomes cheaper for robots to do the labor? That looks like the greater future threat than jobs moving overseas.

The answer is - stop making it so damned hard for someone to start a business that employs people. The majority of the population is not psychologically comfortable being entrepreneurs. They'd rather work for someone else. Problem is, we have these huge regulatory hurdles to growing a company beyond yourself. Employ one person, or employ several hundred - in between is a regulatory, compliance, and financial nightmare.

Stop officially demonizing people who employ two or three dozen fellow citizens, and the "technology ate my job" problem will be mostly solved by entrepreneurs.

But if we continue to treat someone employing people as the boogeyman, then the only people employing others will be psychopaths running big corporations.

Blogger 744 Bosoms of Liberty April 06, 2016 11:48 PM  

Millie wrote:I'm living in India

Please to be filing yourself in the circular.

Blogger 744 Bosoms of Liberty April 06, 2016 11:53 PM  

Free trade would not exist even in a full-blown case of Anarcho-Capitalism. Read Hoppe, you lolbertarians.

Trade requires transport. Who owns the roads? Are they willing to allow you to ship your presidential guacamole bowls from Squatemala to Midland for free?

Anonymous Jack Amok April 07, 2016 12:26 AM  

But they say the free market "creative destruction" is also a good thing which must lower time preferences...

I thought some more about this, trying to pull together a an explanation hopefully anyone can understand. Here goes.

Getting a job and then assuming you'll have it for the next 30 years is not an example of long-term thinking. It's short-term thinking at it's most blatant. Long-term thinking - long time preference - requires putting effort into the future, planning for it and making investments today for the purpose of paying off tomorrow.

Creative destruction - or the possibility of it - is a forcing function. If you think tomorrow is protected against competition, you have less incentive to invest in it - your assumption is that it will be there regardless, so go ahead and squander your money today. The lack of creative destruction means once you've made a successful investment, you're done and you can stop thinking about the future.

The possibility of creative destruction is what forces people to continue to think about the future, to continue to invest in it and to care for it. Without that possibility, or rather without the obvious presence of that possibility (destruction, creative or not is always a possibility), people sink back to squandering everything on short-term enjoyment.

Blogger 744 Bosoms of Liberty April 07, 2016 12:33 AM  

Jack Amok wrote:Getting a job and then assuming you'll have it for the next 30 years is not an example of long-term thinking.

Right. It's an example of the situation that leads a man to be okay with rent-seeking.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 07, 2016 12:48 AM  

Right. It's an example of the situation that leads a man to be okay with rent-seeking.

A.k.a, I've got mine, so to hell with you. Yep.

Blogger SciVo April 07, 2016 12:55 AM  

Millie wrote:Just skimmed the comments so forgive if this is a repeat point, but what's the alternative to free trade?

I don't understand your question. Free trade is not an "alternative" since it has never existed anywhere and never will.

The real-life options include state industry, corporatism, mercantilism, protectionism, and maybe some other things that no one has really got a handle on yet. Which is why Trump only talks about smart trade.

Who sets tariffs and other policy? It's not like we get some disinterested data-driven algorithm to do it. It's politics.

Thank you for answering your own question. Saves me time.

It's the same problem with socialism and managed economies as a whole.

No, tariffs and socialism are different; and the only unmanaged economies are black markets.

I'm living in India and from my perspective, the high barriers to trade, even among the states of India, and the prolific labor laws keep people in permanent poverty. Maybe that's the point?

Yes and no. Those "barriers to trade" and "prolific labor laws" fall under the category of regulation of commerce. But they are neither tariffs nor state industry.

India suffers simply from a surfeit of bureaucracy. Its government is in some sense a cargo cult of English colonialism, in which a certain amount of regulation was a good thing. So then they made more, and more, and more.

The effect is to restrain entrepreneurialism, which restrains class mobility. But here are two problems: that may be an unintended effect of rote copycat behavior, and also that tendency poses its own problems.

For example, the Union Carbide disaster was at a plant that was a perfect copy of another one. A perfect copy except for the workers.

A white night-shift manager would be born with the agency to make his own decisions. A dot-Indian night-shift manager would (by definition) be of such low caste as to be too afraid to even wake anyone up to ask for advice, let alone make his own decisions. So people died.

You need to find your own way to an egalitarian economy, since that is the one thing that we cannot possibly help you with, because you're just plain different.

Blogger Ahazuerus April 07, 2016 1:44 AM  

If you dont live in a boat then the rising tide forces you to flee, leaving all you cannot carry behind. Or drown.

Blogger tz April 07, 2016 5:26 AM  

@184 - Consider a place where there are frequent floods. You aren't going to build a nice house there, just a shack. If a levee is placed that makes it safe for a century or two, you will build a nicer house.

Any of us may die tomorrow, or suffer some lesser unfortunate fate. But it is probabilities. You have to assume you will be there in 30 years. If you cannot assume you will have your current job next year, you have to think about next year, not a decade hence. Becoming an itinerant wage refugee won't promote long term thinking. Cathedrals vs tents.

There is some natural risk of obsolescence or error, but even that is better with a stable backdrop as it will be isolated.

I don't see the chaos in Ferguson or Baltimore as an opportunity.

It is not merely an assumption of a long term job. A simple example is gold and silver vs a fiat currency. Gold will hold its value, more or less, and its interest rate is more stable (physical, not paper contracts). Fiat currency and even plain debt/credit has booms and busts.

Blogger tz April 07, 2016 5:31 AM  

Who decides tariffs? Yes, it is political, but it is like deciding an area should be a national park and not developed. Also it was the original source of revenue. It is also not as if the TPP or NAFTA isn't corrupt.

As to robots, they require maintenance and are relatively expensive. And stupid. They can replace some things but are over estimated (where's my jet-pack or flying car?). They have no minds.

Blogger James April 07, 2016 10:57 AM  

Even extremely intelligent people can be brainwashed. And hypnotized. What I notice about Tom Wood's reply to the serious issue of trade policy is the snark and snide of bringing up the light bulb industry. I happen to call my self a "Neo-Protectionist," by which I mean that what needs "Protecting" is not the industries or the businesses but rather the nation as a whole, protection from being flooded with cheep foreign crap that we don't really need in the first place but borrow money in order to buy anyway. A nation needs protection from the currency manipulations of other nations, and a tariff system is the only way that works. Responding to a currency devaluation with your own devaluation is stupid. Responding to a devaluation with a compensating tariff, on the hand, does work to re-balance the trade situation with the least amount of harm to the nation in question.

Anonymous Jack Amok April 07, 2016 11:24 AM  

Consider a place where there are frequent floods. You aren't going to build a nice house there, just a shack. If a levee is placed that makes it safe for a century or two, you will build a nicer house.

Building a levee is an act of long-term thinking. If the floods didn't happen, nobody would build the levee in the first place.

If people forgot the floods happened, nobody would maintain the levee and it would fall apart, leading to worse losses than if it had never been built.

As it so happens, I live in a valley that floods frequently. It being settled by generally intelligent people, the houses and towns are built on the hillsides above the flood line and the valley floor is used for crops and grazing. The people around here who exhibit the shortest term thinking are the government agencies responsible for the roads. They never manage to account for flooding in any of their projects. I expect they're the ones you'd have building the levees. I'm not optimistic about that.

It is not merely an assumption of a long term job. A simple example is gold and silver vs a fiat currency.

You're conflating two things. I've already agreed that fiat currency is a hamper to long-term thinking. Creative destruction however, is not. Creative destruction, or the possibility of it, is what keeps people thinking about and investing in the future. Knowing it's possible I could be out of a job next year is a reason to save some money rather than spend it all now. If it turns out I still have my job next year, hey, I've got some extra cash to invest.

There is a very big difference between efforts to plan for the future and efforts to outlaw it.

Anonymous DissidentRight April 07, 2016 12:21 PM  

@176
From its use in other posts I interpreted "midwit" to mean one in the 1.5-2 SD range, which is where I peg Woods (having read most of his libertarian books and listened to a ridiculous number of his lectures). Woods himself has commented many times that he hasn't done much of anything original. I could be wrong, but I really doubt it has ever occurred to him. For example, as I recall in his book Meltdown he blames Detroit on socialism.

The larger problem is when you say "free trade", most don't realize they are thinking of the "Ricardian Tautology"

Right.

Blogger tz April 07, 2016 3:07 PM  

@192 - I think this is a topic for a deeper discussion, but I don't think the comment chain here suffices. It does seem something new, at least to apply stability to time preference and hence to the interest rate (price of borrowing).

I can see your points, but am not sure if the disagreement is a matter of semantics, subtle effects, or something else.

I hope there is a future forum to pursue it, perhaps when Vox does his pamphlet there can be some discussion and input.

Blogger tz April 07, 2016 3:10 PM  

@193 - Woods seems more intelligent, at least 2SD from average so should be able to peer with Vox, but as this case, as well as "Walmart isn't responsible if they sell stolen merchandise" is an evasion, not a counterargument, at least not in the context of the whole body of discussion. Again, it is different if you are a neophyte v.s. well read. Someone even 1.5SD who studies extensively should know more and be able to defend better (even with mere cut-paste arguments by betters) than someone 2.5SD.

Blogger Kona Commuter April 07, 2016 5:23 PM  

I'm late to comment on this thread. However I'd like to extend my thanks to those who contributed as I learned a great deal.

Personally I've been anti "free" trade since forever. I find it hard to believe that it's cheaper to ship Lamb from New Zealand to the UK than it is to raise them there. Somewhere there is an expense that's not being priced in correctly or there are externalities not being accounted for.

Blogger Neutrinoide April 07, 2016 6:39 PM  

Ian Fletcher is a retard. I can't see how it is an argument agains free trade at all. It is like saying sex is bad because look rape exist.

Blogger Joshua Sinistar April 07, 2016 10:24 PM  

Some idiots seem to believe that what happens today must happen tomorrow, and thats why i will win. Idiots don't know that they're bacon and the future belongs solely to innovation. Free Trade is the kind of scam you'd expect from a pack rat with the intellect of a head of cabbage.
Sure people can babble on about the massive debt and how cancelling the debt will hurt America's Credit Rating. Credit and debt are interrelated. They are the cancer that ails us.
Suppose I eliminate the US Dollar and create a new currency? Then I make it so the two cannot be exchanged. Oh you can say I will never be able to borrow from those crooks again, but how is that a bad thing?
America has enough resources and workers that I need bupkus from the Global Fantasies of Idiots, so SUCK IT. If you don't like it, may I remind you we have 5000 nuclear weapons and ask you how you feel about joining the rest of the ions in the ionosphere?

Anonymous Jack Amok April 07, 2016 10:49 PM  

I think this is a topic for a deeper discussion, but I don't think the comment chain here suffices

Agreed. I do think there are several structural problems we have that encourage short-term thinking. But how much those are causing short-term thinking vs how much they are just the effect of allowing short-term thinkers more say, I'm not sure.

Regardless, it's a worthwhile subject to understand.

Blogger SciVo April 08, 2016 12:15 AM  

The majority of the population is not psychologically comfortable being entrepreneurs.

Only 1/3 can be entrepreneurs. It takes an irrational optimism.

About 10% have irrational pessimism, which I don't even know how to explain.

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