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Monday, July 25, 2016

Jerry Pournelle on free trade

Thanks to his There Will Be War series, Jerry Pournelle was one of my biggest intellectual influences as a teenager. If you want to ensure that your teenage sons have an antidote to the progressive and globalist nonsense in which they are engulfed by the mainstream and conservative medias, you simply cannot do better than give them a book or three from that series; the educational aspect of TWBW was the reason it was my absolute top priority to get it back in print. We've got seven of the original nine back in print already, and we'll have the rest out by the end of the year.

Now Jerry is turning his still-formidable intellect towards one of the great questions of the day: free trade. It is of particular import for conservatives:
One reason Conservatives are advised by Conservative leaders to disagree with Trump is his position on Free Trade. The problem for me is that I do not see Free Trade, particularly laissez faire Free Trade, as necessarily Conservative at all,

The advantages of Free Trade are lower prices for stuff. That means they are more cheaply produced. As the economist David Ricardo wrote, there is a principle of comparative advantage that coupled with free trade guarantees maximum profits for when there are no trade restrictions, and impediments to free trade are supposed to be mutually disadvantageous.

But do understand, what is conserved is lower prices. Nor social stability. Not communities. Not family life. Indeed those are often disrupted; it’s part of the economic model. Under free trade theory, it’s better to have free trade than community preservation, better to have ghost towns of people displaced because their jobs have been shipped overseas; better to have Detroit as a wasteland than a thriving dynamic industrial society turning out tail finned Cadillacs and insolent chariots and supporting workers represented by rapacious unions in conflict with pitiless corporate executives.

The theory of free trade includes liquidity: liquidity in capital flow, and liquidity in labor relocation.

What was conserved by turning Detroit into a wasteland? How was that conservative? Wouldn’t it be more conservative to argue that if everyone pays a little more for stuff made here, by people who work here, we are better off than having it made south of the border and inviting our people to go work there at their prevailing wages?

Go further. You don’t have to move. We’ll pay you for not working and you don’t have to move. Of course we’ll have to raise taxes on those who do work to pay those people no longer working, but that’s life. But after unemployment benefits work out – in my days the government would pay you $26 a week for 26 weeks – you’re in trouble. So much so that welfare benefits kept being raised. Food stamps, which became larger and bought more items. Negative income tax. And if you dropped out of the labor force – no longer looking for a job – you are no longer unemployed. The unemployment rate just went down. You stopped looking for a job. Of course you don’t have a job – you are certainly not employed – but you aren’t unemployed and don’t count toward the unemployment rate. I wouldn’t have thought that sort of lying to the people by government officials was a very Conservative thing to do at all.

Would a 15% tariff on cars have saved Detroit? It would mean that I would have had to pay about $5000 more for my 1988 Ford Eddie Bauer V8 Explorer I bought in 1999. I could have afforded that. And I suspect that I’ve paid more in income taxes sent to welfare recipients in Detroit than that. Is paying people not to work more Conservative than trying to keep their jobs – and manufacturing capabilities and potential here, bot dismantling it and leaving its former site to rust away – Conservative?

And is encouraging people not to work – at least making it easier and more possible – building a Conservative nation?

What, precisely, is being conserved here?
At the core of the intellectual case for free trade is the idea that Say's Law somehow applies to labor, that the aggregate supply of labor necessarily creates an equal quantity of aggregate demand for labor. Hence the claims that since those who had been employed by technologically outdated buggy whip manufacturers found jobs working for automobile manufacturers, those who no longer work for corporations that went offshore will find them doing something else.

But this is a complete failure of logic. The buggy whip workers were able to go to work for the auto manufacturers because those factories were located in their home states. A Detroit auto worker cannot go to work for a Korean or a German manufacturer, or even for a US automaker who sets up a plant in Mexico.

Free trade is, in fact, intrinsically anti-conservative, which of course is why revolutionaries such as Karl Marx have historically favored it.

I should also mention that There Will Be War Vol. VI is now out in ebook, and Vols I and II are now available in a hardcover omnibus edition.

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100 Comments:

Blogger The Other Robot July 25, 2016 11:42 AM  

I read High Treason from There Will Be War VI and it was amazing in how presciently the story seemed to refer to today.

Blogger The Other Robot July 25, 2016 11:44 AM  

But surely, those Americans who are put out of work by Indian H1Bs can get jobs flipping burgers!

Well, even if they wanted to, low-wage illegals from Mexico have those jobs locked down!

Anonymous 5343 July 25, 2016 11:46 AM  

your teenage sons have an anecdote

Um ... "antidote" maybe?

Anonymous Anonymous July 25, 2016 11:48 AM  

replace "anecdote" with "antidote" in paragraph 1

Blogger Ingot9455 July 25, 2016 11:49 AM  

As Mike Rowe says, learning how to work is just as crucial. Everyone has a series of jobs throughout their lives.

My nephews can't even get a job mowing lawns because of more professional wetbacks undercutting them.

Blogger tz July 25, 2016 11:51 AM  

The only thing he misses is DEBT.
He hasn't paid more in taxes to the welfare recipients in Detroit.
China and others buying US Treasuries have and now we have a 20 trillion dollar debt.
When that comes due, there won't just be high taxes to pay, there will be hell to pay as Usury was traditionally a very serious sin.

Blogger tz July 25, 2016 11:52 AM  

The socialist spends other people's money.
The free trader destroys other people's jobs.

Blogger Artisanal Toad July 25, 2016 12:16 PM  

The series was quite popular in the 5th Marines back in the day. There's nothing like a good book in the middle of hurry up and wait. Jerry had his own section at the little used bookstore in Oceanside.

Blogger VD July 25, 2016 12:17 PM  

Um ... "antidote" maybe?

Yes, exactly.

Blogger Human Animal July 25, 2016 12:22 PM  

China and others buying US Treasuries have and now we have a 20 trillion dollar debt.

Wait, you think we're going to pay that back?
Why not frame it as tribute paid to the USA?
Debt is necessary to have a monetary system. That's the origin point of the flow of money, the way a disparate electrical charge is needed in a circuit.

OpenID basementhomebrewer July 25, 2016 12:24 PM  

But this is a complete failure of logic. The buggy whip workers were able to go to work for the auto manufacturers because those factories were located in their home states. A Detroit auto worker cannot go to work for a Korean or a German manufacturer, or even for a US automaker who sets up a plant in Mexico.

Taking it further, manual labor making whips is roughly transferable to manual labor making cars. Today, there are very few manual labor jobs and most of those require some amount of learned skills before showing up to the job site. Welding is not something you just learn on the job. It also is not something that everyone can learn to do passably well. Bolting a car door on is fairly simple and most people can be taught to do it efficiently. Clean, quick and strong welds are something much harder to perfect.

TL;DR The US has lots of people who are only capable of simple manual labor jobs. They are not capable of learning the higher skill jobs that are replacing the basic manual labor jobs in a free trade environment.

Blogger Dexter July 25, 2016 12:24 PM  

Recently I heard Arthur Laffer talk, and one of the "advantages" he described for Free Trade was that it ensures the "prosperity" of the lower classes because they can buy cheap crap from China at WalMart.

Same old, same old.

Blogger Sillon Bono July 25, 2016 12:27 PM  

>> But do understand, what is conserved is lower prices. Nor social stability. Not communities. Not family life.

I will go even further than that and I would say that the prices bear no relation to free trade either, an IPhone is not cheaper because it is made in China, Apple profits more because it is made in China.

The consumer doesn't see the benefits.

At most the only impact low prices (on crap products) have in the market is to destroy those who can not move their production to China.

Blogger Austin Ballast July 25, 2016 12:29 PM  

The "willing to pay more" argument is the same reason some argue in the board game area that we should pay more to support the local game store over buying things discounted through mail order.

Requiring me to support an inefficient provider is not a good choice either. I would be better off giving the local game store $10 each time I buy a game rather than paying +$20 or more for the same game, as an example.

That doesn't mean free trade is great, but companies that don't face competition often stagnate and fail to innovate. A successful society cannot encourage that either.

The question is how to keep the edge while not allowing those outside the country to exploit things.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr July 25, 2016 12:30 PM  

Dr. Pournelle's arguments are the reason I abandoned unlimited free trade. Particularly with non-peer states.

Free trade with peer states I consider a good idea, mostly because it opens up a wider market that allows small businesses to prosper. But the overhead costs of making things in the USA, Europe, and Japan are similar.

The real headache is when you allow goods to be imported from non-peer states, such as China or India. Then, you have a much lower overhead cost. The goods are cheaper...but as Dr. Pournelle points out, your own people are now collecting welfares instead of doing a job.

Which is both bad for them and expensive for you.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr July 25, 2016 12:34 PM  

I'll add that much of American trade policy has been warped by the antics of the Detroit automobile industry. The whole Rust Belt suffers from a toxic management and labor culture...managers who would rather go out of their way to assert power and position than turn a profit, a workforce that would rather be paid less than pass up the chance to poke management in the eye, and crooked labor leaders running a shakedown operation while colluding with the managers.

Kindly note that Nissan, Toyota, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz all have American factories...in the South.

Blogger tz July 25, 2016 12:34 PM  

Manual labor is now reading mechanically from a 3 ring binder at a technical support boiler room.

Blogger Robert Divinity July 25, 2016 12:35 PM  

Free trade fanaticism can be boiled down to a simple equation: cheaper goods > economic stability. Open borders simply were a response to jobs that could not be off-shored. Buchanan nailed it when the dubbed these policies "the great betrayal." It's poignant that the American people waited so long to push back, but their nationalism was such they refused to see the elites who actually ran the nation wanted them out of its picture. Like Brexit, there may be some short-term pain in the form of inflation but the long-term employment and societal gains will be well worth it.

Blogger tz July 25, 2016 12:38 PM  

You don't need debt to have a monetary system, and having debt doesn't create one.

It won't end well, and I worry but Trump might be the best qualified to insure the elite don't just get another bailout.

Much debt is about confidence. Crooked Hillary won't instill the confidence that Trump will - especially domestically.

Blogger Conan the Cimmerian July 25, 2016 12:38 PM  

MUH FREE TRADE!

To borrow:

"Communists have no understanding of human nature."

"I genuinely believe we can achieve a Libertarian government through democracy!"

Blogger VD July 25, 2016 12:41 PM  

Why not frame it as tribute paid to the USA?

Because basing your entire economic system on theft is not likely to be a stable or long-lasting system.

Blogger Teri July 25, 2016 12:44 PM  

I read that yesterday and was impressed. There was an unofficial agreement, back in the day, between businessmen and workers. Businessmen cared about their local communities. Workers gave some small loyalty to the companies that employed them. It benefited them both. Now, businessmen in large part don't care about the community. It's all about profit.

Watched an interesting show on NPR about the CCC last night. The interesting thing was that it took young unemployed men and gave them work to do. AND, most of their pay was sent home to the parents. They earned $30 a month and actually got $5 to spend. The camps were run by the military and local men were in charge of the barracks and the work. They even had camps for Indians (feather not dot) on the reservations. It's interesting that we can't do programs like this, where people do real work and it's beneficial to the community.

Blogger Human Animal July 25, 2016 12:54 PM  

You don't need debt to have a monetary system, and having debt doesn't create one.

Okay. Just don't go rewiring anything with more than ten volts in it.

Because basing your entire economic system on theft is not likely to be a stable or long-lasting system.

Tribute is not theft, but tradition.

Blogger Human Animal July 25, 2016 12:58 PM  

Much debt is about confidence.

Debt is a human relationship. If you have confidence in your loan shark, it means you rely on him to break your legs if you're late. You might not like that, but maybe you believe it's appropriate.

The people on either end of a relationship (like debt) can have different views about it, even agreeing on all the facts.

Blogger Teri July 25, 2016 1:01 PM  

@16, I used to pick apples. I happened to be doing this during the time when they started requiring proof that you were working legally. The orchards were short handed and there were actually white people that came out to pick fruit. I've worked with people that raised their families picking fruit. Of course, once they fixed the system to use illegals again, they weren't interested in hiring anything else. Manual labor is still out there, but we've outsourced that too.

Blogger tz July 25, 2016 1:08 PM  

@22 Debt and usury are complicated matters but in the places people SAVED UP to buy things instead of buying them on credit didn't have the booms and busts.

My "monetary system" you assume a perpetual motion machine that can create debt without credit - savings. For ever debtor there is a creditor.

The creditors are currently being defrauded collectively, but because we cannot be sure precisely which debtors will go bankrupt and to what extent, therefore can't find specific creditors, they all assume though there are 100 of they, they will get one of the 10 chairs when the music stops.

Even Trump can't alter mathematics.

And technically Tribute is robbery or extortion depending how direct the threat of violence is. But as I pointed out, it is neither, but a simple ponzi fraud. The Chinese will either not be repaid or be repaid in a debased currency (one simple Trump move could be to devalue dollars outside the US, so they get $0.10 when they redeem them).

Anonymous aviendha July 25, 2016 1:11 PM  

Vox,
I will remember:
* Your thought provoking WND articles
* References to WoW though you were Alliance...
* Book references (particularly homeschool)
* Great nonfiction (Return of the Great Depression/Irrational Atheist)
* Great fiction...I particularly love my Throne of Bones warhammer
* Making SJWs cry weekly
* Impacting the Hugos
* Lifting the curtain on folks I used to respect (Malkin, GRRM, half the SFWA, most of the conservative media)

But to date, the little scifi nerd in me is most thankful for your engagement with Pournelle. I eagerly await all copies of TWBW in hardcover.

Pretty impressive bro, and the best dozen memories are yet to come.
o7

Blogger Bodo Staron July 25, 2016 1:11 PM  

Vox, if you have a lot of time on your hands (joking) watch this from 2004:
http://www.c-span.org/video/?182105-1/pentagons-new-map-powerpoint-presentation

He argued at one point in the presentation that "security" is the main product of the United States, exported to the world. That the US has a great deal going. Printing money and getting all those goods from China.

Blogger praetorian July 25, 2016 1:17 PM  

Recently I heard Arthur Laffer talk, and one of the "advantages" he described for Free Trade was that it ensures the "prosperity" of the lower classes because they can buy cheap crap from China at WalMart.

Lately, on the West Coast, I don't even hear that old canard. Now I hear "If you average over both China and the US, total welfare is improved." And then some virtue signaling about how they are-you-kidding-me can't believe someone would prefer his own countrymen's welfare to that of a some rice-bowl zip.

Anonymous #8601 July 25, 2016 1:28 PM  

Free trade is, in fact, intrinsically anti-conservative, which of course is why revolutionaries such as Karl Marx have historically favored it.

Yup. Karl Marx was a globalist.

Pretty sure Hitler put the "National" in front "Socialist" to distinguish from Marx.

Anonymous Gen. Kong July 25, 2016 1:37 PM  

Detroilet was on its way down before the trade agreements even came into force. All they did was deliver the final shot to the head. Its original destruction was brought about by the importation of cheap labor starting in the 1930s: the (((debt issuers))) and their white toadies demanded that negroes from the south be brought in to undercut the whites who made up the workforce. With the dindu-swarm came their endless roster of pathologies, culminating in the 1968 riots. The city has been under dindu rule since 1973 and received many billions in bailouts from the pockets of taxpayers in the ensuing decades.

Perhaps the real-estate should re-named as Abdabad and handed over to the Musloids in next-door Dearbornistan to allow them to impose full-bore sharia upon Shitavious, Latrina, her 21 chillrins and the rest of the welfare patricians living there - after being surrounded by barbed wire and machine guns to ensure no escape from it. It would end up being even more of a zombieland-gulag than it is already, with many handless, footless and headless dindus shuffling about.

Blogger Human Animal July 25, 2016 1:45 PM  

Debt and usury are complicated matters

Disclaimer.

but in the places people SAVED UP to buy things instead of buying them on credit

Not material to the issue.

didn't have the booms and busts.

We've always had booms and busts. They're natural to the world we live in. They apply to us.

(By) "monetary system" you assume

I do not assume. You are saying that to suggest I'm not speaking about reality, because you do not like reality.

And you point out: Debts are negotiated all the time, by people like Trump, with words like Bankruptcy.

And technically Tribute is robbery or extortion

Conflation.

Tribute is based on tradition. It is a recognition of the unequal relationship between parties.

Coercion, violent or otherwise, doesn't change that. That's just a means of negotiating the relationship. It is present in all transactions.

You are, in technical terms, wrong.

Blogger Cataline Sergius July 25, 2016 1:48 PM  

Parting with Free Trade was not easy for me.

It was up there with saying, No Virgina, there is no Santa Claus.

Now that I think of it for pretty much ALL of the same reasons.

Blogger Dave July 25, 2016 1:48 PM  

Vox this brings to mind the question; in what country are CH books printed? Where is the paper and ink sourced from? Are they renewable sources?

Ok I'm not that concerned wrt to the sourcing however I'd prefer the print copies don't come from China.

Anonymous paradox July 25, 2016 1:53 PM  

Kindly note that Nissan, Toyota, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz all have American factories...in the South.


Don't confuse beneficial trade with free trade. Having foreign factories setup shop in the US is what Pat Buchanan advocates. Pat's policy, 22% tariffs and a zero corporate tax. That way foreign companies would have to move factories to the US to access the US market.

Blogger Dave July 25, 2016 1:54 PM  

He argued at one point in the presentation that "security" is the main product of the United States, exported to the world.

Many countries would take exception to this statement particularly since the airing of that 2004 presentation.


Blogger Sam Lively July 25, 2016 1:59 PM  

I never understood the passionate commitment to free trade. I remember it triggering all sorts of incensed reactions when Pat Buchanan came on conservative radio, but I never understood the furor (even as I nominally sided with the free trade consensus).


Blogger VD July 25, 2016 2:05 PM  

Tribute is not theft, but tradition.

You're a wormtongue. China did not agree to pay any tribute. Nor would they. So it would quite clearly be both theft and fraud to do as you recommend. Even agreed-upon tribute is extortion.

The fact that it is traditional is orthogonal, it is still extortion based on the threat of force.

Blogger VD July 25, 2016 2:05 PM  

Vox this brings to mind the question; in what country are CH books printed? Where is the paper and ink sourced from? Are they renewable sources?

The UK. Don't know. Don't know.

Anonymous Ominous Cowherd July 25, 2016 2:12 PM  

VD wrote:Why not frame it as tribute paid to the USA?

Because basing your entire economic system on theft is not likely to be a stable or long-lasting system.


Since we've already borrowed more than we can repay, the question is not ``should we stiff our creditors,'' but ``which creditors should we stiff, and how can we spin it?''

It wasn't a long term strategy, but it was great for the liberals while it lasted.

Blogger bob k. mando July 25, 2016 2:23 PM  

VD
But this is a complete failure of logic.



but it's not the primary failure of logic.

the primary failure is substituting 'money' for 'wealth'.

money is a proxy for both supply and demand ... functionally, it is a barter solvent.

when money was backed by precious metals ( or other commodities ) it also represented actual production, and was constrained ( to some extent ) by that production.

iow, a commodity backed currency forces the economy to be more oriented to actual production.

any money/currency can be devalued; the Romans and Greeks were doing it. but a fiat currency, which is fundamentally imaginary, has no practical constraints at all.

Anonymous daddynichol July 25, 2016 2:28 PM  

I could have afforded that. And I suspect that I’ve paid more in income taxes sent to welfare recipients in Detroit than that.

It's far more likely that in addition to the 15% tariff, Mr. Pournelle would have to pay more taxes regardless. Politicians love their taxing power.

Blogger The Deuce July 25, 2016 2:37 PM  

Go further. You don’t have to move. We’ll pay you for not working and you don’t have to move.

...and now it finally clicked for me why Vox says that free trade necessarily means free movement of labor too. Or at least one reason why. People will move to where the production goes if they want to stay employed. Preventing them from moving means the government will have to pay them welfare not to work. And if the government is subsidizing particular outcomes, it's not a free market and hence not free trade.

Blogger tz July 25, 2016 2:40 PM  

Tribute is based on tradition. It is a recognition of the unequal relationship between parties.
Coercion, violent or otherwise, doesn't change that. That's just a means of negotiating the relationship. It is present in all transactions.


I just love those inner city traditions where stores are deprived of cash at gunpoint. I call it crime, you call it tradition.

It is NOT present in all transactions - they may never be strictly equal if for no other reason that no one every exchanges identical things. I want your extra clothes, you want my extra food. We VOLUNTARILY exchange.

But for a long while we had much trade even without it being "free". I keep bringing up Canada and the USA BEFORE NAFTA. We each could cross the border to do shopping and eat lunch and a later annoyance was the GST (sales tax) that was high enough to get refunded when returning to the USA, but there were Auto plants on both sides and no one ever was bothered if the car company chose Ontario over Michigan. There was a bit more angst over choosing Tennessee or Alabama over Michigan, but it was still in America.

English common law in an advanced society made it easy. Even trade with Japan and Europe - they also had similar laws, but Japan was resented over their barriers.

I should note Japan killed the golden goose because "unilateral free trade" was the argument to prevent tariffs on Japan - but Reagan's tariff to protect Harley was cheered. When China outbid them, well, oops!

We can no more trade freely with a 3rd world country like Mexico than we can discuss who we are having for lunch with cannibals.

I will repeat Debt is a severe distortion (why Mises wrote "The Theory of Money AND CREDIT").

But currency manipulation is a worse one. Shortly after NAFTA was passed, Mexico devalued 20%, which is a 20% subsidy on exports and 20% tariff on imports.

Ex-British colonies with English laws under a gold standard might think about it. But then even labor mobility would not be as much of a problem.

Blogger Yorzhik July 25, 2016 2:40 PM  

VD: I love Jerry Pournelle, but he is wrong when he says "and impediments to free trade are supposed to be mutually disadvantageous." because the advantage of free trade are available to the side that offers free trade even if the other side doesn't reciprocate.

And adding welfare to the free trade argument? I don't think you'll find many conservatives that believe welfare should be a government function.

And beyond that, I'm not sure Detroit can be considered as a basket case largely from the effects of free trade.

Perhaps the definition of "free trade" is the problem? If one sticks to a definition that doesn't allow for a situation where some caveats can be made, but in general free trade is better, then firstly no one is really free trade and secondly there can be no discussion between people on the right that are for free trade and against free trade.

Blogger bob k. mando July 25, 2016 2:40 PM  

22. Human Animal July 25, 2016 12:54 PM
Okay. Just don't go rewiring anything with more than ten volts in it.



i like how your implicit assumption is that just because we've had a pure fiat monetary system for ( likely ) your whole life, that's the way it's always been and it can't be done any other way.

we didn't fully go off of the gold standard until Nixon ... and bimetalism is defined in the US Constitution as being what our currency is SUPPOSED to be based on.

Anonymous Hoyos July 25, 2016 2:48 PM  

Part of the problem is people assuming the only options are completely free trade (which we don't even have now) or complete protectionism (which no one is suggesting). The trick is to stop artificially handicapping the American worker or the American business.

I read somewhere that the cost of regulation by itself, if removed, would make the American worker cost competitive with China. We cripple Americans and then say they can't compete. No kidding.

Anonymous bgkb July 25, 2016 2:50 PM  

The socialist spends other people's money. The free trader destroys other people's jobs.

The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. The problem with open borders is that eventually the Third World runs out of First World countries to flee to.

, I used to pick apples. I

I knew a white guy who said he picked berries over the summer between 10-11 grade and spent less than 1/2 his earnings on a V8 muscle car.

Anonymous EH July 25, 2016 2:52 PM  

Seriously, something is screwed up about the comment system. It loses posts, sometimes repeatedly. Let's see if this one sticks.

Anonymous EH July 25, 2016 2:58 PM  

I've tried to post my scheme for financing and organizing manufacturing several times, and apparently succeeded three times only to have it disappear. I'll take that as a hint to keep it proprietary for now.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr July 25, 2016 2:59 PM  

Vox, I'm disappointed. I would expect Castalia House books to be printed using SJW blood-based inks.

Blogger bob k. mando July 25, 2016 3:02 PM  

28. praetorian July 25, 2016 1:17 PM
And then some virtue signaling about how they are-you-kidding-me can't believe someone would prefer his own countrymen's welfare to that of a some rice-bowl zip.



why should that surprise you? that's the standard, boilerplate, International Marxist Proletariat.

the rice-bowl zip, as you put it, is merely another fungible cog amongst the ruling ( snicker ) Proletarians and your refusal to acknowledge his intrinsic worth identifies you as having Bourgeois proclivities.

you'll be against the wall, come the Revolution.

Blogger Yorzhik July 25, 2016 3:06 PM  

@47: a big problem in the discussion is that free-traders generally don't include open boarders. That's because people and products are not the same. People are not just labor, but also free will actors. So refusing people for things other than trade protection is a reasonable limit, if you want to call that a limit.

Anonymous twbw_question July 25, 2016 3:06 PM  

Two questions:

1. Which volume of TWBW is considered the best? I want to introduce my son to them and it has been decades since I read them.

2. Is that volume available in paperback or hardbound? Son stil prefers books on paper.

Blogger Dave July 25, 2016 3:09 PM  

Vox, I'm disappointed. I would expect Castalia House books to be printed using SJW blood-based inks.

Shhhhhhh...

Anonymous JamesD July 25, 2016 3:11 PM  

[b]But do understand, what is conserved is lower prices. Nor social stability. Not communities. Not family life. Indeed those are often disrupted; it’s part of the economic model. [/b]
So close. Ricardo IS CORRECT. For a given SYSTEM, the economy is optimized by free trade. So the advantages to China from free trade outweigh the disaster in the USA. DEFINE THE SYSTEM. I don't care about China.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 25, 2016 3:19 PM  

At the core of the intellectual case for free trade is the idea that Say's Law somehow applies to labor, that the aggregate supply of labor necessarily creates an equal quantity of aggregate demand for labor.

It does apply, only if the price is allowed to fluctuate. Like any other commodity, setting a floor price guarantees an oversupply. Which is the crisis we're dealing with right now. Of course, not setting a floor means that the price drops faster than the capacity of the supplier to adjust, which would mean a market crash and wiping out of oversupply. And, not coincidentally, those who provide the oversupply.
Since that would result in a market dislocation, as in open revolution and the deaths of millions, it's probably not the best option either.
Maybe we can do something to encourage the productive use of the excess supply. If only there were a way to encourage manufacturers to build things in this country. That would help use the supply of labor in a productive fashion. If only there were some small change in tax policy we could make to discourage imports. I'll have to think about it.

Blogger Dave July 25, 2016 3:26 PM  

1. Which volume of TWBW is considered the best?

Vox says Vol II which happens to be in hardcover here: http://amzn.to/1tkeY6F

All volumes will eventually be available in hardcover; don't know about paperback.

Blogger CM July 25, 2016 3:44 PM  

The US has lots of people who are only capable of simple manual labor jobs. They are not capable of learning the higher skill jobs that are replacing the basic manual labor jobs in a free trade environment.

This is only because we have been focused on a "College-Bound" education system in this country that has sorely disadvantaged people who did not have the capacity, nor the desire, nor the economic freedom to attain a college degree.

There are swaths of people in this country who would have been far more benefitted by being taught welding, drafting, and carpentry instead of reading Shakespeare, learning SOHCAHTOA, and learning about Auschwitz. We have libraries that can help the truly curious, but many simply need the ability to make a living as soon as possible, and Shakespeare doesn't help make money like learning to weld does.

Blogger residentMoron July 25, 2016 3:54 PM  

Vox

when the complete set is out, is there a chance of a 10 volume package offer?

Through various exigencies I haven't purchased any single volumes in the series yet, so I'd find a one click deal appealing.

I'm not fishing for a discount, price is not an issue; just looking for convenience.

Blogger Human Animal July 25, 2016 3:58 PM  

You're a wormtongue.

Untrue. I wanted to see whether tz was being serious. (He ain't.)

So it would quite clearly be both theft and fraud to do as you recommend.

I did not recommend. I asked a question, one that illustrated why the US-Chinese debt was an issue: Because it is functionally tribute. Yet, if they draw attention to it, they look weak.

Even agreed-upon tribute is extortion.

I recognize the association being made, but I made a distinction. Fulfilling your obligations to people you have an unequal relationship with is not robbery or extortion. A man's wife and children do not rob him. A good king is not robbing loyal subjects. And a government of the people is not tax-farming its citizens.

Tradition or Culture or Custom or Nature - whatever you call it - Makes the difference.

If you believe in natural hierarchy, then you can accept the king. And if you believe the USA is corrupt, then it is a corruption of something legitimate.

Blogger Human Animal July 25, 2016 4:33 PM  

I just love those inner city traditions where stores are deprived of cash at gunpoint. I call it crime, you call it tradition.

(Violence) is NOT present in all transactions - they may never be strictly equal if for no other reason that no one every exchanges identical things. I want your extra clothes, you want my extra food. We VOLUNTARILY exchange.


Another non-material ramble, eh?

Anyone who is familiar with Six Steps to Kevin Bacon can get why Libertarians are boring counterfeiters. (It's a bit like when Noam Chomsky says a thing is America/The West's fault.)

You have a relationship with other people you call Voluntary. You defend that relationship with violence, if it's called into question. When the Libertarian doesn't like a thing, he associates until he arrives at Violence!!! And when he does like a thing, then it's not Violence!!! unless there's a gun pressed to your skull.

It's a tactic, like psychoanalysis, not a position.

Blogger Josh July 25, 2016 4:45 PM  

Vox, I'm disappointed. I would expect Castalia House books to be printed using SJW blood-based inks.

Too many stds

Anonymous Sam the Man July 25, 2016 5:43 PM  

Something I have observed that is not mentioned much:

1) Velocity of money: when a product is made in the US and john is paid and extra 5 bucks to make it, what does he do with it? He goes out an buys something else. Multiply this by many people and it means a lot more circulation of money, well paid workers pay for other well paid workers.

No when you out source those jobs... well the cost might go down by 4 dollars as you cut out john and the business owner has an extra buck...but you lose John spending that 5 dollars in the us. Also the extra profit by the owner seems to go into biding up assets.

2) The effect of work on activity: I have noticed in my life that the house of workers are generally tidy and neat. Work inculcates habits of thrift and activity, the middle classes work to make their houses nice and value what they earned. There is a entire class of value an wealth created on folks spare time that a simple economic analysis based on the paid for economy misses.

Contrast that to folks who do not work, but survive on the dole. They are eaters, their houses are wrecks and they do not do much at all except consume resources. Yet they have the most time.

In both cases the normal economic analysis does not seem to estimate either economic effect, but if you think about it, you will have to admit both points are valid.

Blogger Escoffier July 25, 2016 5:53 PM  

Sillon Bono wrote:>> But do understand, what is conserved is lower prices. Nor social stability. Not communities. Not family life.

I will go even further than that and I would say that the prices bear no relation to free trade either, an IPhone is not cheaper because it is made in China, Apple profits more because it is made in China.

The consumer doesn't see the benefits.

At most the only impact low prices (on crap products) have in the market is to destroy those who can not move their production to China.


This! When Chicago restaurants were flooded with illegal immigrants post the 1986 amnesty, oddly enough prices didn't go down, the owners simply pocketed more money for a brief window until the vibrants began driving them out of business (which is a story for a different day.)

Blogger VD July 25, 2016 5:58 PM  

Perhaps the definition of "free trade" is the problem?

No. Quibbling over the definition of free trade is the snakish redirect of someone who wants to defend free trade but knows he can't. Free trade is the free exchange of goods, capital, services, and labor across international borders.

Untrue. I wanted to see whether tz was being serious. (He ain't.)

Yes, you most certainly are. See this dodge: "Because it is functionally tribute."

It is not tribute, functionally or otherwise. Should the US renege on its debt, there will be war, and not only with China.

Blogger CM July 25, 2016 6:24 PM  

Something I have observed that is not mentioned much:

1) Velocity of money:


Sam,

I heard about this last week... the US dollar circulates, on average, for 6 hours before being taken out of circulation?

I understand that Savings are important to one's financial health, but hoarding is not... and it appears that the top 1% of wealth accumulators (not generators) are hoarding their wealth. Rather than encourage these wealthy people to spend their money in the US Economy, we keep generating debt in order to encourage people to spend money they don't have.

I really like Trump's financial plan when it comes to deregulation and that Tax Holiday...

Blogger Human Animal July 25, 2016 7:21 PM  

re: VD

I don't see any complaints about my unpacking of "tribute is not extortion, but tradition."

Yes, you most certainly are (a wormtongue.) See this dodge: "Because it is functionally tribute."

"Hey, let's humiliate China by relabeling a currency imbalance as tribute and laughing at them."

That's not a serious proposal. I'm not making it. I don't know why you would think that I think it's a serious proposal. Or that saying "functionally" is a dodge. If they're buying useless paper and paying for the American Pacific Fleet, it's not a technicality, it's a nicety.

I can outline this in paragraphs, but there wouldn't be much point if you think I'm scheming and sliding around with words... that doesn't get solved with words.

Though if I was going to do that, then I'd be into things like this:

It is not tribute, functionally or otherwise. Should the US renege on its debt, there will be war, and not only with China.

If America cannot pay its debts, then it's already reneged.

And by some standards, aren't they already at war? There's no point in sending missiles. China is spying and infiltrating and using lawsuits and hacking and so on. America can't be innocent on those fronts either.

They'd like to skip the invasion and go straight to the looting, mainly in the tech sector.

Blogger Groot July 25, 2016 7:24 PM  

A tour de force! Free Trade equals Free Labor Relocation, because both have "Free," duh. Therefore Detroit. So we'll pay you not to work, and pay you un-taxes, then raise taxes. Because unConservatives lie to The People. So raise taxes and tariffs, because protectionism is the only true conservative. Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

Blogger dienw July 25, 2016 8:56 PM  

@ 39:
Since we've already borrowed more than we can repay, the question is not ``should we stiff our creditors,'' but ``which creditors should we stiff...''


The ones who cannot go to war with us; this means "do not stiff China, Russia, or Japan (unites with China)." Simple rules for those who wish to stay alive.

Blogger Lazarus July 25, 2016 9:01 PM  

Napoleon 12pdr wrote:Vox, I'm disappointed. I would expect Castalia House books to be printed using SJW blood-based inks.

Patience, it is often said, is a virtue.

Be virtuous

Anonymous Mister M July 25, 2016 10:22 PM  

Part of the inequality, and flaw in the 'free trade' argument is that the 'free trade' deals are managed trade, not free trade, and the playing field is unequal. American companies have OSHA and the EPA threatening them with not having the fire extinguisher high enough off the floor, and countless other aspects of a regulatory thicket to navigate, not the least of which is payroll tax, health care, and a panoply of taxes. Taking the USA and China as two countries having 'free trade' leaves too much out.

The debate is better when the world was on a global gold standard (pre-1912), before the awful progressive / globalist cabal got its claws into the major gov't's courtesy of WWI. Pournelle pinpointing free trade is overlooking why China can maintain a beast like Foxconn, where such a thing would be impossible in the US. This is where the cost disparity is, not the lowering of prices, which does benefit the consumer.

Actually give American entrepreneurs the same rules as the Chinese, torch the regulatory thicket, and Detroit and other communities will come back too.

Blogger bob k. mando July 25, 2016 10:33 PM  

68. Groot July 25, 2016 7:24 PM
A tour de force! Free Trade equals Free Labor Relocation, because both have "Free," duh.



i used to think you weren't a complete fucking moron.

oh well, can't be right all the time.

Blogger residentMoron July 26, 2016 12:33 AM  

Bob

In one of Scott Adam's books - I think it's The Dilbert Principle - he tells a story about buying a pager to illustrate his central thesis, being: "people are stupid."

But he elucidates; different people are stupid about different things at different times. Very few outside of parliament are all stupid all the time.

In Vienna, at the establishment of the Austrian Republic in 1918, in a 96% Christian nation, the denizens of the new parliament set up a 30 foot high idol of the pagan Greek goddess Pallas Athene, somewhat ironically the goddess of Wisdom in that pantheon.

Therefore the Viennese have taken their vengeance by this saying:

"Wisdom is *outside* the parliament!"

Blogger Todd Simmons July 26, 2016 1:06 AM  

Jerry is a great guy. It may be too late, but it would be great if he could reconsider his "assimilationist" beliefs. Everywhere Brown mixed with White, going back thousands of years, it led to collapse. Regardless of the great values in place.

Blogger flyingtiger July 26, 2016 1:16 AM  

The best statements against free trade I have ever heard.
Recently, I wondered what would have happened in Nixon never went to China. We would still have most of our jobs here. The Chinese would be fighting each other and not moving against their neighbors.
When you have an abundance of jobs, this allows marginal workers a chance. The inexperience, recovering addicts, the ex cons have a chance. This means fewer people on the welfare rolls.

Blogger Groot July 26, 2016 1:19 AM  

@72. bob k. mando:

and yet its ez tu cee ur a moron, gramer boy. gud arguemnt, btw. u reely gott me, ther.

Blogger bob k. mando July 26, 2016 1:24 AM  

73. residentMoron July 26, 2016 12:33 AM
Very few outside of parliament are all stupid all the time.



and yet, we have denizens such as Tiny and Groot here, who seem to indicate that the sub-population may be just a bit larger than you would like to think of it as being.

Blogger Groot July 26, 2016 1:46 AM  

if u klik on bob's name, then go to hiz blog, u see many, many mostly-naked black children. kid u knot. have screencapped it. wutz up widdat, bob? never scene ennything like it.

Anonymous jOHN MOSBY July 26, 2016 2:20 AM  

"i used to think you weren't a complete fucking moron."
Maybe not a complete, but still a moron. I like the way some of us freestyle at times, and this wooden-headed fuck bitches about it and does the same. Groot, you do know what the definition the word hypocrite is?
Don't you ever bitch about someone else's grammar ever, you whiny pissant.
Other than your double talkin' bullshit, you ain't all that bad, old chap.

Anonymous jOHN MOSBY July 26, 2016 2:38 AM  

Groot ? I'm paging your happy ass, spake up.
You ain't got a prob yappin' any other time.

Blogger Groot July 26, 2016 3:15 AM  

jOHN, I confess I have trouble parsing you. Insofar as I can understand your vernacular, part of your plaint is my delay in responding. My response: Check the timestamps. At best, I'll check this site, at very best, several hours apart, and, more usually, daily or on alternating days. Life, you know. I think some of these guys are retired, disabled, or have pretend jobs.

Blogger Groot July 26, 2016 3:31 AM  

Oh, and your charge of hypocrisy is, I think, based on your misapprehension of my mocking bob for his poor grammar. (You're safe on this count, as I would never attempt to replicate, in any way, your infelicitous "grammar.")

Anonymous jOHN MOSBY July 26, 2016 3:56 AM  

I like bad grammar, Groot. This redneck relates to it.
AQs i told Krautman, this ain't english class here. You no likee ? take it up with Vox. He no likee, kibosh will be put upon it. You can damn sure betcha on that.You don' beleeb me,
juz axe him.

Anonymous jOHN MOSBY July 26, 2016 4:16 AM  

"jOHN, I confess I have trouble parsing you. "
Groot, ol' chap you gotta be a damn yankee.
I don't speak hard sayings, son.

Blogger bob k. mando July 26, 2016 4:25 AM  

78. Groot July 26, 2016 1:46 AM
wutz up widdat, bob? never scene ennything like it.



i must admit, that's one of the more innovative ways to attempt to drive blog traffic.

if only i cared about blog traffic.

to answer your direct question:
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/humor?s=t

Blogger bob k. mando July 26, 2016 4:26 AM  

84. jOHN MOSBY July 26, 2016 4:16 AM
I don't speak hard sayings, son.



that's because you're a soft buckaroo, jOHN MOSBY.

*elbow*

Anonymous jOHN MOSBY July 26, 2016 4:31 AM  

I didn't know you had a blog, bob k.
Linkee, please.
thanks in advance, sir.

Anonymous jOHN MOSBY July 26, 2016 5:02 AM  

. "(You're safe on this count, as I would never attempt to replicate, in any way, your infelicitous "grammar.")"
GOOD. i AM GONNA SAY WHAT i AM GONNA SAY, And I am gonna say it as I feel like I am gonna say it, and if you no like, who cares ? You savvy ?

Anonymous jOHN MOSBY July 26, 2016 5:09 AM  

And no, I would never want to stop anyone from saying what they feel they need to say, whether I agree or no.

Anonymous trigger warnings July 26, 2016 8:19 AM  

Free Trade: Bob's Bolts Inc signs a contract with Wei-Lun's Washers

Not Free Trade: US Govt signs a treaty with 100 countries regulated by 10,000 pages of rules, run by lawyers, and adjudicated by a permanent board of globalist bureaucrats determined to eliminate "inequality".

Anonymous John H July 26, 2016 11:36 AM  

Free trade, in its pure form, is absolutely "conservative" (or classical liberal, if you prefer) as it promotes liberty of choice for both consumers and producers. It also promotes competition, efficiency, and innovation - all values of conservatism.

Implementing artificial price constraints to manipulate the markets (whatever the underlying motivation) is anti-liberty and pro-centralized control, both anathema to any conservative ideology.

You want to blame something for the fall of manufacturing in the US - instead of making free trade the bogeyman (as if our current system was actually free) - blame an out of control regulatory environment, labor unions, stifling taxation, and arrogant politicians that pursue feel-good policies aimed at getting themselves elected instead of actually supporting the economy.

Blogger bob k. mando July 26, 2016 2:07 PM  

91. John H July 26, 2016 11:36 AM
Implementing artificial price constraints to manipulate the markets (whatever the underlying motivation) is anti-liberty and pro-centralized control, both anathema to any conservative ideology.



so, the US Constitution, which defines the financing of the federal government as being accomplished through tariffs is, according to you, "pro-centralized control, both anathema to any conservative ideology".


please, do tell us more about how you hate the Constitution and ideas of the Founders.

Blogger bob k. mando July 26, 2016 2:09 PM  

87. jOHN MOSBY July 26, 2016 4:31 AM
I didn't know you had a blog, bob k.



like Groot Ninja said, click on my name.

Blogger Yorzhik July 26, 2016 2:44 PM  

@65 VD wrote:Perhaps the definition of "free trade" is the problem?

No. Quibbling over the definition of free trade is the snakish redirect of someone who wants to defend free trade but knows he can't. Free trade is the free exchange of goods, capital, services, and labor across international borders.

Then if you aren't going to quibble over definitions, then so much the better.

But what I've found is that anti-freetraders insist that because the definition of free trade includes free movement of labor, that it trumps all other factors.

So in the same way when someone asks me if people are allowed to come to my house, I would answer "yes" because it's true. However, if I find out that a person wants to injure me is coming over, I don't let them on my land. It's not a contradiction. In the same way, the free movement of labor is not contradicted when a nation requires everyone coming into the country to identify themselves, and that people coming in from places where the people want to injure us are not allowed in.

Once the free movement of labor issue is resolved, as I just did, then there is the issue of reduction of income of the richer nation. You have a point, but it is still a hypothesis. Wouldn't less expensive products allow for more wealth? I realize you are going to say that incomes being depressed will lower wealth. But it would make more sense that lower prices to a whole market would create more wealth than lower wages in a particular manufacturing segment.

Anonymous Anonymous July 26, 2016 7:45 PM  

Free trade between countries could ba spelled ou on one double spaced page. The problem with our trade agreements is they are 10,000 pages long and usually give huge advantages to various people and groups art the expense of our citizens and workers. his were really about free trade then write a one page free trade agreement not the 10,000 pages of special treatment and outright theft from taxpayers.

Blogger billo July 26, 2016 9:09 PM  

Mr. Pournelle's argument is not new. The response to whether or not it is "better" to subsidize high-priced, poor quality work because it is *American* high-priced, poor quality work is that there are other choices of other things to make, and it would be better to make the things you are good at.

If you can't be competitive making one thing, then you should do something else. If Mexicans are better at making one kind of widget, then make another kind. Why should the government subsidize buggy-whip makers so they can keep on making a product that nobody wants? The end product of that kind of thinking is not prosperity. It is the Yugo.

Detroit is not a counterexample to this principle. It is what happens when you try to deny that principle. People in Detroit have no inherent right to make cars, and consumers have no inherent obligation to subsidize people so they can make crappy, expensive cars. If that's what you want, then Solyndra is your goal.

The fact is that Detroit *could* have made cars competitively. They *could* have maintained their dominance. But, instead, the exact "subsidize me so I don't have to do a good job" philosophy that Pournelle advocated won. I'm reminded of that Bottle Rockets song "Building Chryslers":

He's buildin' Chryslers
He don't care how they turn out
Thinks being union means he's here to stay

He's buildin' Chryslers
Tryin' not to burn out
Doing airbag installation all day

He got the bass boat
He got the new house
He got a wife and a kid on the way

He's buildin' Chryslers
Drivin' a Toyota
Cause he knows lots of guys on the line
He knows they don't care as much about quality control as they care about their overtime

If you can't be successful doing what you are doing, do something else. If you can't be successful where you are, move. There is no inherent *right* to have a comfortable life living wherever you want doing whatever you want. Most successful people have failed a number of times at a number of things. What separates them from people who are failures is that they don't keep digging the hole they are in. They get up and change directions.

Free trade doesn't necessarily mean free movement of labor across borders. But it does mean that people have to learn to change. And when they do, everybody wins. The competitive practices in the auto industry has resulted in better, safer cars, which means fewer consumer deaths, better products, and better lives. Detroit has no "right" to stop this. Instead, they have the opportunity to become competitive or change directions.

When I couldn't find a job, I packed my bags and moved to places that needed me. And I've done that a number of times. People in Detroit can do the same thing -- and the government there could make the city more competitive for industry. But they'd rather have subsidies and the dole. That's wrong. And the fact that Pournelle simply wants to make that dole structural doesn't change what it is.

Anonymous Wesson July 27, 2016 6:04 AM  

re: "If you can't be competitive making one thing, then you should do something else.”

Ah, but there's the rub. People and companies are doing something else, the things that have become prevalent in US society over the last 30 years as the globalization push has gained strength. Has the society become more conservative due to these changes, and is the public more supportive of conservative ideas due to the successes of the last 30 years?

The other issue is that your argument or proposed society sounds more Jacobin than conservative. Order out of chaos and creative destruction. That may be OK, but what is it conserving?

Blogger billo July 27, 2016 7:28 PM  


No, that's not the rub. The people in Detroit *didn't* do something else. The took advantage of Pournelle's principle that the government should support people rather than have people be responsible for themselves. So they sat there and waited for Santa Claus to take care of them. And it's not anti-conservative for companies to act in their best interest. What's anti-conservative is setting up regulatory and taxation structure that make it impossible for existing companies to react to changes in the world, and for new companies to arise with new ideas. You think that a company moving to Texas to escape blue-state oppression means that they move from a "conservative" environment to a "Progressive" one? In what world are Texas and Tennessee "Progressive" and Detroit "conservative?"

Your statement about Jacobins is simply wrong. The Jacobins favored a strong central government that dictated everything that people did. If you want Jacobins, look to the Democrat pary. Throwing the term "Jacobin" at either individualists or social conservatives is an attempt at distracetion.

When people use the term "conservative" to indicate forceful imposition of some status quo in terms of outcomes, they make the same mistake that Progressives make when they talk about equality. Conservatism, as far as I'm concerned is not defined in terms of outcomes. It is defined in terms of values. The idea that the government should impose some sort of social hierarchy and structure by force is not a "conservative" idea, at least in the American sense.

Certainly, "conservative" has those kinds of meanings in the European sense, and one can yearn for the return of George III all one wants. However, that's not what American conservatism is all about, as far as I know. One can define "conservative" however one wants, and one can define it to mean some odd monarchical or authoritarian ideal, but that's not how it's used outside of Progressive propaganda.

American conservatism is focused on individual rights, individual responsibilities, and individual liberties, within the context of a shared set of moral and ethical values. You are right, we have lost many of those values, but it's not because we didn't support wasteful companies making bad cars that endanger people simply for the purpose of keeping obsolete work methods and collectivist labor organizations on life support. Just the opposite. The AFL-CIO is not a "conservative" organization and the idea that the government should enable it is not a "conservative" idea.

Your mistake is encoded in your question "Has the society become more conservative due to these changes..." These changes occurred because society became less conservative, not the other way around. You are mistaking the effect for the cause. The rooster doesn't make the sun come up because it crows.

Anonymous idprism July 27, 2016 8:12 PM  

i am pretty happy that the discussion returned in the last few posts. i think overall i would suggest to Wesson that conservatism did not enter into the points made by billo. the goal of a free market is not to conserve, but to become efficient. there is always demand for goods and services, and, if they can be produced with sufficient quality elsewhere, there is no reason to continue producing them here.

my primary concern with anti-free-trade arguments is that they take a somewhat reductionist (i often find myself thinking of it as a marxist/communist reduction) of all goods to price and profit. this is what progressives and marxist-derivatives do for female laborers (all labor is equal, even though females are likely to take years of man-hours and skill out of the market due to pregnancy/birthing and child-rearing) and what the modified CPI does for inflation (families "today" buy "meat" not "steaks").

the high school from which i graduated still has ww2 era machines in their wood and machine shops (i graduated about 15 years ago, machines still there), because they were built in america with the intention of being long-term capital investments for the companies buying them. this type of property/capital is a bit different than a widget, but they are created out of widget parts. if all widgets were equal quality and tolerance, then reducing widgets to a simple price/profit model and moving widget production elsewhere seems to make sense, since widgets are still easy to transport compared to the finished mechanical product of those widgets. if the widgets produced elsewhere would not meet the standards of quality to use in the american designed & assembled machines, then it is likely that the precision and quality equipment would still have to come from here.

we used to (and sometimes still do) like to buy things made in america not just because they are made here, but because we can be more sure of the accountability of the producer to the consumer (where laws that protect the consumer from fraud and harm can assist us) and because that accountability can work together with rating, review, and reputation to assure us of some level of quality.

does free trade including a free market and real currency conserve anything? i would probably have to agree that they do not, intrinsically, but, i think that the culture that realizes these will tend to conserve itself by becoming the most efficient corporate actor possible. i think the conservation inherent in such a culture will be multiplied by the speed of information, as well (since rating, review, and reputation travel at the speed of information). when inside or outside actors move to introduce inefficiency, it will be soundly rejected unless there is some magic or warfare interfering with the natural functions of such a system.

i think one thing that i have to note about everything i have said, after reviewing it, is that the culture which shares these values will likely also share a common law and with that a common border (it will likely be a nation or state).

my paramount worry about a call to preserve the state (conservatism) for its emergent properties due to culture is a call to preserve a state for the sake of its own existence (which may lead to a drive for unnecessary and inefficient expansion of state power), and to do so with an authoritarian disregard for the individual rights of those who share a culture of liberty and efficiency.

after a quick review of say's law, i dont think it is correct, as it sounds kind of backward. i would be hesitant to base any economic conclusions on it.

also, billo beat me to a response, and i like it.

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