We Must Destroy Free Trade To Have Free Trade

I ran across an article the other day whose title was straight out of the Orwellian Twilight Zone.

The current issue is not, as the tariff critics would have you believe, that tariffs are anti-free trade. They certainly are.

Consider the ideal of world peace or, more practically, national security. The United States has shown that it is willing to kill other people and to sacrifice the cream of its own youth in order to achieve national security and strive toward the ideal of world peace.

Free trade is similar. The only way to rein in nations who discriminate against US exports is to make them pay a price through imposition of significant tariffs.

Non-Libertarian Nonsense

I am surprised that a proclaimed Libertarian, Daniel Lacalle, would post such obvious nonsense on his website.

Lacalle did not write the article, rather it was written by JunkScience author Steve Milloy.

Warmongering Garbage

For starters, US Meddling in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya. and Afghanistan have had negative consequences towards the ideal "world peace."

One of the biggest reason we do not have peace is the US is constantly waging war everywhere. US drone policy has killed or maimed countless innocent men, women, and children.

The US destabilized Iraq, directly leading to the creation of ISIS, which led to the destruction of Syria. Hillary Clinton got the US meddling in Libya and look at the result.

Think back to the Vietnam War. How much "cream of its own youth in order to achieve national security" did the US lose fighting that absurd war? For what?

We Had to Destroy the Village to Save It

WikiQuotes offers this pertinent quote on Vietnam: "It became necessary to destroy the town to save it."

The quote refers to the bombing of the Vietnam village Ben Tre, by AP correspondent Peter Arnett. Often misquoted in a variety of ways, notably: In order to save the village, we had to destroy it. or "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

From the same link, consider the opinion of boxing champion Muhammad Ali who went to prison rather than fight in Vietnam.

"No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years."

I salute Ali. Had more people been willing to stand up for justice, the war would have ended sooner. Had everyone refused to go, the war would not have been fought in the first place.

Top Orwellian Comments of All Times

  • An American major after the destruction of the Vietnamese Village Ben Tre: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it."
  • Vice President Joe Biden: “We Have to Go Spend Money to Keep From Going Bankrupt
  • President George W. Bush: “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.”
  • Nancy Pelosi said “We have to pass the health care bill to see what’s in it.”
  • Larry SummersThe central irony of financial crisis is that while it is caused by too much confidence, too much borrowing and lending and too much spending, it can only be resolved with more confidence, more borrowing and lending, and more spending.”

President Bush on the Saving the Free Market

We can add another one to the list: "Tariffs are a Tool for Free Trade".

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (26)
No. 1-26
Kinuachdrach
Kinuachdrach

Around about Episode 30 in the seemingly interminable Chinese TV series “Wonderful Life”, a young lady decides she needs a car. So she goes to the Jeep dealer in Bejing and picks out a vehicle from the gleaming ranks of various Jeep models. Of course, those Jeeps were built in China, because China long ago adopted the profoundly non-“Free Trade” policy of “Build It In China If You Want To Sell It In China”.

True Believers in the Free Trade Unicorn would have scoffed when China instituted this policy. Clearly, it would have been much cheaper initially for China to have bought US-made Jeeps as incremental production from existing US production lines. Comparative advantage, and all that. But unlike the Free Trade True Believers, China’s leaders thought about more than today’s lowest-cost solution; they looked two & three moves ahead in this game of industrial chess, and have easily beaten the pawn-grabbing True Believers who do not look beyond the current move.

One of the results is the parties of prosperous well-dressed Chinese tourists one sees being led around sites of interest across Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, back in Detroit, ….

Sechel
Sechel

literally the sole legitimate gripe that has been brought on on trump's tirade about unfair trade is china's stealing of trade secrets. of course tariffs are the wrong way to fix this problem. ironically if this were about china the best tool for containing her would have been tpp which trump helped kill and mnuchin somehow just opened the door again for yesterday.

Stuki
Stuki

….Don’t forget the biggie: Governments must restrict freedom in the name of freedom…..

Rayner-Hilles
Rayner-Hilles

You know what, I'm just gunna copy and paste a comment I wrote for SweetKenny a few days ago, because the ignorance is starting to get repetitive:

Rayner-Hilles
Rayner-Hilles

"...Thing is however, China has come a hell of a long way in building its own capital base of formerly-Western technology and instituting a one-child policy to hit the emergency brakes on the birth rate. And indeed, as you would expect, China has grown a considerable middle class, already far greater in number than our own. Why then should the average Chinese standard of living still be far lower than ours? The answer is because they have no country to import that standard of living from (though we wait on their progress in colonizing Africa).

You see guy, that dialysis machine that your free health care affords you, so you can go out drinking yourself to death on regular nights of debauchery, that machine was made in China by peasants whose government (excl Hong Kong) could never dream of affording dialysis machines to be freely available to everyone of its own citizens. If Canada required that all its health-care machines were to be made in Canada alone, it wouldn't be able to afford free universal health care.

A lot of people seem to think that servants went out of fashion because washing machines were invented. But in fact, the invention of washing machines and such merely permitted you to ship your servants overseas and impose immigration policy so they wouldn't come back (metaphorically speaking). Out of sight and out of mind.

And meanwhile the left can go on singing about how progressive and egalitarian we are (or should be), and how those backwards third world countries that still have a social hierarchy are yet to "catch-up with us," whilst wearing the clothes made by their overseas servants and working the subsidized domestic jobs that those same servants aren't allowed to do for lack of a visa. And if you point any of this out to them, they'll blame the right wing for all of this you see, because, the right wing is a very convenient enemy for the left to unload all of the problems of globalisation on whilst in turn claiming responsibility for all the upsides of globalisation: free health care, minimum wage, education and so on.

The game we play with China is this: they give us all of that real stuff they mass produce that raises our standard of living and we in turn sell them our finance capital; that is our currency, our bonds, our stocks, and even our property. They export their standard of living to us, and we export to them our vastly overpriced capital, built upon an ocean of bullshit of utopian expectations and Fed intervention. It's highway robbery what we do to China, giving them our finest bubbled-up capital bullshit, and they give us material happiness, but China more than consents to it by artificially holding their currency low, tariffing any real wealth we might have exported to them, and prohibiting foreigners from purchasing their capital.

Why does China do this? Well it could be that they're just incredibly stupid, that they've been hypnotised by hundreds of years of cultural Western bullshit into thinking it is better to have dollars in your central bank than food in your citizens' stomachs. - But it might also be just fabian tactics on their part: slowly building up their holdings in US capital, and ready to strike and take over when the US is weak. The reason why they might put off competing with us on exporting capital is that they're aware that we have had a serious head start in that department. It's particularly the English speaking world-war-two-winning countries that are at advantage, thanks to centuries of imperialism, we have one hell of a brand and a very old and incredibly developed finance system that nobody else, not even Europe, can compete with.

But given one financial crash: China might very well reverse all of its policies, dumping US capital, allowing its currency to rise, welcoming foreign purchases but imposing rigid immigration policy like ours, and relieving all tariffs on foreign goods and services, from its new servant class that its currently building in Africa (if it hasn't already done so), to its suddenly brand new one in the now direly-impoverished finance-crashed West (and maybe then the West will become the far-left basket case). China will have taken over the world without a shot being fired. How about that?

Of course then maybe robots from Japan take over human jobs from 50% of the population, causing such a drastic surge in inequality that countries will fragment in countless secessionary movements, and before you know it there are 50 Disunited States, some vastly vastly richer than others. And none of this more global stuff will matter in comparison.

Funny old world."

hef1
hef1

So basically all things in the world should be manufactured and sold in these make-believe geographical lines that politicians long ago devised in order to keep populations of people in line. Americans must make and sell to Americans. Mexicans must make and sell to Mexicans. Chinese must make and sell to Chinese. Lichtenstein must make and sell to Liechtensteiners. This is all a bunch of Nationalist garbage. Take a look from space. There are no imaginary lines. We are all humans and economic freedom is what will finally bind us together as a people. Our wise overlords are not any smarter than the markets. Having them pick winners and losers is ludicrous.

TheLege
TheLege

Yup, Kinuachdrach is not too bright, but if you read (his) piece he clearly thinks otherwise.

Realist
Realist

If the goal is free trade between nations (which is an admirable goal) then which is the better method to achieve it? Tariffs, bullying, antagonist words and policies, which potentially lead to trade wars. OR Continue to move forward with negotiated trade agreements which benefit all parties. The rest of the world seems to want to negotiate more free trade (TPP and the Europe/Canada agreement just this year alone). The US meanwhile, believes it can improve its trade relationships through tariffs and bullying.

JonSellers
JonSellers

Or China knows that real power is the ability to produce, not consume. That it is intensely meaningful to have people who know how to design things so that they can be produced competitively. People who are experienced at building and designing production facilities to create wealth at the lowest cost. To have millions of people who have seen problems and creatively resolved them. To have managers who know how to get employees to work hard and meaningfully. That in the long-term, being that nation, instead of a bunch of overweight, porn-addled hipsters hanging out at Kohl's, is going to be the nation in the world with real wealth and real power.

JonSellers
JonSellers

This was in response to "But it might also be just fabian tactics on their part: slowly building up their holdings in US capital, and ready to strike and take over when the US is weak."

JonSellers
JonSellers

American employer's negotiate the terms of trade with their employees and vice-versa. American companies negotiate the terms of trade with their customers and vendors. Each working to do what they believe is in their best interest. Why shouldn't each nation also do the same? American leaders should negotiate the terms of trade with other nations to maximize the income of Americans, not minimize the costs. Working to minimize costs is easy, as long as you're willing to minimize income with it.

Sechel
Sechel

We saw that George W Bush had to back away from tariffs. At least he was free trade in his core. Trump seems to have no such core principal and his team is nonchalant and detached when it comes to the risks of such a policy

JonSellers
JonSellers

@hef1: "Take a look from space. There are no imaginary lines. We are all humans and economic freedom is what will finally bind us together as a people." From space, there are not imaginary lines that demarcate your property from my use either. It is all imaginary and human created. I cannot freely use property you claim as yours. Economic freedom cannot really exist.

hef1
hef1

I think most humans strongly support property rights, my issue is with having a 3rd party (governments) deciding who I can and can't trade with. Some politician is determining how much of a tax (tariff) I have to pay on something based on it's country of origin. I purchase a lot of equipment for my business which is based on a lot of criteria. Price, quality, reputation, how they treat their employees, etc. I visit manufacturing plants. I can tell you with absolute certainty the country the product is produced in makes little to no difference. I don't want to be forced to buy an inferior product simply because it is made within an imaginary line some politicians drew up 250 years ago.
These tariffs have real life consequences. Just from my small perspective I had to cancel a large addition I had planned due to an increase in steel prices. Maybe my business is an anomaly, or perhaps this type of decision is widespread. I guess time will tell.

BillSanDiego
BillSanDiego

"For starters, US Meddling in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya. and Afghanistan have had negative consequences towards the ideal 'world peace.'"

BillSanDiego
BillSanDiego

They have also had negative consequences for US national security.

Rayner-Hilles
Rayner-Hilles

@JonSellers Heaven knows what China will establish as the new paradigm of power, but let us hope production has a special place in the Chinese world because there's nothing more evil in today's world than consumerism and bureaucracy.

As it stands now, power lies neither in the ability to produce or consume, but to finance. There's more trade in the Forex market in a day than real goods and services in a year. In other words: forget everything you were ever taught about mainstream economics, it's fantasy land.

AWC
AWC

Since most every "policy" governments impose on trade ends in misallocation of capital and resources, maybe no policy would be the best policy. Our government can't even balance it's own check book, let alone tell others how to balance theirs. Left alone, markets and commerce will ultimately seek and reach balance, with subsidized inefficient entities self destructing, as it should be, and the most efficient prospering. War isn't the answer, whether it be Trade or Military. And, most certainly, anyone who runs to .gov for any solution to a problem is not a Libertarian. This nut job has obviously not read Bastiat's most excellent work "The Law," which is required reading for anyone who aspires to become a Libertarian. The bigger government becomes, the more resourcefulness and capital it consumes. Until the day comes it finds it has consumed the last kernel of seed corn, and must resort to war to cover it's bureaucratic blunders.

AWC
AWC

And here I thought all I had to do was buy the Faangs and go fishing at Cabo.

AWC
AWC

FWIW, had dinner with some friends the other night. First topic of political discussion was Tariffs. It was unanimous, that all should run out and buy the new car and all the goods folks think they need, before the trade war jacks the prices. Being the conspiracy nut that I am, could this trade war talk be an orchestrated attempt to fire up Animal Spirits? Long shot, but I think I'm going to keep an eye on Money Velocity for a spell.

Snow_Dog
Snow_Dog

Well, the pension system in the US has been destroyed, does this infer therefore that the pension system has been saved?

Stuki
Stuki

“If the goal is free trade between nations….”

It’s not. It’s free trade between INDIVIDUALS. Without interference from self-aggrandizing yahoos claiming to speak for “nations.”

Wolfpack12
Wolfpack12

We haven't had free trade in my lifetime.

SleemoG
SleemoG

"When it becomes serious, you have to lie." -- that EU douchebag whose name escapes me now

glennjones
glennjones

Free trade does not exist in the world and trickle down economics is as orwellian as possible lol.