Sunday, June 24, 2012
“Free Trade” is Statist, not Libertarian
Some libertarian theory, especially the anarcho-capitalist variety, is a rather simplistic attempt to understand a complex subject. It reminds me of Marxism, another simple-minded ideology that takes five minutes to teach and a thousand years to get rid of.
One of the things that anarcho-capitalists are almost rabid about is “free trade.” They think it’s a great thing. It’s not. It’s a very bad thing. It’s statist, not libertarian.
Why is “free trade” statist? Because currently – and it has been for decades – it’s not free trade at all; it’s managed trade for the benefit of the 1% against the other 99%.
The political scientist Kevin Phillips, in his many mostly-excellent books, has pointed out that countries go through three phases: agricultural, industrial, then, finally and fatally, they metastasize into the terminal financial phase, which involves little more than shuffling money around and claiming it’s a wonderful thing. When countries reach that financial phrase they have passed their peaks and are on a steep downhill slide. Worse, it’s a prelude to economic collapse.
Phillips uses the examples of Spain, Holland, England…and now the United States. The U.S. was first an agricultural nation, so much so that Thomas Jefferson hoped it would always remain one, since he was impressed by the admirable character of farmers.
The agricultural phase doesn’t last. Then the U.S. industrialized. Now, it has mutated into the end-stage financial economy and the problems are so manifold I don’t have to list them. Let’s just say the problems with a financially-oriented economy are just horrible, and anyone with one eye open can see this.
Spain, Holland and England ultimately became financial economies. Every one of them collapsed. Of course, the court whores (aka court intellectuals) praised the wonders of their respective financial economies then, just as today they burble about “the information economy,” crushingly expensive schooling for the coming highly-paid jobs that will never exist, and other lies and propaganda.
Phillips, in his book Boiling Point, lists the characteristics of financial economies that lead to their collapse: “a diminishing concern for fading national industries, rising transnational values, support for minimal restraints on immigration, willingness to sell critical technology overseas and an eagerness of domestic capital to invest in rival foreign economies.”
Free trade did work to enrich the U.S. during the agricultural and industrial phases (John Hancock, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was referred to as “the Prince of Smugglers”). Back then, international free trade pretty much was free trade.
But not anymore. Since the U.S. is now deep into its financial phrase (and is pretty much in free-fall, not that the traitorous globalist 1% cares in the slightest), “free trade” doesn’t benefit anyone except the very wealthy “elites” (I use that term neutrally).
Some will claim that even if trade is managed, it can still benefit Americans. They cite Wal-Mart, an exploitative corporation which some of the more blind libertarians worship, as an example.
Wages stopped going up in 1973 for various reasons, but what all of them have in common is they were caused by the State interfering in the economy. Since then, wages have been flat and in many cases declining. (If the U.S. had maintained the growth rates of the ‘50s, the average wage today would be $100,000 a year.)
The economy has gotten so bad – and is going to stay bad – that many people are now on some kind of welfare – food cards, subsidized housing, medical cards, aid to dependent children.
Where do many of the people on welfare shop? Wal-Mart. How Wal-Mart (a corporation, and like all corporations is a creation of the State designed to benefit the owners against everyone else) is healthy for the American economy through poorly-paid jobs, with a clientele on welfare or unemployment (or else underemployed), selling imported goods manufactured by countries who wish the U.S. nothing but evil, is something only a “libertarian” could believe.
The existence of Wal-Mart is a sign of the decline – indeed decay – of the United States. If the American economy still had growth rates of 4% a year, as in did in the 1950s, and the average wage was now $100,000 a year, Wal-Mart probably wouldn’t exist, or else be a regional retailer for the lower classes.
(For that matter, you only need to wander through the stores to document the physical degradation of many Americans.)
I understand the concept of how free trade is supposed to enrich the U.S. We export our less productive jobs, the more productive ones here replace them, we send green pieces of paper overseas, foreigners send us DVD players and SUVs, they get richer, buy our products with the green pieces of paper we’ve sent them, our economy grows by investing the green pieces of paper here, and so everyone gets richer.
Even Milton Friedman, who did a lot of the Devil’s work during his statist/Monetarist career, fell for that argument. Unfortunately, the ideal is not what happens. International “free trade” doesn’t exist, not since the U.S. has entered its financial phase. And getting a cheap imported DVD player in exchange for a part-time $9 an hour job with no benefits because your $18 an hour job has been sent overseas…only a fool would think this is a good exchange.
Those deluded people urging an underemployed 50-year-old with an IQ of 104, whose blue-collar job was outsourced after 25 of employment, to go to college for four years in the vain attempt to get a degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) …it reminds me of something Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote in Leftism Revisited: “Leftists don’t merely understand human nature; they don’t understand it at all.”
Back when Spain was an empire (several hundred years ago) a cocky – and economically ignorant – Spaniard wrote this: “Let London manufacture those fine fabrics of hers to her heart’s content; Holland her chambrays; Florence her cloth; the Indies their beaver and vicuna; Milan her brocades; Italy and Flanders their linens…as long as our capital can enjoy them: the only thing it proves is that all nations train journeymen for Madrid and that Madrid is the queen of parliaments, for all the world serves her and she serves nobody.”
Does that quote sound familiar? It does to me. These days it comes from the caviar-and-brie-holes of the deluded, ignorant and arrogant court whores/court “intellectuals” supporting the hollowing out of the United States economy and the destruction of the middle class.
Where is Spain now? Not much better than a Third World country. The U.S. could follow – will follow, if we let it. We are, after all, making every mistake made by every country that collapsed in the past.
The United States could reverse its course. For one thing, we’re not a tiny maritime country the way England and Holland were. We’re a lot bigger and wealthier than Spain ever was. But we are firmly in the grip of the statist 1%, whose utter lack of concern for the decline of the U.S., and disdain and contempt for the shrinking middle-class, is painfully obvious.
Are libertarians helping things? To the extent they give up supporting statist policies such as open borders and the hollowing out of our domestic industries, yes. Otherwise, they are unwittingly playing into the hands of the smirking 1% that used the force and fraud of the State to steal 40% of the wealth of the United States.