Mises.org is wrong: Hitler traded extensively with the Soviet Union before Unternehmen Barbarossa. Weimar’s Sozialdemokratische Partei and the Catholic Zentrum did the same. In fact, Imperial Germany’s secret war manufactures were moved to the brand-new Soviet Union before the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
Once, since time out of mind, all men acknowledged that economic union was impossible without political union.
Postwar America accepted “free” trade (in reality, heavily
restricted on both sides) with Japan and Germany only because our
troops occupied Okinawa and Mitteleuropa. We paid this price for the benefit of ensuring the next war would be fought on someone else’s dirt.
If free trade is great, why does China not just import everything from the U.S.? Why manipulate its currency to keep cheap exports moving? Why should we thank them for this? Do they get nothing out of it?
Outlawing trade 100% would obviously damage America: isn’t it also obvious that zero restrictions on trade could also damage a nation? A mindless trade policy is probably a bad one; one based on slogans is hardly better.
I am incapable of hearing economists mewling about how we “enjoy” cheap Asian cars without wondering how they would react to cheap Asian heroin in their children’s schools. Or free “A”’s, awarded to the children without any effort.
Obviously, “cheap” is not an automatic good when applied to drugs or grades: why are cars different? Our industrial base is a precious, irreplaceable good; so is our employment base. Yes, there is a cost to keeping a certain amount of manufacturing in the US; we may be better off paying it. The Defense Department had a strict policy of building all weapons on American soil (does it still?). During WWII, almost all domestic manufacturers became war manufacturers. Would the US have been better off without those civilian manufacturers? Are we necessarily better off now without them?
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
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