The following is no proposal but an observation. Most, maybe all, of the world's current financial and economic woes can be credited to globalization, particularly to the proliferation of free trade agreements. There's a movement currently taking shape for a return to protectionism, a movement that is long overdue and ought to be welcomed by "commoners." You can be sure that this incipient movement will be fought tooth and nail by Wall Street and its apostles.

A nation ought to accept as a fundamental obligation the defense of its resources, its workers and its manufactures. I admire the recent nationalization action of Argentina's brave, intelligent president, Cristina Fernandez.

People in the U.S. weep and wail about outsourcing, unemployment, decline in standard of living and the threatened middle class. Well they should. Meanwhile they drive their imported vehicles over to SAMS or WalMart in order to buy products made in someone else's back yard.

Some people say that there needs to be a revolution. Maybe so, but first there needs to be an awakening.

There is a thoughtful essay on globalization at Project Syndicate's web page. Here's the address:

http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/free-trade-blinders

For those interested in the subject this book might be rewarding: William McKinley, Apostle of Protectionism. In addition to laying out McKinley's position in detail the book also contains a brief discussion of the opposing views of Jefferson (globalization) and Hamilton (protectionism) and why they held such divergent opinions. Wikipedia also has a pretty good analysis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protectionism

Comments

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood 2 years 18 weeks ago
#1

I certainly hope this return to protectionism is real and sooner than later.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 18 weeks ago
#2

Thanks, Laborisgood, for the comment. I'm with you but if there's a politician (certainly no presidential candidate) who favors it I haven't heard about it. The saddest part is that most of the people still swallow the bitter pill of globalization.

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood 2 years 18 weeks ago
#3

I'm hopeful. Globalization is more of a top-down thing while it's alter ego protectionism is a bottom-up thing. Look at the economic turmoil in the world. Maybe we have just about tapped out the globalization thing to the point where the "consumers" at the bottom of the pyramid scheme are beginning to wise up and rise up.

I'm fairly certain that within 5 to 10 years our economic world will be drastically altered from what we are accustomed to. Unfortunately, that alteration may not be for the better. Then again, "better" is a very subjective term. Perhaps a wholesale recalibration of our economic priorities towards a less wealthy direction might actually be better.

Maybe the protectionist politicians are still an election cycle or two away from grabbing that baton.

Alberto Ceras 2 years 18 weeks ago
#4

This comment from another web site makes sense to me:

Robert Goldschmidt, Ph.D in Computer Science MIT

We have a 4-decade destruction of global wage-based demand due to outsourcing, automation and oil depletion. This has resulted in the rise of soverign debts and is not sustainable. Restore 30% tariffs to achieve higher wages and shorter work weeks.

In my view inequality is a symptom of a shrinking wage-based demand pie. As the pie shrinks, there is ever fiercer competition for each group to get their "fair share". When there is contention for limited resources, the powerful, the moneyed get more and the weak, the poor get less.

The underlying problem is the weakness of median wage-based demand. This has been eroded over the past three decades by a combination of outsourcing to extremely low labor rate countries, automation and increasing resource costs. These causes are structural and will not disappear simply by stimulus or austerity programs. They will require trade barriers with countries of order of magnitude lower wages, a reduced work week and the strengthening of unions so that wages can again track productivity.

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood 2 years 18 weeks ago
#5

Sounds like a fantasy .... one I'm all in with. If we could only get your average American worker to realize that free trade and globalization are not in their best interest. We have our work cut out for us.

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