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  • Paint it Black

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on September 30th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Well, if this isn’t a good reason for a grad student passionately interested in English literature – meaning the study of classic literature written in English (starting with Beowulf and running all the way to Tom Stoppard) to avoid the U of Chicago and embrace a program of self-education then I don’t know what is. It’s akin to being invited to a grand, lavish multi-course banquet and then only allowed a single tiny plate of hors d oeuvres. Which you must consume, and praise lavishly, and not even consider looking over at the main course. Or for another comparison – be fascinated by American pop music all through the 20th century, and then only be permitted to specialize in Motown. Because … reasons. Anyone fascinated by Chaucer or Tin Pan Alley is just plain out of luck, because of systemic racism, and overwhelming whiteness of the culture and the stain of slavery, et cetera, which is usually the reason given. Frankly, I think it’s just momentarily fashionable to Paint everything Black.

    I also wonder if this, along with the Wuhan Flu, will spell the end of the “everybody goes to college!” madness. Spending a bomb for four (or five, or six) years of political and social indoctrination for a relatively useless degree in interpretive underwater puppetry and racking up student debt which will never be paid off on a Starbucks barista or a Soros agitator salary while you live in your old room at your parents’ house for the next two or three decades must, at this late date, seem like a bad idea. Of course, if you are genuinely fascinated by interpretive underwater puppetry, realize that the jobs out there for credentialed artists in that field are probably pretty slim, and perhaps a minor in something useful like HVAC technology or welding would allow you to get a good job, an apartment and a car of your own (even a boat and a lakeside cabin!) while you indulge your love of interpretive underwater puppetry on weekends. Not everyone belongs in college, and on observing the progressive snake-pit that higher academia has become, perhaps even the intelligent don’t belong there either.

    As for me, my own degree was in English, but I really do wish that I had learned to weld or do fine carpentry. Any skill that someone will pay you a good wage to exercise is worth the trouble of acquiring. I did take an industrial drafting course once, for what that is worth. At least I came out of my degree program fairly well read, able to spell, use correct grammar and punctuation, which has not been the case for some years. (I also came out with enough money ahead that I could spend summer after graduation traveling in Great Britain. Also not the case of late.)

    As for the fashion of painting everything Black, I wonder how long that will last. That’s the thing about fads – when everyone gets sick and tired of the fad, or become aware of the specious intellectual underpinning, it all comes crashing down. Look what happened to violent revolution in the 60s, disco in the 70s, or the recovered memory and associated Satanic abuse in day-care centers in the 80s. The inherent ridiculousness of it all became apparent, or ordinary people get tired of violence and lies for profit … and bye-bye, fad. I’m seeing the start of ordinary people of all colors and backgrounds get sick to death of being lectured about race by grifters. Discuss as you wish.

     

    30 Responses to “Paint it Black”

    1. Kirk Says:

      Putting people who hate their own culture and who have been indoctrinated to feel guilty about their own identities in charge of perpetuating and caretaking over that culture’s institutions is a recipe for disaster. Yet, that is precisely what we have done, and are now surprised to see that these “elites” disparage that which gave them birth and nurtured them.

      They’re not elite, and they’re not that bright. As I observed back in the days when International Socialism/Communism seemed ascendant in the popular culture, these idiots seem to think that by identifying with and supporting the commies and their fellow-travelers, that they will somehow be immune from the fate they plan for the inconvenient “rest of us”. Instead, the people that take over will be recruiting prison guards from among the reliable class, co-opting them to herd the race- and culture-traitors into the camps where they will suffer the fate traditionally granted traitors by the winning side. The opposition is not as foolish as the Nazis were, to permit any such thing as Quislings to prosper, knowing full well that once a traitor, always a traitor.

      Lenin didn’t go looking for his NKVD rank-and-file from among the ranks of the true-believer idealists. He went straight for the former Tsarist Cheka types, who knew very well how to run a police state, and who also realized that in a police state, it’s best to be one of the guards on the towers than to be an inmate.

      You just have to read the histories. Which these people refuse to do.

    2. PenGun Says:

      “I also wonder if this, along with the Wuhan Flu”

      That’s unlikely as the C19 virus was found in the sewers of Venice in Dec of last year.

    3. Dan from Madison Says:

      Thanks for the HVAC shout out! HVAC technicians can live anywhere they want and always will have a well paying job. My average customers age (I own an HVAC distributor) is probably in the late forties to early fifties and getting older. As an added bonus, with some experience in the field, you can make the move to the inside and work for me and sell to your tech friends – no more rooftops in the rain and cold!

    4. Sgt. Mom Says:

      You’re welcome, Dan! We are in Texas and under the care of a local company which has absolutely awesome techs – and yes, the job means sweating it out in rooftops and seemingly long hours, but just about all the Jon Wayne techs that have visited us to take care of the various HVAC, plumbing and electrical woes have been youngish, thirty-ish. In Texas, HVAC people get paid very well. It’s a necessity here and very well appreciated.

    5. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      “That’s the thing about fads – when everyone gets sick and tired of the fad, or become aware of the specious intellectual underpinning, it all comes crashing down.”

      Excellent point. Which leaves us pondering the question of what fad will come next?

      A tentative suggestion, in these days in which Joe Biden (as a mere private citizen) cannot phone the Democrats running such hell-holes as Portland & Seattle with a suggestion to stop supporting violent black-shirted & masked Anti-Fascists — the coming fad could be Gun Culture.

      Case in point — the woman running for re-election to Congress in my part of the world is (sadly) an extreme Leftist who even voted for Nancy Pelosi’s proposed gun control bills. Yet her election ads mainly feature her in camouflage gear shooting at God’s wild creatures with everything from pistols to shotguns to rifles. Clearly, internal Democrat polling is telling her something very different from what the Swamp wants us to think.

      Maybe the business opportunity in Biden’s “Covid Everlasting” world will be converting some of the abandoned shopping centers into woman-friendly indoor shooting ranges? Shoot off a few rounds, buy a new shotgun, spend 45 minutes in the gym, get your nails done, and have a latte while someone washes & details your car. This business concept could be dynamite! All we need is a good name for the franchise.

    6. OBloodyHell Says:

      “I also wonder if this, along with the Wuhan Flu”

      That’s unlikely as the C19 virus was found in the sewers of Venice in Dec of last year.

      AAAAand once again, Pengun bloviates cluelessly.

      A French hospital had already identified some patients misdiagnosed with flu in December, too.

      This means that the virus was loose sooner than originally realized — Oct. or November — not that it did not come from Wuhan.

    7. OBloodyHell Says:

      I would assert that the real thing to grasp is that we have moved on from an Industrial Economy to an IP & Services Economy.

      So pining away for those “jobs lost to China”, etc., is senseless. The future is in IP creation or offering a service people want or need. That latter only means “McJobs” if you only have “McSkills”. Hence the utility of having skills such as HVAC, Welding, or Fine Carpentry. While everyone wants to have “goodies”, and manufacturing (and, increasingly, 3d printing and other one-off machining techs like computer lathes and cutting systems) can provide those things, there is also a desire to have things uniquely “yours”… and that is where talented craftsmen come in.

      James P. Hogan had an interesting story, back in the 80s, ,”Voyage From Yesteryear” (1982), that posited a post-Industrial society that was fully developed. I think he was too simplistic (as is Star Trek) in terms of the need for actual economics and decision-making (there will always be scarcities, and thus a need for allocation of those scarcities and decisions about those allocations), as well as the dangers of an aberrant individual in a space-level culture, but there were certainly aspects of where we are headed which are apparent there, along with questions

      The point is, we should be training artisans all around — people who can create IP effectively, as well as people who can make unique things effectively, but also with an artistic sense. Not just woodworking, but actually being creative in your woodworking — carving, etching, creating effects in wood that make your creations different from mass-produced stuff. Other materials, too — metal (hence welding) and stone (including casting). Landscaping, Water fountains… the possibilities are endless. And while some of these skills require intellect, many do not.

      It may be that one of the biggest tricks to the future is discerning where a person’s talents may lie — especially if they are NOT intellectually gifted enough to find them on their own. This is particularly important with lower-IQ individuals, lest they become societal burdens needlessly. Just because you’re crappy at picking things up from books, doesn’t mean you cannot possibly create gorgeous works carving wood. There’s a reason the term “idiot savant” exists. But the fact that a good 10% of humanity is “generally dysfunctional” by intelligence (<85 IQ), means we need to work to find their abilities. 10% of the people on earth is SEVEN HUNDRED MILLION people. It behooves us to find talents they may have for our own benefit.

      =====
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyage_from_Yesteryear

    8. David Foster Says:

      “This is particularly important with lower-IQ individuals, lest they become societal burdens needlessly. Just because you’re crappy at picking things up from books, doesn’t mean you cannot possibly create gorgeous works carving wood. ” That is true. But it’s also true that there are a lot of people…some high-IQ, some low-IQ…who *can’t* create gorgeous *and saleable* works carving wood, because either: (a) they lack the visual and manual skills required, or (b) they may have those skills, but lack an aesthetic sense, or (c) they do have an aesthetic sense, but it is different enough from that of the population as a whole to make their works unmarketable at a level allowing them to support themselves.

      Still, some people do it…I know a few people supporting themselves as artists and musicians, though in a pretty marginal way…but it’s not clear how far this can scale.

    9. Xennady Says:

      Hence the utility of having skills such as HVAC, Welding, or Fine Carpentry.

      What do you imagine welding to be useful for in the absence of manufacturing? Sculpture?

      So pining away for those “jobs lost to China”, etc., is senseless.

      Well, one important use for welding is for shipbuilding. And one important American industry with myriad jobs lost to China- and other places- is shipbuilding.

      Or I should say was an important industry because it now almost completely disappeared, to the extent that the US Navy can’t find a spot to repair the fire-damaged USS Bonhomme Richard in the puerile remnants of the industry. Worse, the US has apparently lost the ability to design new warships successfully, as multiple classes of recent ships have been too expensive to build in any numbers, outright failures not worth building, or most recently, foreign-designed. Meanwhile, China now has the world’s largest navy, and is also building its own fleet of large carriers.

      Do you see the multiple problems in all that?

      The point is, we should be training artisans all around — people who can create IP effectively, as well as people who can make unique things effectively, but also with an artistic sense.

      Awesome. I will note that China has stolen vast amounts amounts of Western IP and bought more, without any effective response from the West. More problems, I hope we agree.

      James P. Hogan had an interesting story, back in the 80s, ,”Voyage From Yesteryear” (1982), that posited a post-Industrial society that was fully developed.

      I read that book when it came out. I was entertained, but I think E. William Brown has done the post-scarcity thing much better in his book Perilous Waif, but he did it roughly 40 years later.

      No matter. We do not yet live in a post-scarcity society.

      10% of the people on earth is SEVEN HUNDRED MILLION people. It behooves us to find talents they may have for our own benefit.

      Do you propose to enslave them? I would guess no, but what do you mean “we”? If as you assert it is my responsibility to take care of the mentally disabled- most of whom are foreigners- then for all practical purposes I am a slave.

      Do I get a say in this? Or am I doomed to servitude?

      Late in the last century I worked in a steel mill. While there, I watched the industry get eviscerated. American companies were expected to compete with relentlessly subsidized foreign firms, without notice or complaint by the globalist American government. I recall reading that the Italian government had built an entire integrated mill for one firm, which I think has stuck with me because a lot of the machinery in the plant I worked at was Italian. I further recall the management of GM at the time complaining that the strong US dollar was destroying American manufacturing, which I think was spot on. Triffin’s dilemma, etc.

      That’s why we lost those jobs to China- and elsewhere- and it hasn’t made us richer or given us a post scarcity future.

      It’s made socialism popular with the young and ignorant.

      Please tell me you see and understand that problem.

    10. Malcolm Kirkpatrick Says:

      “If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.” –Frank Zappa
      Mandatory (on schools which receive tax subsidies) credit by exam for all courses required for graduation would bust the $1 trillion per year US K-PhD credential racket.
      University faculty are articulate, well-paid, and have lots of free time. This gives them simultaneously the incentive and the ability to defend their interests in the hearing rooms of your State legislature. Reform from within is unlikely.The US President exercises legitimate authority over two K-12 school systems (the BIE schools and the DOD schools) and five post-secondary institutions (the service academies). The President could order these schools to open online branches which:
      1. Charge no tuition
      2. Employ no faculty
      3. Admit anyone who applies
      4. Define courses by their syllabi
      5. Grant credit by exam
      6. Licensee independent agencies to administer exams at a fee to be negotiated between the testing agency and the student.
      The US government employs tens of thousands of people. The President could order Executive branch agencies to accept diplomas and degrees earned through exam as equivalent to certificates earned through attendance at brick-and-mortar schools.
      Let competition between Sylvan Learning Centers and the University of Phoenix drive the cost of a high school diploma or a college degree down to the cost of books and of grading exams.

    11. Christopher B Says:

      Xennady Says:

      October 1st, 2020 at 5:28 am

      Late in the last century I worked in a steel mill. While there, I watched the industry get eviscerated. American companies were expected to compete with relentlessly subsidized foreign firms, without notice or complaint by the globalist American government.

      I wanted to pull this out because it illustrates a point a really smart guy named Peter Zeihan likes to make by saying that during the Cold War the US bribed up an alliance to fight the USSR using trade and economic policy. ‘Free trade’ was never about economics for us. It was our defense policy but for propaganda purposes we couldn’t admit that, and it appears that we even managed to fool ourselves. Once you get this it illuminates a lot of what’s being going on as we grapple with the hangover from winning the Cold War a generation ago.

    12. Mike K Says:

      What do you imagine welding to be useful for in the absence of manufacturing? Sculpture?

      When I was examining kids in Phoenix for the military, I saw two kids, 20 or so, who were learning underwater welding. In Arizona of all places. Both told me there was great demand.

      I had a neighbor in CA before I moved who was a freelancer welder. He was very busy.

    13. dirtyjobsguy Says:

      A past CEO of BMW (probably in the 1980s or 90s told an audience that he was a licensed truck/bus driver in Germany. He felt that it was important to have a fall back skill to keep him from panicking and to ground him (I think he did drive some busses with BMW employees periodically).

      Something like this is essential for colleges to keep the idea (often lost or forgotten) of education for its own sake.

    14. Mike K Says:

      At one time, and perhaps at present, an Engineer student in Germany had to do an apprenticeship of some sort that was mechanical. When I was in college several of us worked and went to school part time.

    15. Xennady Says:

      I wanted to pull this out because it illustrates a point a really smart guy named Peter Zeihan likes to make by saying that during the Cold War the US bribed up an alliance to fight the USSR using trade and economic policy. ‘Free trade’ was never about economics for us. It was our defense policy but for propaganda purposes we couldn’t admit that, and it appears that we even managed to fool ourselves. Once you get this it illuminates a lot of what’s being going on as we grapple with the hangover from winning the Cold War a generation ago.

      I think this is spot on, and thank you for noting it.

    16. MCS Says:

      When you think about it, that might have been one of the few really smart government policies. Our allies against the Soviets were helped in their recovery from the war and our industries should have been improved by the competition. All with no cost to the taxpayers.

      Instead, while our allies went ahead with the newest tech, our industries just rode out their relative advantage of not having been reduced to rubble until it disappeared and they went broke.

    17. Xennady Says:

      When you think about it, that might have been one of the few really smart government policies.

      What policy? Please elaborate.

      Our allies against the Soviets were helped in their recovery from the war

      By what? The Marshall Plan? Billions of dollars extracted from Americans to help our competitors?

      and our industries should have been improved by the competition. All with no cost to the taxpayers.

      Wasn’t the Marshall Plan a cost to the taxpayers? Are industries actually improved when they are forced to subsidize their competitors? I suspect not.

      Instead, while our allies went ahead with the newest tech, our industries just rode out their relative advantage of not having been reduced to rubble until it disappeared and they went broke.

      How were our bombed-out allies able to afford the newest tech? Wait, I know. The Marshall Plan, plus the easy access to the US market we allowed, plus our facile toleration of their mercantilism, all policies we adopted to win the Cold War.

      The Cold War ended decades ago. Policies have not changed. The Deep State, the political class, call it what you will, still retains a lamprey-like attachment to the policies adopted decades ago to win that conflict even if they are obviously silly today.

      Free trade is one of them. Rant mode off.

      Mike K,

      I pondered good long time about what you wrote earlier, thinking of a response. Effectively, I didn’t come up with anything much better than that I don’t really disagree with what you actually said, but let me saddle up my political hobby horses and rant.

      I’ve done that enough to be bored with it, and I expect everyone else would be as well.

    18. Anonymous Says:

      It has never been free trade, it has always been trade restrictions. The only question has been the negotiated terms of the restrictions applying to each side and enforcement. Mutually lowering these inefficiencies provides mutually beneficial gains. The enforcement of agreements is crucial. There are security reasons to restrict certain items from trade. For example, having your key strategic goods manufactured by a state controlled, dishonest and adversarial country is highly risky.

      Since trade agreements are governmental by nature and offer benefits and costs to major economic sectors compared to the alternatives, the incentives for corruption are significant. This factor mostly explains how we got into this mess.

      Death6

    19. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Death 6: “It has never been free trade, it has always been trade restrictions.”

      Absolutely right. Agreements like NAFTA were Managed Trade, not Free Trade. And because the US Political Class is incompetent, it has been Badly Managed Trade.

      A better way to manage international trade would be simply to level the playing field. If a US manufacturer is required to pay at least a Minimum Wage, then anything imported into the US should also be manufactured by people receiving the same Minimum Wage. Similarly, if a US manufacturer is required to meet specific environmental standards, anything imported into the United States should have to come from factories that meet precisely the same standards. Then we would have true even competition, and the most efficient manufacturers would prevail.

    20. MCS Says:

      Xennady,
      Anybody that’s familiar with the U.S. steel industry knows exactly what I mean. While the Germans and Japanese were investing in modern equipment, their U.S. counterparts continued to nurse along 40-50 year old plants until practically the only thing made in this country is rebar and the cheapest merchant grade stuff. If you need high strength alloy, you get it from over seas.

      In 1945, the U.S. steel industry had literally 0 meaningful competition outside of Britain. They sat on their hands, fat, dumb and happy until their obsolete plants closed one by one while the rest of the world moved on.

      It could have easily happened in the auto sector but the visibility got them a bailout and they started to pay attention to quality instead of tail fins barely in time, maybe.

      The Marshal plan kept Europe from starving, just. The Brits decided that having beaten the Nazis, they’d emulate them by nationalizing everything. This worked really well as we all know. Again, maybe they wised up in time. They won the war and lost their industry.

      The alternative was for us to carry the entire cost of keeping the Soviets on the far side of the Fulda Gap while Europe subsisted at 19th century levels. NATO actually worked fairly well until the U.S.S.R imploded. All those tanks just beyond the frontier concentrated even the weak minds of the Euro-socialists.

    21. David Foster Says:

      Gavin…”A better way to manage international trade would be simply to level the playing field. If a US manufacturer is required to pay at least a Minimum Wage, then anything imported into the US should also be manufactured by people receiving the same Minimum Wage. Similarly, if a US manufacturer is required to meet specific environmental standards, anything imported into the United States should have to come from factories that meet precisely the same standards. ”

      But how could this possibly be implemented without a vast (and very expensive) army of international inspectors?

    22. Xennady Says:

      Anybody that’s familiar with the U.S. steel industry knows exactly what I mean. While the Germans and Japanese were investing in modern equipment, their U.S. counterparts continued to nurse along 40-50 year old plants until practically the only thing made in this country is rebar and the cheapest merchant grade stuff. If you need high strength alloy, you get it from over seas.

      This is the usual bovine excrement from the free trade set and I’m tired of it.

      I know the US industry was investing in modern equipment because I saw that equipment with my own eyes. When I left, that particular steel company had just invested vast sums on a brand new line to hot-dip sheet metal in molten tin, supposedly producing a better product for the automotive industry. I also know the integrated industry as a whole was worried about competition from minimills that could cast a 2-3 inch strand at 360 inches per minutes instead of a foot-thick slab at 60 inches per minute. And don’t get me started about Nucor or AK, or the corporate metric I saw about the vast improvement in man hours required per net ton shipped. So, yes, I will assert that I am familiar enough with the industry to opine about its fate.

      Bluntly, none of that investment effing mattered, because none of these companies were capable of dealing with foreign mercantilism. Essentially, every American steel company- and also every American industrial company as well- has been competing with the entire European Union as a whole, and more recently the brutal totalitarian dictatorship of China, and not just some foreign firms which would quietly go disappear if they ran out of money.

      I’m not surprised that myriad American companies have gone bankrupt, sold out, or left the country. I’m surprised so many haven’t.

      And the response from the US government, supposedly representing those companies and the voters who work for them?

      Lectures about the glories of free trade.

      Not good enough, which is how you folks ended up with Donald Trump as president, instead some globalist traitor. Enough people saw through the globalist lies, having seen the falsity with their own eyes like I did.

    23. Xennady Says:

      But how could this possibly be implemented without a vast (and very expensive) army of international inspectors?

      Tariffs, that’s how.

    24. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      David F: “But how could this possibly be implemented without a vast (and very expensive) army of international inspectors?”

      Simply put the burden of proof on the importer. The importer has to demonstrate that she is not using child labor or paying people peanuts. The importer has to demonstrate that she is complying with relevant US regulations. The importer pays all the costs of certification, including the costs of confirmation by US authorized agents.

      To be serious, the suggestion is slightly tongue-in-cheek. The main aim would be to show politicians the high cost of all their feel-good regulations, and maybe make them a bit more realistic & focused. It would also highlight the hypocrisy of Lefties killing working class jobs in the US — and then importing the same products from Far East sweatshops using underpaid child labor.

    25. MCS Says:

      Xennady,
      The steel industry I’m talking about was dying by 1970 and dead by 1980, I drove past the ruins in eastern Ohio and Pittsburgh 15 years ago and it’s still rusting away. What you’re talking about might as well be a different universe. On your terms, you’re right that one sided “fair” trade killed whatever chance they had. The only place that American production stayed competitive was in sheet steel for forming into things like cars.

      Structural steel design is completely different now. There is a lot less use of heavy rolled shapes and a lot more use of members fabricated from plate by welding, much of it robotic. There’s also a lot more use of pre and post stressed concrete where structural steel would have been used for bridges and overpasses.

      If protectionism worked, the American Merchant Marine should be thriving. It’s illegal to transport anything between American ports in a ship that isn’t built in America and crewed by Americans. Actually, it’s nearly moribund. They import American oil and natural gas into the East Coast by way of Europe because it’s cheaper and quicker than having to depend on the few and small Jones Act ships to do it. The refineries in the Caribbean exist because they can import American oil on foriegn flagged tankers and export it back the same way. The American Merchant Marine has been protected to irrelevance. Residents of Puerto Rico and Hawaii are especially fond of the prosperity brought to them by the Jones Act.

      I doubt that the majority of cruise ships are built in Germany because of the low prevailing wages. Almost all the rest are built in France, Italy and Turkey. Turkey is probably the only place with wages lower than the U.S.

      There is no substitute for competitiveness, protection just allows the weak to totter on until they collapse.

    26. Anonymous Says:

      “it has been Badly Managed Trade.”

      Not really. It was managed to protect the powerful interests and provide economic rents to be tapped by the political-industrial-agricultural complex. The only thing that saved whatever part of comparative advantage remained was the political competition between US export producers and US import competitors. Now our Chinese “friends” have entered the game by buying our political and corporate class off with “opportunities” for investment there. They do play be the mercantilist model. That is something that can be reasonably be controlled by our trade agreements.

      So a recommendation is to impose our minimum wage market distortions on imports? OK, less exports, less imports, workers on both sides of that out of their jobs. High costs of goods and lower employment net. It’s not that simple as impose a tariff or a regulation on importers working conditions. Do you think we can impose our market interventions on everyone else? It makes us less trade competitive (high cost of US production). Let’s double down on that and put those dang foreigners back in their rice paddies where they belong and let the big three reintroduce the K-car clones.

      Death6

    27. Jonathan Says:

      Everybody thinks that his favorite types of govt interference in markets will benefit the people he likes at the expense of the people he doesn’t like.

    28. Brian Says:

      “Everybody thinks that his favorite types of govt interference in markets will benefit the people he likes at the expense of the people he doesn’t like.”
      I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic here, but the sentence sort of changes when your “everybody” is used to refer not to random internet commenters, or to economists, but to powerful politicians who personally stand to get very, very wealthy.
      The proposition that the establishment needed to destroy Donald Trump since he might be a threat to the accepted way of business in DC, where they all got personally filthy rich, has nothing to refute it.

    29. Mike K Says:

      I think the paid off politicians are just a cost of doing business to the shadowy billionaires in our “financialist” economy. There was an old saying that “It can be profitable to even handle money.” That is what we now see in our would be rulers. What was Jeff Bezos’ background before he started Amazon?

      His degree was BSEE and computer science but he worked in Wall Street for 8 years.

      Born in 1964 in New Mexico, Bezos had an early love of computers and studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton University. After graduation, he worked on Wall Street, and in 1990 he became the youngest senior vice president at the investment firm D.E. Shaw.

      Four years later, Bezos quit his lucrative job to open Amazon.com, an online bookstore that became one of the Internet’s biggest success stories. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post, and in 2017 Amazon acquired Whole Foods.

      Amazon does a lot more than sell fluorescent hoses(my wife bought on last week) online. Bezos has a bunch of politicians on retainer.

    30. Xennady Says:

      The steel industry I’m talking about was dying by 1970 and dead by 1980, I drove past the ruins in eastern Ohio and Pittsburgh 15 years ago and it’s still rusting away. What you’re talking about might as well be a different universe. On your terms, you’re right that one sided “fair” trade killed whatever chance they had. The only place that American production stayed competitive was in sheet steel for forming into things like cars.

      I missed the part in your argument where you noticed foreign mercantilism, which is typical of free traders. Compete you say, not noticing that any given US company gets to compete with essentially the entirety of any given nation, without any response from our own equivalent entity, the United States government.

      As Christopher B noted above, we had good reasons for this policy for a good long time. They ended, but the policy never changed. About the steel industry circa 1980, I’d say you’re roughly correct. I refer you to a book entitled “The Wolf Finally Came,” which I read while employed in the industry. But I got that job in the 1990s, and it wasn’t the same. The really bad companies went away- personal anecdotes redacted- and the better companies were doing- well, better.

      Then came China. Free trade dogma never noticed. The mercantilist policies of that brutal and murderous communist regime were allowed to bankrupt, buyout, or steal the IP of myriad American companies, including steel companies. If the product was or poor quality- well, the Chinese company got paid- and was the American customer going to sue China? Sure, sure. Now, China has the world’s largest navy, with two aircraft carriers now, and is planning to build some unknown number more. Meanwhile, the USN can’t find a spot in the regular repair/maintenance queue of the puerile remnants of the American shipbuilding industry to fix the fire-damaged Bon Homme Richard.

      If protectionism worked, the American Merchant Marine should be thriving. It’s illegal to transport anything between American ports in a ship that isn’t built in America and crewed by Americans. Actually, it’s nearly moribund. They import American oil and natural gas into the East Coast by way of Europe because it’s cheaper and quicker than having to depend on the few and small Jones Act ships to do it. The refineries in the Caribbean exist because they can import American oil on foriegn flagged tankers and export it back the same way. The American Merchant Marine has been protected to irrelevance. Residents of Puerto Rico and Hawaii are especially fond of the prosperity brought to them by the Jones Act.

      Anyone appreciate my segway back to ships? I heart you.

      Anyway, I remember when Reagan ended the shipping subsidies that kept American shipyards in business. At the time, I’ve read that there were 70 ocean-going, competitively-functional ships under construction in American shipyards, which were supposedly 25% more costly than ships built in South Korea at the time.

      I suggest a rational nation-state would have taken action to enhance the competitiveness of its own shipyards instead of saying mehhhh and letting them be destroyed. Possible actions include informing South Korea that we might re-evaluate our alliance if they continued to out-compete our shipyards, competitively devaluing our currency, or denying South Korean-built ships access to American ports. Or, domestically, preventing the insane, awful union rules that were so ruinous to American shipyards as well as to the American steel industry, by using the armed might of the state. The US government can write new laws and regulations, etc, etc.

      That matters. Remember, rational nation-states take account of their own interests- and I suggest it has not been in the interest of the United States to have our shipyards become pathetic shadows of what they once were. I suggest this, because now we cannot arrange to repair a fire-damaged navy ship in peacetime. That should be ringing alarm bells, but free trade uber alles, so mehhhhh.

      Not only that, but a functional shipbuilding industry- respected as the significant national asset it would be, if we had a competent government- could quite easily move American oil and natural gas around and ship things to Puerto Rico and Hawaii as well as any magical foreign competitor. These foreign Caribbean refineries would not exist, period, with a competent US government.

      So no, it isn’t only about wages. It’s about competent governance, which the United States sorely lack now, and has for a long time past.

      Trump can’t fix everything, especially that.

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