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  • What will Trump do after January 20, 2021 ?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on December 18th, 2020 (All posts by )

    It is quite unlikely that the election fraud can be reversed before Biden is sworn in. I don’t expect any of the nonsense the left has been predicting if that occurs. Trump will leave office peacefully but will not attend the “inauguration,” which will probably be “virtual” anyway.

    What will he do next ? He is the titular head of the Republican Party, and the choice of 98% of the 75 million voters who supported him. He got 10 million additional votes this year compared to 2016.

    Here is one observation.;

    Trump may or may not purposely dominate the political scene in the background as Teddy Roosevelt did from 1909 – 1912 and then run again in 2024, but I argue that Trumpism will dominate the scene for a long time to come, and that any successful GOP presidential nominee will need to be a Trumpist. I go further, in fact, and believe the shuffling of the issue map and the realignment of voting coalitions are as substantial as FDR and the New Deal—and it took FDR four terms to effect that change.

    I don’t see Trump running again in 2024. He will be as old as Biden is now and, while he is a good deal healthier than Biden is, the party will need new blood to carry on. What then?

    This does not seem realistic.

    “I received a call from President Trump last week. We chatted about the election briefly [and] he made it clear that he wasn’t giving up on fighting for a second term,” said Eric Bolling, a Sinclair host and friend of the Trump family who appeared on Trump’s reality TV show years ago. “I mentioned to him that I believe whatever happens with the legal fights, he would emerge as the biggest media personality on the planet. Trump has a clear opportunity to be a media mega-personality post-presidency.” 

    “I think an Apprentice/Celebrity Apprentice revival would be a humongous hit,” Bolling added. “This iteration would be ratings gold for whomever is fortunate enough to get the reboot.”

    That is the least likely possibility, in my opinion.

    What else?

    I’d rather see Trump get involved with something like Newsmax or just generally working to increase the conservative footprint in news media. Since Fox News has become sort of like the Justice Roberts of the news world, there’s a very real opportunity to capture a very large and underserved audience. And with the tech monopolists brazenly practicing story suppression for the Dems, it’s more important than ever.

    That is a thought. How about this ?

    In my opinion Trump should get together with someone like Vince McMahon and invest in something like Parler, expand the platform to take on twitter and facebook simultaneously. I’d bet taking them down a peg or two would be two would be very satisfying to him, and it would be a huge platform if it worked.

    There is a good chance that he will be blocked on Twitter after he leaves office, although Twitter would be foolish to do so financially. Parler is an alternative, as iWe is an alternative to Facebook. I have joined both but not used them significantly. I never joined Twitter and have used Facebook mostly for baby pictures and the like.

    Would he stay in the hotel business ? His kids have been running much of that the past five years and , while some like Ivanka might have political ambitions, I don’t see him getting back into development. My personal opinion is that the consequences of the virus and the insane reaction by Democrat Mayors and Governors have killed many cities. New York City is bleeding emigrants.

    It will be interesting to see if he chooses to supervise the transition of the GOP from a corporate, Chamber of Commerce, party to a populist one. I think that is coming and he is the likely one to lead it. Third parties do not do well in our binary system. The old Republican Party, and many of its stalwarts, like Mitch McConnell, seem out of date, if not beholden to China. Ross Perot and Sarah Palin were warnings ignored. The Tea Party was an attempt that failed because they (we) lacked leadership. Obama went after the Tea Party with every department of the federal government weaponized. It resembled the assault on Trump the past four years in intensity and motive.

    What if the country starts to separate? If the leftist radicals behind Biden try to enact their agenda, their real agenda, we could see a cold Civil War. They would be foolish to pick a hot one with the segment of the population that is comprised of most military veterans and which owns 350 million guns. A book written about such a peaceful separation is “America 3.0”

    The analysis of American history is worth the price of the book and the time to read it. I wish the recommendations for recovery were more likely to be adopted. There are some excellent points about future trends, as in medicine for example. I like some of the suggestions for defense policy. The whole thing is a nice exercise in predicting the future. I just wish it would happen that way. I previously reviewed George Friedman’s  The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century . I think I like this one better and highly recommend it.

    I was not optimistic about their suggestions in 2013 but then world has changed markedly since then. We could end up with a country that has blue crusts on each coast. The rest solid red. Chicago is a blue island that is failing. Maybe Canada would take them.

     

    74 Responses to “What will Trump do after January 20, 2021 ?”

    1. Mike K Says:

      I am very unhappy with the new version of WordPress. The one at my own blog is worse.

    2. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      I agree with you most of the time, but I am afraid that here I have to differ. You are taking as a given that electoral politics still is going to be the way that we are governed.

      ELECTIONS HAVE BEEN RENDERED MOOT. The Democrats have perfected vote fraud and it is protected by a Supreme Court through a combination of intimidation and ideological agreement with the Left. The Republican party may be a nice decoy, but we and hopefully President Trump have got to create a party, a movement, to depose the Left and recreate a social compact that we can all agree to. This cannot be done electorally, and sadly cannot be done non-violently, especially in the face of Leftist violence.

      If the leftist radicals behind Biden try to enact their agenda, their real agenda, we could see a cold Civil War. They would be foolish to pick a hot one with the segment of the population that is comprised of most military veterans and which owns 350 million guns.” Since when have Leftists not been foolish. It is part of their theology.

      There literally are no Democrats who will oppose those radicals. It will not be a cold Civil War, it will be a very hot, very deadly CW-2.0. In between calls for “unity” and insults to normal Americans that would start fights on the street; the Biden campaign and his people threaten to make the rest of us “unpersons”. Basic rule of life, when someone threatens you and your family . . . believe them and be ready to react accordingly.

      Let me toss out something local. I am more than passing active politically here in Colorado. By chance, a couple of nights ago I encountered two Republican members of our state House of Representatives who I kinda-sorta know.

      Here in Colorado, the Democrats own all three branches of government in fee simple. There are only enough Republicans in the Legislature to maybe, if they are lucky, slow things down. In response to COVID, our state Supreme Court has modified how our legislative session is calculated, in a way that makes it all but impossible to run out the clock on an issue, or to be able to schedule opposing testimony.

      They had just gotten back from the pre-session meetings [our legislative session ran from early January to May, now it could go year round]. There are bills in the hopper, updated from last session, that would gut the 2nd Amendment here in Colorado, and several of them feature gun confiscation.

      We ended our conversation, in sadness because we know where this will go, all agreeing that the shooting will start in 2021.

      Politics in a society, regardless of the social compact governing it, as long as it is accepted by all sides, is how decisions are made and people governed without having to resort to mass deadly force. We no longer share that social compact, and the Constitution which we swore to uphold, no longer holds since December 11. The alternative is as Thomas Hobbes described in LEVIATHAN; the natural state of mankind (the state pertaining before a central government is formed) as a “warre of every man against every man”. Nasty, Brutish, and Short. Keep thine codpieces buttoned.

      Subotai Bahadur

    3. Mike K Says:

      You are correct that I am assuming that the 2020 election steal is a done deal. If some miracle happens, I will be pleased. Meanwhile…

      I agree with this. Take over the GOP.

    4. Brian Says:

      Far be it from me to predict what Trump will do, but I certainly don’t see him walking away from politics, certainly not to go back into any sort of MSM-affiliated project. They wouldn’t dare, and he wouldn’t want to make money for them. My guess is he speaks out on the internet constantly, and teases running again, and keeps his options open until seeing how the 2022 elections go. He should do whatever is necessary to help populists primary as many GOP figures as possible, the party has to be cleaned out from top to bottom.
      The question to me still is who can possibly replace him in 2024, i.e., who can inspire the absolutely massive numbers of Trump flag waving folks, the boat rallies, etc. I think most of us here in 2015 would have laughed at the notion Trump could have done that. I just don’t see any politician being able to replicate that. The trickiest part is going to be replicating the simultaneous massive appeal to rural whites and also Hispanics. Kamala Harris was basically invented in a lab to alienate both those groups to the maximum extent possible, but that doesn’t mean that people will turn out in the numbers we just saw if the GOP somehow nominates some piece of trash.

    5. nrer Says:

      #RibiconDon

    6. PenGun Says:

      “I am very unhappy with the new version of WordPress. The one at my own blog is worse.”

      LOL. Did you get to the part that reads: “The WordPress 5.6 release comes to you from an all-women and non-binary identifying release squad”
      So “you are either very very safe, or very very much in danger” with apologies to 12oz Mouse. ;)

    7. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      President Trump has put more of his heart into rebuilding the United States than the entire Political Class put together. He has endured years of insults from people who are not fit to polish his shoes. If he decides that he has done all that he can, and buys a Caribbean island retirement home, he should go with our perpetual admiration.

      The Swamp Republicrats did little enough to help President Trump when he held significant power. They will do nothing to help him after he leaves. Even if he watned to carry on the fight, they will fight tooth & nail to prevent him from restructuring the Republicrats into a new more viable Republican Party. Consequently, today’s Republicrat Party will die.

      Since President Trump genuinely believes in America, he will have nothing to do with any movement to split the country.

      The likely scenario is that the US political system is facing a vacuum. The fact that the Democrat Establishment has pushed forward Beijing Biden and the woman who cannot even win a Democrat Primary demonstrates how little leadership bench strength there is in the Democrat wing of the Uniparty. And as Brian points out, where is there any bench strength in the Republicrat wing either?

      Remember that everything in the next few years will be happening against the background of a severely deteriorating economic situation. Printing money is unsustainable — and FedGov is now spending about $2 for each $1 it takes in in taxes. Massive Trade Deficits are unsustainable — the day is approaching when China will bring the US to its knees simply by refusing to exchange real goods for freshly printed dollars. Neither the Republicrats nor the Democrats are ready to deal with the approaching economic disaster. Hard times are inevitable.

    8. BobtheRegisterredFool Says:

      Decent chance that if he doesn’t turf out Biden somehow, he is dead.

      Melania is the daughter of a man who was a Solvenian communist party official. She can put together the rhetoric, and come up with “Barron gets a sulfuric acid burial if Donald doesn’t win.”

      If this is a correct understanding of his perspective, then he missed a bunch of opportunities earlier this year to start into energetic alternatives. Why? Possibly even married to Melania, he is too entrenched in traditional American thought processes. Perhaps he is working to a longer term plan. Or perhaps he only saw a need after the fraud on 11/3, and is waiting for mistakes to be made on 1/5/2021.

      But we need not trust that the prospect of hanging has concentrated his mind.

      There’s another chance that the whole Democrat house of cards collapses if they cannot convince enough Americans to feel oppressed over the holidays.

      Beyond that, there are other options and possibilities.

    9. OBloodyHell Says:

      Parler vs. Twitter
      MeWe vs. Facebook
      DuckDuckGo vs. Google.

      Those are the switches that seem to be underway for those who don’t want censorship.

      “The internet treats censorship as noise, and routes around it.”

      “Think of it as evolution in action.”

    10. OBloodyHell Says:

      }}} we could see a cold Civil War.

      We’ve been in a Cold Civil War for not less than 50 years. More like 90. It’s only in the last 30 that it’s gotten visible, as the slime came out of the woodwork, and oozed into every corner of our lives.

      PostModern Liberalism formed from Classical Liberalism as a reaction to World War I… The Classical Liberals, so proud, so arrogant, about what Western Civ had accomplished, so certain that man had Become Better, saw what men had done with the creations of Western Civ, and turned on Western Civ with a vengeance and have made it their every intent to destroy it. Look closely at PostModernism. Everything it does is a subtle attack at critical aspects of the twin foundational elements of Western Civ — the rediscovery of the Greek Heritage of Philosophy and Ideal — and the Judeo-Christian Family-Work Ethos. Add in the insanity of Marxist philosophy (it certainly isn’t economics), and you have an attack on another wide component of Western Civ, capitalism and the melding and mobility of class, and the creation of wealth-for-all rather than spreading it around so it becomes near-useless (capital is like water behind a dam, it is only the accumulation of it that makes work possible on a large scale)

      Face it, this is a battle for the fate of mankind. And the forces of evil are winning.

    11. OBloodyHell Says:

      }}} We could end up with a country that has blue crusts on each coast. The rest solid red. Chicago is a blue island that is failing. Maybe Canada would take them.

      I think, more than likely, there will be three countries. The Left Coast, the Heartland, and The Left East, probably with IL, WI, MN connected to New England, DC, VA, and PA via the Great Lakes.

      }}} It will not be a cold Civil War, it will be a very hot, very deadly CW-2.0. In between calls for “unity” and insults to normal Americans that would start fights on the street; the Biden campaign and his people threaten to make the rest of us “unpersons”. Basic rule of life, when someone threatens you and your family . . . believe them and be ready to react accordingly.

      I’m with Subotai. I think it’s going to start when “President Harris” tries a true gun grab in the middle of the night, with quiet raids on everyone who has any record of buying a gun, esp. anyone with a CCW… A shutdown of the internet (Terrorist Attack!!!!) and a silencing of everyone’s voice to stop any kind of collective response. A dozen armed and armored people come to your door, either give ’em up or learn what happened at Ruby Ridge from the inside. Smart people won’t keep them in their homes… at least not ALL of them. :-/

      The other possibility is the French Revolution, with the Left as the Jacobins. Whether we come out the other side as a Renewed American Republic or an American Empire, pretty much depends on the 911 generation’s response to the shitstorm. How well did their parents teach them history (School certainly did nothing in that regard)?

    12. OBloodyHell Says:

      }}} The question to me still is who can possibly replace him in 2024, i.e., who can inspire the absolutely massive numbers of Trump flag waving folks, the boat rallies, etc. I think most of us here in 2015 would have laughed at the notion Trump could have done that. I just don’t see any politician being able to replicate that.

      I don’t expect us to last that long before we get into full insurrection mode, but… I would say that there are several candidates. Ted Cruz is still pretty popular, if he can mend fences with Trump. And Kristi Noem is certainly hot right now. Sarah Huckabee Sanders also has a fairly positive name cred with people. I have no idea how they would stand up under an election season, but they all have the base support possible to go all the way in a traditional election season.

      }}} Since President Trump genuinely believes in America, he will have nothing to do with any movement to split the country.

      If he’s going to battle to keep it together, then he’s going to stay in office and fight them off now, that’s the only hope. After that point, he’s got to be at the head of a secession arrangement.

      }}} Remember that everything in the next few years will be happening against the background of a severely deteriorating economic situation. Printing money is unsustainable — and FedGov is now spending about $2 for each $1 it takes in in taxes.

      In a classical economy, yes. Not so sure that the actual wealth created by/in our “IP & Services Economy” is being accurately measured, which is (I assert) one reason why it hasn’t collapsed long since, as it should have according to everyone economist’s predictions. They have no idea, really, how to value IP as opposed to Real Property.

      Up until about 40-odd years ago, that did not matter, it was not the majority of our production. This has, rather obviously, changed since then, and changed massively. RP=/=IP. They are different phases of the same substance — like steam vs. ice. Try to handle one by the rules for the other, and you’ll get scalded or frostbitten. And yet that is how we have been operating for the last 40 years, as though it was all largely the same.

      The capacity, for example, to EASILY generate new wealth based on Marvel properties is enormous. Disney has no clue how their “ownership” and traditional copyright law is holding the brake on wealth generation from these. Traditional copyright is just flat out broken in every possible way for an IP & Services Economy.

      It’s the real reason why nothing makes economic sense. We don’t understand the rules any more.

      }}} Massive Trade Deficits are unsustainable — the day is approaching when China will bring the US to its knees simply by refusing to exchange real goods for freshly printed dollars. Neither the Republicrats nor the Democrats are ready to deal with the approaching economic disaster. Hard times are inevitable.

      If China brings US to our knees, THEIR economy collapses entirely. THEY are utterly dependent on us to keep buying their shit, and the only thing they can do with their bucks is to come over here and buy our shit. Which might be disturbing unless you were paying attention the last time that happened, with Japan… Japan lost their asses, and their own economy melted down while ours had a hiccup. China needs to diversify who they sell stuff to, but that still just gives them more $$$ unless they and/or Russia succeed in breaking the $ as the reserve currency.

      I’m not saying I know what’s going to happen, but it isn’t going to be by anything vaguely like “the old rules”. Some of them will apply, many won’t. And I don’t think much of anyone has any clue about how that is all going to play out.

      My own suspicion? Long run: Nations are just big collections of historical grievances internal and external. More than likely, the long-run end result is a lot of loosely interconnected, interrelated city-states forming a great big network rather than a collection of hierarchies.

      The internal model of an agrarian and an industrial economy is inherently hierarchical. The internal model of an IP & Services economy is a network. Look for networks as the future, not hierarchies.

    13. OBloodyHell Says:

      Also note — “Antifa is not an organization”. Evidence supports this claim, somewhat. There is no top cabal in a hierarchy. What there is are a lot of localized cells who listen to goals suggested by members of that organism… esp. including Obama and Soros, who encourage their ideas by funding and resource obtaining.

      Look closely at how the election was stolen. While there almost certainly was substantial input from certain parties — Obama, Soros, in particular, it’s possible there was no significant group that got together and detailed out a plan. Obama and Soros said, “This is what we want to do…” and different groups just got busy and did it. They took over local elections in key places, they pushed out opposition, and so forth. In short, I don’t believe there was a overall plan, but a list of goals, and those goals worked by being organic and networked, not ordered by any central authority.

      If that’s correct, it can explain one reason why it’s so difficult to point to any smoking gun. As I have said, there is no “Trout in the Milk… only a Crapton of Minnows”. All those little goal-oriented subgroups are each and every one a minnow.

      How do you counter THAT, if true? THAT is the question.

    14. @ChicagoBri Says:

      What makes you think that we are going to take this theft lying down?

    15. Ritchie The Riveter Says:

      How do you counter THAT, if true? THAT is the question.

      The unifying principle of the Left’s groups, is the desire to establish a top-down ruling technocracy of Smart People™ and Nice People™ who will (supposedly) overcome the profit motive, (perceived) bigotry, and our (allegedly) inferior intellects to usher in Utopia. That common purpose is the destination all those minnows are swimming towards … much like the restoration of respect for Christian values coordinated the normally-fractious factions of the Religious Right, back in the day.

      One counter to that, is to show ordinary people how vulnerable they are under that paradigm … that it defies common sense to think it has worked/will EVER work as advertised … and thereby erode the trust they have placed, in grand Flounderian fashion, in the allegedly Best and Brightest that the minnows of the Left tout as our “betters”.

      Then, persuade them to defend their legitimate interests by insisting – socially for sure, kinetically if forced – upon governance/leadership that is focused upon its primary, legitimate mission: securing our unalienable rights. And insist upon it, even if it means missing out on some promised benefits to them from the top-down approach in the short term.

      That is a tall order, in the face of decades-embedded thinking like Assumption Six: Ordinary people neither have the resources, nor the intellect, nor the virtue, to help themselves – or each other – in the “right” ways. Only “experts” and “leaders” can provide such help, and should be empowered with the resources and monopoly on coercive force held by the government to do so. And in the face of cancel culture, as well.

      But that is the lasting counter to the neo-feudalism of the Left.

      And while President Trump has shown leadership, in both politics and policy, that is highly respectful of individual liberty, and is still a leader to look to … he is still just one man; we have to build out from his example into a large school of minnows to sustain a free nation in the face of those who seek our submission to their One and Only True Way All Good People Think.

    16. Brian Says:

      “Ted Cruz…Kristi Noem…Sarah Huckabee Sanders”
      No, maybe for VP, and lol no.

      I suppose if you squint you can imagine DeSantis having a chance. Even someone like Jorge Masvidal has a better chance than any of those other jokers–I don’t see why there couldn’t be an American Manny Pacquiao. Dana White I actually could buy. No one is going to have a resume like Trump, so trying to figure out who could replicate that is silly. But the nominee is going to be whoever Trump wants it to be.

    17. Sam L. Says:

      The GOP has shown itself to be worthless. It “goes along to get along” on whatever dregs the Dems leave behind.

    18. Texan99 Says:

      I was always more interested in what Pres. Trump did than in what he said, so once he’s out of office, I’ll be most interested in ventures like an alternative news/social media website. I’ll be very interested in whom he endorses and especially campaigns for, that being perhaps the only message that will have the force of action.

      We’re going to need a 2024 candidate with immense reserves of resistance, probably huge personal wealth combined with experience in standing up to the withering blasts from the MSM and the deep state. I really don’t see who that is at the moment. Soon-to-be-ex-AG William Barr is unpopular at the moment, but I still honor him, and we’ll need someone with that kind of unshakeable principle.

    19. Mike K Says:

      But the nominee is going to be whoever Trump wants it to be.

      If he stays active, that is certainly true. I still wonder if starting/buying a TV channel is in his mind. He knows TV better than anyone else in politics. He could do both by using a Fox News like TV channel to keep the message going.

    20. Mike K Says:

      I really don’t see who that is at the moment.

      Two possibilities, in my opinion, are Peter Thiel but he was born in Germany, and Ric Grennell. Both are gay and that would fend off one line of attack. Grennell has shown some interest in politics and is certainly a Trump supporter.

    21. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      OBloodyHell: “Not so sure that the actual wealth created by/in our “IP & Services Economy” is being accurately measured …”

      Definitely agree with that. People have written books about how meaningless our current measures of GNP really are. When FedGov spends money it has taken from taxpayers, should that really be included in Gross National Production? When FedGov spends money it just printed, does that increase Gross National Production?

      However, we need to be careful about assessing whether we really have an “IP [Intellectual Property] & Services Economy”. If IP is so valuable, and if “we” are creating it, why do we have such a dreadful Trade Balance with China?

      An interesting case to consider is today’s cell phone system. The IP was invented and described by Bell Labs as far back as 1947 (see Gertner’s book “The Idea Factory”), but it took decades before technology advanced to the point where the idea could be turned into reality. How valuable was that IP in the absence of transistors and a whole raft of other physical capabilities? And if IP is so valuable, why is Bell Labs now reduced to an often-forgotten subsidiary of a Finnish company? Or think about the atomic bomb, where the IP was widely known before WWII — but it took the efforts of thousands of people and billions of dollars to turn the atomic IP into a working device.

      Bottom line is that IP has little value without the physical capability to turn ideas into reality. Even the classic “service economy” role of hairdresser requires other people first to make all kinds of physical goods, from scissors to hair driers to chairs to buildings. That is why the US runs an unsustainable Trade Deficit with China — because “our” service economy depends on “their” manufacturing capabilities; the manufacturing capabilities our Political Class has so casually exchanged for short-term profits.

      As for China’s economy collapsing if they can’t “sell” their manufactured products to us: what is China getting in exchange for the goods they ship to us, apart from freshly printed IOUs? If China simply dumped the products they send to the US into the ocean, would they really be worse off? China is playing a long-term game; their trading behavior is a slow-motion version of the neighborhood drug dealer giving free/cheap drugs to foolish kids — get the idiots hooked, and then screw them royally!

      President Trump has been the only voice out there seeing through the “Free trade” lie and recognizing the fundamental law of economics — Production precedes Consumption. As long as the bought-off Republicrats ignore that unavoidable truth, it does not matter which of them tries to take the President’s place.

    22. PenGun Says:

      “If China brings US to our knees, THEIR economy collapses entirely. THEY are utterly dependent on us to keep buying their shit, and the only thing they can do with their bucks is to come over here and buy our shit.”

      Absolutely delusional. As well all you fighters get out there and train. I can carry a gun up a mountain and still be able to shoot straight, not that I would ever do anything like that. So a 100 yard dash with full war fighting equipment, then see if you can hit anything. I used to do the Special Forces exercises, and that is the main goal of that exercise set.

    23. Anonymous Says:

      }}} What makes you think that we are going to take this theft lying down?

      Oh, I hope not. But not sure people are quite pissed off enough to Do Something. It seems to me to need an event, a seed crystal for the rage to form around and lead to a Bigger Event. What that will be, I dunno. I do think that it may be a gungrab. Are the Dems smart enough to try and keep news of it isolated? And can they?

      }}} However, we need to be careful about assessing whether we really have an “IP [Intellectual Property] & Services Economy”. If IP is so valuable, and if “we” are creating it, why do we have such a dreadful Trade Balance with China?

      LOLZ. THINK about it.

      1) What nation do you think is the largest pirate of IP in the world?
      2) What we do “sell” to them is vastly undervalued.
      3) I would say you also are too concerned with the Trade Balance. I could go into why I think that is much less important than suggested, but betting someone around here’s already done an analysis for the general case, if not for the US-China case. I seem to recall seeing how the successful nations of the world all operated with trade balances against other nations, and their economies did fine. Probably less severe imbalances than US-China, but nontrivial ones.
      4) Again, look back at the Japan-US imbalance in the 80s. It wasn’t good for Japan. A quick synopsis of the argument is that it is the government of the creditor nation underpricing the value of its labor force vs. that of the debtor nation. They are shorting their citizenry to gain a benefit which has to be resolved somehow (generally) still more to their detriment. Japan had metric craptons of US $$ as a result of the imbalance. They came here, and started buying various companies. At vastly inflated prices because the sudden influx of cash created a bubble… Well, having paid waaaay too much for those companies, the Japanese economy went into a severe downturn, that, thanks to their government implementing idiotic New-Keynesian “solutions” to address, was kept-in downturned place for 15y before it finally relaxed A BIT, but still hasn’t really recovered even though it’s been 25-30y. They wound up selling BACK almost everything they bought within about 10y, at a loss. To my recollection, the only company they bought which is still in Japanese hands is… the IP purchase. Sony bought Columbia (aka CBS, Viacom, Paramount, Columbia studios), and still owns it… but it’s not in the greatest of shape, either, because of some stupid decisions with regard to that (among other things, getting caught fabricating movie reviews, and allowing NoKorea to hack their servers)

      I’ve VERY open to arguments about all the above, I’m writing off the top of my assembled impressions from the arguments of others — I may be mis-stating an argument, or extending in some way that doesn’t work. But I don’t think so.

      P.S., I think the proper Economics Theory is probably some admixture of Chicago and Austrian which hasn’t become widely known if it’s been done at all.

    24. deplorable_me Says:

      @BobtheRegisterredFool Says:
      December 19th, 2020 at 1:39 am

      Decent chance that if he doesn’t turf out Biden somehow, he is dead.

      Yes. This, more than anything, shows how we’ve become a banana republic. With Dems openly calling for lists of people in the Trump admin to make sure they’re punished (at a minimum by never working again), politics has now become a zero-sum game: you either win, or you (& your family/friends) die. Dems will not shirk at killing Don, all of his kids, grandkids, ex-wives & Melania — probably even include his siblings, nieces/nephews, etc.

      If the fraud of the 2020 election is not resolved, then there will be no more elections at all. I don’t care what they call the circus act on the first Tuesday in November going forward, but it won’t be an “election” as we used to know it.

    25. Jay Guevara Says:

      Episodically the extent of the electoral fraud hits me with almost physical force: in particular, Pelosi (/spit) openly saying (in July, when Trump was riding high), “Whether he knows it yet or not, he will be leaving” the White House after the 2020 presidential election.

      In retrospect, that remark is chilling. It’s almost as if she knew …

      The fraud was long in planning, clearly.

    26. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Anonymous: “1) What nation do you think is the largest pirate of IP in the world?”

      Everyone knows the answer is China. Now, think about it: what price is China paying for being such a well-known pirate of IP? Bueller? Bueller? You know the answer pre-Trump was — absolutely nothing. And you know that when President Trump tried to do something about it, Republicrats & Democrats united to impede his efforts.

      It is also worth noting that a lot of what cuckolded CEOs call “piracy” started with those same CEOs firing their US workers and shipping their manufacturing machinery to China because of “Free Trade”. Really, what did those CEOs imagine was going to happen to their IP?

      One does not have to like the Chinese Communist Party to recognize how smart they have been — much smarter than Western politicians & businesswomen. The price for access to China’s market has generally been to “Build It In China”; the price for access to the US market has generally been cash contributions to politicians.

      “2) What we do “sell” to them is vastly undervalued.”

      Says who? One of the key rules of markets is that the price of anything is what the buyer is prepared to pay. If the seller accepts that price, then that is the value — and US businesses have accepted whatever price China would pay. A seller would have to be dumb or desperate to sell anything at a vastly undervalued price.

      We also have to remember that most Intellectual Property is a very rapidly wasting asset. Once an organization has demonstrated that some technology is possible, whether it is a cell phone or a nuclear weapon, it becomes a lot easier of other organizations to create a competing product, even without the benefit of piracy.

      At the end of the day, a Trade Deficit is damaging (look at the Rust Belt) and unsustainable. President Trump recognized that. It is unfortunate that virtually none of our Political Class is as smart.

    27. Ritchie The Riveter Says:

      At the end of the day, a Trade Deficit is damaging (look at the Rust Belt) and unsustainable.

      Don’t limit the blame to CEO’s and free-trade politicians. Too many in this nation believe they have a RIGHT to work the same job the same way in the same place for a lifetime, and expect others to assure economic security now and in the future FOR them. That attitude is a big reason why the jobs left here for overseas.

      That message was sent by command-economy politicians, their union cronies, Chicken Little “worker protection” advocates, and those in positions of influence who believe that the profit motive is an evil we must tame with regulation (and have willing allies in doing so from the Climate Change Cult and other expressions of the Watermelon Left).

      And millions of us bought into it … and still do today. That must be acknowledged and dealt with.

      However, there is a difference between legitimate foreign competition – which can work to keep us from buying into the message above, and keep us honest and on our game – and China.

      Until the ascension of Xi Jinping, China was pretty much driven by the profit motive like everyone else – and they had the market potential to leverage, to assure terms favorable to them. Even what cheating they were engaged in was more about their economic decision-makers getting more for themselves, from what I see. Had that been sustained, it is plausible that China would have moved to a greater respect for free markets, as Vietnam has, because they would have become accustomed to profit for its own sake.

      Once Xi became the ruler, the objective changed … Xi brought China back to the the Mandate of Heaven – Chinese hegemony upon the world – as the objective. Economic activity was shaped to support that objective … from requirements for those doing business with China that opened the doors to IP theft and a bigger “piece of the action” for the hosts, to “generous” financial support to Third World nations that could best be described as golden handcuffs, to exploiting access to Western free markets and institutions to attain both the wealth and the knowledge to support expansion of their rule, by contract if possible, by force if needed.

      We weren’t willing to pop our own bubble and realize that, until Trump came along.

      As usual, the difference betwen the legit and the illegitimate, is the respect for life/liberty/property of the legit vs. the lack of respect for those attributes by the illegitimate.

    28. Sam L. Says:

      I have no idea, but I expect it will be fun, will irritate the Hell out of the Dems, the media, and the Left (but I repeat myself), and WE will enjoy the heck out of it!

    29. MCS Says:

      I’ll assume that someone that takes the handle of Richie the Riveter is aware of the history of riveting as a technique for fastening metal. The short version is that it has passed from all but universal to occupying a few small, albeit important, niches in metal fabricating. For field connections, it has been supplanted by bolted connections and for shop connections by welding. In actuality, a lot of heavy structural fabrication has, in turn, been supplanted by reinforced concrete.

      The skills involved in riveting translate quite easily to bolting. This isn’t true for welding which requires an entirely different skill set. Neither translates, except at the edges, to reinforced concrete.

      Now one of the remaining niches, aircraft fabrication, is moving to composites. The light weight analog of reinforced concrete. It’s probably only a matter of time until the remaining niche of truck body fabrication goes the same way.

      It’s probably a little harsh to blame the workers for not jumping onto each succeeding technology. Reinforced concrete production, especially, uses a large proportion of fairly low skilled workers with the expertise heavily concentrated in the design and fabrication of forms. The dilemma of the boiled frog comes to mind. They had bills to pay and a life to live while the true trend was probably impossible to separate from the background noise of normal fluctuations in demand.

      I don’t think there was ever a time when more than a tiny fraction of the American work force had anything approaching the sort of job security you talk about. There were a few places for a time, like the car companies and big steel mills and possibly still a few in utilities, but for as long as I’ve been around, the average time between job changes has been around five years. Even for long term employees, I doubt there are many, outside of the education establishment, that have jobs that aren’t significantly different from what they were 20 years ago. lifetime employment in Japan was never for more than a very few.

      That’s not to say that there aren’t institutions, especially unions, that think they can stop change by simply denying it. Whole countries, France and England especially, seem convinced that they can somehow legislate and regulate the law of gravity away.

      You would think that some smart feller would see the under/unemployed as a resource capable of generating profits if properly directed. Instead, big tech seems content with skimming what they can with marketing and in-ap purchases.

    30. William Newman Says:

      I don’t have a solution to the OP topic of laughably screwed-up
      elections and a cornucopia of downstream bad options and outcomes.
      (“But I admire the problem,” as a dimly remembered Ashleigh Brilliant
      mug(?) said.)

      Looking past that OP topic, though, responding to the people who also
      want to look past that OP topic and bash free trade (because no matter
      the problem, the solution is always the same, amirite?), puhleeze.
      This site is called chicagoboyz, shouldn’t it be for a reason?
      Once-populist now-credentialed-academic bogosyllogisms such as “the
      market is not perfect, and indeed the market implemented by imperfect
      humans which we cannot fix, therefore we should replace the market
      with a command economy” and “there are some costly consequences of
      this policy, therefore it is a bad policy” are a poor fit. Any big
      economic change tends to be very disruptive. *Very* disruptive to the
      point of often leaving some metaphorical or even physical wasteland
      where previously-cost-effective productive physical capital and
      specialized workforce flourished before. Besides the cliche of buggy
      whips, consider the farmland of New England that relapsed into
      vaguely-woodlot wilderness as railroads to the Midwest and mechanized
      agriculture taking advantage of the Midwest’s characteristics came in.
      Or look at the old protoindustrial shops clustered around waterpower
      that vanished as steam and even electricity made them quaintly
      anachronistic. Unless you want to argue that changes like steam and
      railroads were overall terrible and should’ve been stopped because
      they were overall terrible donchaknow, perhaps because your agenda is
      nostalgia for the old class structure or something rather than the
      usual appeal to the common good, then it is painfully obviously
      goddamned stupidly dishonest to go from “old alternative went out of
      business” to “change was bad QED”.

      Productive things going away *can* easily be a consequence of terrible
      policy choices, and productive arrangements *can* go away without
      anything good to replace them. Argentina used to be rich on a world
      scale (likely in large part by depending on free trade to export their
      specialty and import other stuff, though I don’t know enough of the
      history to be 100% confident of that). Britain used to be dominant.
      Venezuela wasn’t always a disaster area bleeding a stream of refugees.
      But it is not as simple as “where there’s smoke [of a disappearing
      business] there’s fire,” because painful consequences up to and
      including disappearance of entire industries can also be part of the
      impact of changes which have a huge positive net effect despite
      various very large negative impacts. Why not cut it out with the
      stupid dishonest preaching to some determinedly ignorant choir? Either
      flesh out the argument to distinguish your complaints from
      near-disappearance of the vacuum tube industry or linotype printing
      specialists or Polaroid-ish instant photo technology, or accept that
      you’re being largely ignored because you’re beclowning yourself so
      badly that you’re getting a troll response rather than engagement.

      How can it even be possible that mere screwed up US policy could turn
      our economic vibrantness into a wasteland, without Chinese wickedness,
      and/or the US-politician wickedness of allowing accursed free trade?
      Well, it is genuinely hard to analyze an entire economy correctly on
      the back of an envelope, and a lot of the key policies are obscure —
      often intentionally obscure, because of our long-term high-level
      policy drift away from the rule of law, to where you can document
      rather large interventions like Operation Chokepoint without ever
      pointing to a public written policy behind it. If you want a
      detailed argument for the impact of this, John Cochrane’s blog
      has some detailed posts on how this plays out in various areas — I
      particularly remember posts on banking and on land use policy.
      Or if you will settle for a quickie, I will sketch one here. Consider
      that in 2010, or 2000, or 1990, it was easy to point to disruptive
      major players that very few people had heard of 15 years before, and
      who had grown through the ordinary US market and capital system (by
      going public, etc.). E.g. in 1995, who had heard of Google? In 1975,
      who had heard of Microsoft? So what about 2020? Who (or what) would
      you nominate that no one had heard of in 2005? Do any upstarts with
      bigger impact than Zoom, Tiktok, and Bitcoin spring to mind? Mixed
      though our economy already was in 2000, it doesn’t seem that in 2000
      it was important for an upstart in the US economy to be able to bypass the
      US capital and banking markets. Whatever causes that change (perhaps
      some formal changes such as Sarbanes-Oxley, perhaps an underwater
      iceberg of informal rule-of-man changes, perhaps just one of those
      coincidences and nothing to see here move along) it looks like a very
      significant change to me. I think it is likely big enough to explain
      more than 25% of the decline in US economic vitality all by itself.
      And I don’t see how to blame it on free trade.

      For another sketch: MCS wrote “You would think that some smart feller
      would see the under/unemployed as a resource capable of generating
      profits if properly directed. Instead, big tech seems content with
      skimming what they can with marketing and in-ap purchases.” I have
      roots in Pittsburgh, and have lived in the DFW metroplex for decades. The
      pattern described seems to be rather stronger in Pittsburgh than DFW,
      while big tech and big business more generally are national or
      international. The difference is conspicuous enough that I’d suggest
      looking for causal factors that aren’t just global “big tech” but
      something that is locally stronger in Pittsburgh than in DFW.

      FWIW, I’m not claiming that by slamming bad argumentation against free
      trade I have proved the case for free trade. It is not impossible to
      make more substantive arguments for downsides exceeding the benefits,
      and I have seen some. (Some are collected in Irwin, _Against the
      Tide_.) I even freely grant that some arguments are pretty hard to
      dismiss in the current situation — e.g., building the military
      around chip technology while depending on foreign chip fabs has some
      serious foreseeable downside risks. (Though blithely forcing local
      production can also bring very bad consequences, especially while
      maintaining dysfunctional local economic policies that strangled the
      local production. India, anyone? Britain, or indeed more European
      examples, anyone?) But the possibility of making an honest sensible
      argument for an issue does not excuse pushing a stupidly flaky
      argument for that issue, and spontaneously and/or stubbornly
      continuing to push it looks either flat dishonest or really
      inexcusably stupid, at the level of enlightening us yet again about
      how imposing a minimum wage is purely a gift to the lucky workers in
      the now-illegal wage bracket, or about how there is no Laffer Curve.
      If I want that, I can find it at sites not called “chicacoboyz”.

      For that matter, I freely grant that a lot of what sails under the
      ‘free trade’ flag is not, and is pretty terrible. E.g., one could try
      to rescue remarks like “President Trump has been the only voice out
      there seeing through the ‘Free trade’ lie” by appending “It is not
      ‘free trade’ when it is a managed trade deal with more than 1000 pages
      in the treaty enabling endless more pages of regulations and even more
      undocumented discretionary intervention beyond that.” A Permit Raj is
      not free trade, and it does not seem particularly wrong to call our
      our establishment’s determined efforts to confuse the two a “lie”.
      Alas, though, I don’t think that defense holds up for that particular
      claim. President Trump, to his discredit. does not seem to argue
      against our Permit Raj nearly so much as he appeals to flat dishonest
      or really inexcusably stupid populist arguments against free trade
      itself, not particularly against cronyist dirigisme sailing under a
      false ‘free trade’ flag. (And sadly, that is not even a particularly
      useful criticism of Trump, more just o tempora o mores. The usual
      establishment politicians seem roughly equally screwed up in this
      regard, though without Trump’s particular bombastic schtick.)

    31. Xennady Says:

      I don’t know what Trump will do, but I can suggest a few things he should do.

      1) Set up a fundraising organization completely independent of the cold dead carcass of the GOP. Every email I get with a Trump header says in the fine print at the bottom of the page that it’s a joint operation between Trump and the RNC. At this point I can’t help believe that the party is taking the money raised by Trump and using it for such nonsense as paying Jeb Bush’s campaign debt and the like. Trump is the draw, and Trump should have control of where the money goes, to further his agenda and not that of the gopes.

      2) Get his own media organization. The center of gravity of the left is the quasi-ability to control the public discourse. That needs to end, obviously.

      3) Keep telling the public about the massive vote fraud and don’t the the left and their gop pets bury the truth. Rallies should continue.

      4) Write a book. Tell the public what went on behind the scenes, including how he was stabbed in the back by the gop. For example, I read somewhere that Paul Ryan promised him funding for the border wall, right to his face, then quite openly refused to deliver.

      If for no other reason than to stay out of jail from made-up charges by leftist prosecutors, Trump needs to do something to stay in the public eye. And with that in mind, he may as well run for president again in 2024.

    32. Xennady Says:

      If the fraud of the 2020 election is not resolved, then there will be no more elections at all. I don’t care what they call the circus act on the first Tuesday in November going forward, but it won’t be an “election” as we used to know it.

      I’m in the camp that expects open civil war, beginning any time.

      But I also think elections are just another front in that war. Thus, every trump supporter needs to show up for every election, every single one.

      That’s why there are so many trolls going around telling people not to bother to vote- and it’s also why the lying leftist pollsters were recently making nonsense claims like Trump was 17 points behind in Wisconsin.

      If conservatives don’t vote, leftists win by default.

      Don’t let that happen, people.

    33. Xennady Says:

      Either flesh out the argument to distinguish your complaints from
      near-disappearance of the vacuum tube industry or linotype printing
      specialists or Polaroid-ish instant photo technology, or accept that
      you’re being largely ignored because you’re beclowning yourself so
      badly that you’re getting a troll response rather than engagement.

      I have a different opinion of who’s managing to beclown themselves, but it’s good that you admit that you’re simply a troll.

      This is the usual free trade shinola, right here. Because industries died in the past when they became obsolete, then it makes no difference today when industry leaves the United States. Of course, no mention of merchantilism- although I admit I may have missed in that superbowl-sized bowl of word salad- just the usual cliches. Of course, buggy whips make an appearance, even though the best buggy whip manufacturers eventually became suppliers to the new automotive industry.

      …building the military around chip technology while depending on foreign chip fabs has some
      serious foreseeable downside risks. (Though blithely forcing local
      production can also bring very bad consequences, especially while
      maintaining dysfunctional local economic policies that strangled the
      local production.

      More free trade nonsense. Having foreigners make our weapons might have a few downsides- but don’t forget how awful it would be if the government forced them to be made in the United States!! Sure, if we don’t have weapons the country might be obliterated- but at least there won’t be economic inefficiency.

      …does not excuse pushing a stupidly flaky
      argument for that issue, and spontaneously and/or stubbornly
      continuing to push it looks either flat dishonest or really
      inexcusably stupid…

      Does calling people you disagree with stupid usually work for you? Is it working here?

      Regardless, free trade is one disastrous facet of the witless globalism that has been ruining the US since well before I was born. Our globalist rulers don’t care if economic activity is in the US or not, because they’re globalists and don’t care about this country anymore than they care about Germany or Bangladesh.

      Paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson, merchants have no country, because their attraction is never so strong as that from which they draw their gains- and these people are merchants, not patriots.

    34. David Foster Says:

      William Newman, re Trade…I’d observe that when you deal with a business in a dictatorial countries, you are not really dealing only with that company; you are also dealing with that country’s government. Both the moral and the practical arguments for ‘free trade’ under those circumstances seem questionable to me.

      Re startups, when you say: “Mixed though our economy already was in 2000, it doesn’t seem that in 2000
      it was important for an upstart in the US economy to be able to bypass the US capital and banking markets,” I’m not sure where you’re going with that…are you saying that today it *is* important for an upstart to be able to bypass such markets? Certainly, there are fewer going public and more either remaining private or being acquired by larger firms…but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re not contributing important new technologies and/or business models. Please develop your thinking on this further.

    35. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      William Newman – you should start your own blog. No problem generating enough words!

      Bill – may I call you that, Mr. Newman – you seem to have nailed yourself to the cross of “Free Trade”, and will brook no consideration of the possibility that “Free Trade” needs to be looked at carefully. For some people, “Free trade” is an unalterable religious belief; for others, allegiance to “Free Trade” is part of the price of satisfying their masters.

      Much of your lengthy screed, Bill, seemed to be tilting at a straw man. You seem to imply that those who look askance at “Free Trade” want to get stuck in the past with technology frozen at some more primitive level. That is an unworthy dishonest argument. We all understand that, for example, the slide rule industry was doomed once US inventors developed the electronic pocket calculator. What was not inevitable was that the manufacturing of calculators would be offshored, and that unemployed former slide rule workers would have no opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the new & growing calculator industry.

      You did make one excellent point, Bill: ”I freely grant that a lot of what sails under the ‘free trade’ flag is not, and is pretty terrible.”. EXACTLY! What our Best & Brightest have given us internationally is “(Mis-)Managed Trade”, which often seems to devolve to unilateral free trade by the US. greatly disadvantaging US based production. That was an understandable position for the US in the aftermath of WWII, when the US was the Workshop of the World and was interested in rebuilding the war-damaged economies of allies and defeated belligerents. But the world has changed since then. England’s Best & Brightest similarly pursued a policy of near-unilateral free trade in the later 19th Century, when England had been the Workshop of the World; it is probably not coincidental that England subsequently lost much of its manufacturing base and its Empire On Which The Sun Never Set.

      There is a lot to be said, Bill, for hypothetical Ricardo-style free trade between peers in which trade is automatically balanced. “Fair Trade” is probably the closest we can approach that in the real world. A US manufacturer who has to comply with masses of regulations on wages, environmental standards, and transgendered toilets cannot compete with an Apple contractor in India which does not even pay its workers regularly. Tariff policies to level that kind of playing field are entirely justifiable – although personally I would also look at reducing the excessive burden of some of those domestic regulations.

      As you point out, Bill, there are also other factors to consider in international trade which clearly limit the supposed benefits of “Free Trade”. As you wrote, Bill: ”building the military around chip technology while depending on foreign chip fabs has some serious foreseeable downside risks.” Dogmatic adherence to foolish “Free Trade” can easily become a form of suicide.

      While you completely failed this time to make the case for “Free Trade”, Bill, please feel free to try again. It is an important topic which directly feeds into the issues of the unsustainable Trade Deficit and self-crippling ever-expanding regulation. It deserves thorough consideration. President Trump was the lone voice speaking on behalf of the American worker in regards to trade policy. He was right, and we are going to suffer from his absence.

    36. Mike K Says:

      When Britain practiced “Free Trade” the “Corn Laws” were still in force. After 1846, the colonies like India anchored British mercantilism.

      Free Trade, as others have pointed out, is honest dealing between peers. Nothing like that involves China.

    37. Brian Says:

      “Trump needs to do something to stay in the public eye.”
      LOL. This is Donald Trump we’re talking about. If there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that he won’t retire quietly to Mar-a-Lago. I presume he’ll formalize his takeover of the GOP and purge all non-loyalists and do whatever’s necessary to boost the reckoning that’s coming. I expect the 2022 GOP class will be full of small business owners and real grassroots activists ready to burn DC to the ground.

    38. Anonymous Says:

      David Foster wrote “Both the moral and the practical arguments for ‘free trade’ under those circumstances seem questionable to me.”

      Generally it is naturally true that the further your priorities are from ordinary economic considerations like how many goodies people and/or the taxman in your political unit can afford, the less relevant the analysis leading to ordinary free conclusions. The usual analysis is grounded in (analytically convenient idealizations chosen to be close to) those ordinary economic considerations, so its failure to apply to the extent that you no longer prioritize those considerations should not come as a complete surprise.

      Also, your point is a good example of targeting a difference between David Friedman’s imaginary factory extending out to sea (which you may be familiar with, and which I plan to sketch in another comment) and an ordinary inland factory. If your overriding priority is, roughly, moral objections to operating a factory in that place, then it’s pointless to think about how operating a factory in that place would be a more efficient way of getting the ordinary stuff that want (but that you want much less than you want to avoid having a factory in that place),

      That said, I don’t think that kind of consideration justifies casual broad sweeping attacks like the “the ‘free trade’ lie” remark that I keep dumping on. Especially on a blog called chicagoboyz. You could use it as the basis for a rhetorical attack on “the ‘free trade’ preoccupation with ordinary economic considerations” and indeed that is a recognizable paraphrase of several major lines of critique of free trade, and indeed of free market economics more generally. (It might be a more faithful paraphrase if I wrote “bourgeois” or “vulgar” or “grubby” instead of “ordinary”.:-) But I don’t think you can honestly paraphrase it further to get to “the ‘free trade’ lie”, especially in the context of how that’s what Trump exposes. Trump really does not seem to show much interest in staking out a political position which places a low priority on ordinary people getting the ordinary economic stuff they want. And an impressive proportion of people really do have a pretty high priority on getting ordinary economic stuff in most cases, enough so that it is not dishonest but rather sensible to favor free trade based on arguments that it does a good job at that.

      David Foster also wrote “are you saying that today it *is* important for an upstart to be able to bypass such markets? Certainly, there are fewer going public and more either remaining private or being acquired by larger firms…but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re not contributing important new technologies and/or business models. Please develop your thinking on this further.”

      I was claiming (based on a choice of facts that I no longer much like) that there is interesting pattern that the important upstarts of today bypassed the capital markets that previous upstarts used, and arguing roughly that this is evidence that the capital markets are not [as] open to upstarts [as they used to be]. I think that such closedness of the corporate economy is a plausible causal mechanism for sclerosis, and further that it is a cause that I don’t think can be blamed on trade. It is true that you can get some dynamism with other mechanisms for raising capital or cashing out, but I doubt that’s really a complete replacement. However, alas, I’m not all that interested in that argument at the moment (1) because as below I no longer like my analysis very much and (2) because to pursue some of your questions, I would stumble over other problems such as how to disentangle that from other gatekeepers. Over a dozen high-profile own goals (like P&G dumping on their razor customers) look to me like circumstantial evidence of corporations facing a lot of pressure to kowtow to powerful PC (prioritized over ordinary considerations like formal responsibility to stockholders, or informal responsibility for employees’ welfare) long after any going public. Or at least pressure to do something — e.g. when selecting board members — that cascades into that kind of action. Similarly I don’t know how to disentangle going public from whatever seems to be stopping companies from competing with Patreon by staking out a different ideological niche — just messing with going public doesn’t seem likely to explain it.

      My main problem with my old analysis is that having thought more about my claim about how 2020 is generally short of new disruptive companies, I’m not sure I can defend it as written. Since I made the claim, I have thought of possible counterexamples like AirBNB and Uber. (I say “possible” because I know too little about those firms to be sure how suitable they are. At the moment I haven’t even checked whether they fit the 2005 cutoff date.) Basically though, in the narrower fields I know more about, it seems curiously common to be acquired these days instead of going public, which is an effect predicted by critics of financial regulation, especially Sarbanes-Oxley. Also, in the niche that I know more about (businesses which are even more Internet-centered, like Google), which happens to be where people are currently talking the most about how the strong oligopolies justify strong discretionary regulatory powers to intervene, the situation looks like a curiously stable oligopoly. It’s especially curious because some services like twitter are fundamentally cheap to compete with, and because other services like Patreon aren’t terribly expensive to compete with and from a naive rule-of-law view of what’s required to compete, are screaming for scrappy competitors who aim for a niche defying the industry politics, analogous to Baen Books or the early Fox News. It’s hard to nail down the extent of regulatory barriers to entry, but that is not terribly reassuring when the last decade or more has normalized such effective ways of keeping them secret: not only ordinary secret policies like Operation Chokepoint, but also secret gag almost-orders (which reportedly were in play in Operation Chokepoint), secret courts issuing secret edicts shrouded in secret gag orders under secret doctrines like what we sorta know about FISA courts and the organs of state within a few degrees of separation, and indulgence for high officials lying in sworn public testimony before Congress about what’s going on, and for destroying truly impressive amounts of subpoenaed official documentation in the case of the controversy about the IRS discretionary regulation of Tea-Party-ish organizations.

      I have thought less about the barriers to entry in the more general economy, and learned less about them too. (And alas, that showed in my choice of examples that now I can’t confidently stand behind.) It seems to me that Sarbanes-Oxley is a clear barrier. Things like the Fed providing attractive finance to existing banks but denying it to a proposed narrow bank (as Cochrane wrote about some time ago) look like a strong indicator of a norm of regulator-backed oligopoly. My guess is still that this kind of thing is indeed plausibly causing enough sclerosis to make a significant dent in the economy, and I still think that is an example of an economic own goal unrelated to trade policy, but I no longer think that I know the facts and statistics well enough to make a snappy case for it. If I were writing my original comment again, and trying to construct a snappy example of policies unrelated to free trade that have had a foreseeably perverse sclerotic impact on the economy, I’d probably skip the new-companies argument, and instead try to argue from the crossfire of regulation of occupational specialties and land use regulations and knock-on effects like artificially large capital gains realized when people move, and some vaguely-remembered published estimates of the impact on labor mobility and especially interstate labor mobility.

    39. Christopher B Says:

      David Foster Says:
      …I’d observe that when you deal with a business in a dictatorial countries, you are not really dealing only with that company; you are also dealing with that country’s government.

      Since the framework for any international business relationship is going to be built on agreements negotiated between governments, if any, as well as local laws, this isn’t a problem exclusive to dealings with dictatorships.

      If you dig into the history of the European Union and Common Market, England’s often standoff-ish relationship with that organization has been driven by France structuring the EU Common Agricultural Policy to subsidize French farmers with payments from other EU members and the disruption joining the EU caused to food prices in Britain because Britain could no longer favor trade in agricultural products with the Commonwealth.

      (DuckGo Vernon Bogdanor’s lectures hosted by Gresham College on Britain’s relationship with the EU)

    40. MCS Says:

      Free trade sounds like a good idea, we should try it sometime. It certainly hasn’t prevailed during my lifetime or for any discernible interval before. The closest that we came is a sort of reverse mercantilism that encompassed our allies and would be allies during the Cold War. We allowed largely unfettered access to our market while allowing them to erect insurmountable barriers to their own. We did this as a way of subsidizing recovery after WWII and adherence or at least lip service to our ideals of free and open society.

    41. David Foster Says:

      re Sarbanes-Oxley: I know someone who (jointly with his brother) owned a small bank, but concluded several years after Sarb-Ox that they regulatory overhead was just too high, sold the bank, and is now focused on funding of early-stage startups.

      Probably doing more for tech innovation in his current role, but more for local small businesses in his previous gig.

    42. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      From stylistic evidence, it looks like Anonymous at 12.16 am is none other than the infamous William Newman. Don’t worry about that unintended anonymity, Bill. All of the long-time Chicagoboyz commentators have been caught out at one time or another by that problem with the site.

      Bill, you continue to fulminate against “the ‘free trade’ lie”. I also fulminate against the “Free Trade” lie, but the words probably mean something different to each of us. What is clear is that you do not even try to defend “Free Trade” as it is practiced in the real world. That is understandable, because the practice is indefensible. Most of the support for “Free Trade” is high school level — simply people going along with what the cool kids say. But in the real adult world, the cool kids are (Chinese-supported?) academics and (usually bought-off?) politicians and bureaucrats. The problems those people have created for President Trump show that a man needs to have real courage to stand up to those cool kids — and it is very much an uphill fight.

      “Free Trade” as practiced in the real world by the US Political Class has created a true Tragedy of the Commons. For each individual US business, it has made sense to fire their workers, ship their machinery & IP to China, and import cheaper versions of the products they used to make domestically. That has been good in the short term for CEOs and shareholders. But in the longer run when every manufacturer offshores, the consumer market, employment base, and tax base at home are drastically reduced; most of the residents of the US end up worse off. The combination of excessive regulation (no matter how well-intended) and unilateral “Free Trade” is economically devastating, as the US is currently demonstrating. Unfortunately, the US is also demonstrating that economic weakness leads to growing societal dysfunction.

      There is hope for you, Bill. From what you write, it seems you are fully aware of the downsides of excessive regulation in the US. If you can now find the courage to look with clear eyes at how US unilateral “Free Trade” works in reality instead of in the pages of an academic treatise, you may be able to recognize that that proponents of “Free Trade” are mostly either pushing a hidden agenda or are empty-headed followers of fashion.

      Whatever other issues people may have with President Trump, he was one of very few people in the circles of power who had the clear sight to see the unsustainable damage stemming from near-unilateral “Free Trade” and the courage to try to do somethng about it. We all owe him a great debt.

    43. Little Miss Sunshine Says:

      If Trump fails in his effort to reverse the generally accepted outcome of the election, the New York Attorney General will indict him for various crimes related to his businesses. Trump will deny the allegations, his supporters will not believe the charges, but, generally, prosecutors can find indictable crimes where there are complex transactions, particularly involving tax-motivated deals, and can, as the saying goes, indict a ham sandwich. Trump will be extradited from Florida. He will be met at the airport by New York law enforcement with guns drawn and handcuffed. He will be perp-walked to a police van before the TV cameras. Millions around the world will laugh and cheer. He will be deemed a flight risk and denied bail. He will be kept in the harshest possible New York jail awaiting trial. His assets will be frozen, and any lawyer willing to work with him will be doxxed, threatened and harassed. He will either: (a) be convicted of crimes and given a sentence which will keep him in prison for the rest of his life, or (b) he will “commit suicide” as Jeffrey Epstein did, i.e. be murdered by his political enemies to put an end to the threat and send a message. Option (b) seems more likely. In any case, Trump is effectively dead once he is out of office, and there is no future which includes Donald Trump. He challenged the machine. He lost. It will destroy him. Game over.

      Hope I’m wrong.

    44. Lotharius Prong Says:

      If there is a Biden inauguration, Trump should hold a rally at the same time.

      There should also, at the same time, be a Million Deplorable March in DC chanting:

      Stolen Election!

      Not My President!

      Fuck Biden!

      Resist!

      All are repurposed slogans from 2016.

      Except now they will be treated as criminal sedition.

    45. CapitalistRoader Says:

      Trump could replace Rush Limbaugh when Rush can no longer do it. Maybe not all three hours but at least one. Add a daily television show and Trump will be the kingmaker of the GOP. His radio and television audience shares would be huge.

    46. Raymondshaw Says:

      Does anyone remember the anti-apartheid movement against South Africa? It ran from 1959 until 1993 or so. There was something of
      a left-right divide on the issue. Now, China stands before the world accused of committing genocide against its Muslim population.
      But the parties have switched sides. From the democrats all we hear is crickets. Good times, good times.

      How can democrats not notice the profound transformation of their party?

    47. William Newman Says:

      (Duh, as Gavin noted, in my previous comment, the one addressing David Foster’s remarks, I was fretfully fussing with line breaks and maybe even got them right, but I failed to give my name.)

      Gavin, you wrote “You seem to imply that those who look askance at “Free Trade” want to get stuck in the past with technology frozen at some more primitive level.” You seem to imply that those I am responding to are not the kind of people who choose to sneer at the “the ‘free trade’ lie” and who then smoothly transition to writing about how if they had originally written something rather different, it might have been relatively reasonable.

      “While you completely failed this time to make the case for ‘Free Trade’, Bill, please feel free to try again.”

      Was I expected to make a case for free trade? I would be unlikely to try to make the case for quantum mechanics or for Darwin and molecular biology and information theory when some blog commenter sneered at “the ‘quantum mechanics’ lie” or “the ‘natural selection’ lie”. I think the case has been made adequately elsewhere, so I shouldn’t have to. I also think the lite physics-for-poets approach doesn’t work very well for addressing stubborn opposition in a technical controversy, and the straightforward alternative of making the rubble bounce after grinding through portions of at least one solid undergraduate course wouldn’t be a good fit to to a blog comment, however long.

      Free trade is not QM or genetics, but reasoning about free exchange doesn’t work very well without understanding marginal utility, and marginal utility was worked out weirdly late in history. The Greeks thought about trade, and worked out obviously-hard stuff like the geometry of conic sections, but not marginal utility. By the Royal Society era people in the more modern West thought about trade, and worked out obviously-hard stuff like Newton’s laws of motion, but not marginal utility. And now, long after it was worked out, it’s strangely common for people to have trouble thinking about stuff related to marginal utility.

      So, for many reasons, no potted undergraduate course is here, no matter what mayhave been led to expect. I can, however, offer a blog-comment-sized parting shot sort of response to a driveby attack that loftily declines to connect to what it’s criticizing. Not only can we can explain why there are spectral lines, we can explain how to calculate their frequencies from first principles, and in a fair number of cases we can perform the calculation exceedingly accurately, and the result matches experiment exceedingly accurately. We can explain not only why most animals but not quite all have sex, but also why most organisms but not quite all exchange genes … somehow. (Pollen. Plasmids. Side deals with lambdaphage parasite ecologies. Whatever: somehow, but not in a way that reliably resembles popular alternative explanations, notably Old Testament explanations.) Not only does the orthodox “free [international] trade” model fit very well (as social sciences go) the behavior and outcomes seen in many ordinary sorts of international trade, it transitions smoothly into fitting well with domestic trade at all smaller scales, down to the individual. Also I happen to have right here (well, just below) a microeconomic thought experiment showing how one should be careful when constructing an argument against free trade in order not to prove too much. (It also disposes of many arguments which depend on a confusion between absolute efficiency and relative efficiency, of the flavor.)

      In all three responses, I might add the caution that of course I haven’t actually proved the orthodox model correct, I have merely taken a shot or two at shortcomings in what seems to be the critic’s alternative, and provided some justification for why the critic should bother to learn enough about the orthodoxy to criticize it coherently instead of attacking something random, or saying something vague and/or irrelevant, or whatever.

      David Friedman, who you might imagine goes by Dave [*], as indeed you might imagine our (I think) host David Foster does, has pointed out that trade by sea is microeconomically very similar to a factory on the coast which takes an unusual set of inputs to produce its outputs. E.g., a port trading soybeans for cars tends to interact with the rest of the market very much like a factory that happens to use some peculiar machinery which consumes soybeans to produce cars. Of course the analogy can get unreasonably convoluted if you try to match all the details, like a soybean-car factory which stretches so far into the Pacific Ocean that much of the factory ends up under the jurisdiction of the Japanese government. If you target the details hard enough you can make the similarity break down completely — a port-as-a-factory is probably not at all the same thing as an inland factory when you find yourself desperately motivated to make the Japanese government react to the Arab oil embargo in a way that is particularly convenient to you, or when your obligations under the Law of the Sea treaty are the most important issue under consideration. But for the narrow purpose of efficiently getting stuff from the market in which the port or factory participates, the two tend to be very similar. And that purpose is important enough to most people most of the time that the economic efficiency of free trade is naturally important to them. (Other times the most important thing might be something else, like having the facility there so that your military can take it over, or having the facility protected from a foreign military messing with it, or preventing any kind of cooperation with an odious foreign regime. To the extent that getting ordinary goods from the market efficiently is not the important thing, the usual free trade arguments lose force.)

      Given that similarity, if someone denounces “the ‘free trade’ lie” in a way that doesn’t somehow target a distinction between the port and the factory on the seacoast, or a distinction between the factory on the seacoast and a factory inland in Detroit or Nashville, then the denunciation ends up being just as effective in justifying denunciation of “the ‘factory’ lie” as in justifying denunciation of “the ‘free trade’ lie”. We could think of this is the argument failing by proving too much, or we could embrace our inner Ayn Rand villain, exult that we have found a damningly valid denunciation not only of “the ‘free trade’ lie” but of “the ‘factory’ lie” as well, and join into some grand tradition like claiming against all evidence that the Industrial Revolution immiserated the proletariat. (It’s become less popular since the Soviet Union went out of business, but there’s no stubborn dead-ender like a leftist stubborn dead-ender, so the struggle goes on.)

      “hypothetical Ricardo-style free trade between peers in which trade is automatically balanced”

      “‘Fair Trade’ is probably the closest that we can approach that in the real world”

      You could use terms that have a standard unambiguous definition. Or you could use terms whose standard definitions are slightly ambiguous idealizations, but which are commonly realized in ways which preserve the essential idea, e.g., “free market” or “private property”. Or you could at least define your terms. Or you could just argle bargle. (Of course, I stand accused by Xennady of word salad, so I suppose I could be the problem here.)

      Perhaps “hypothetical Ricardo-style […] automatically balanced” ought to be clear to someone other than you, and perhaps it should be clear that you have some valid reason for talking about that instead of connecting clearly to what free trade advocates talk about, but let’s not confuse ‘ought’ with ‘is’ here.

      Perhaps “fair trade” in particular *does* has an unambiguous actionable standard definition somewhere (as opposed to my unkind suspicion that it might mean “that which is superior to free trade” or “one of the ineffably perfect aspects — perfect, I tell you! what part of perfect don’t you understand? are you some sort of public choice theorist or something? — of the perfect trade commissars that we will grant arbitrary authority to”). But I honestly don’t know what such a definition would be, or where to find it. I have only ever encountered the phrase as banal political weasel wording or at Starbucks. Perhaps you could kindly remind me of where you expect your readers to find a sharper definition? A moment with a search engine reveals… that I can find it on merchandise at Starbucks, which I already kinda knew. That doesn’t give me a unambiguously actionable definition, merely a third unkind suspicion, that it’s as vague as the “for peace” that I vaguely remember that Ben and Jerry’s gave 1% to.

      Also, you could write about some points which connect to things that free traders actually advocate. Free traders commonly advocate things like free trade, unilateral free trade, and fairly-free trade no more burdened by taxes than the rest of your economy is. I have seen a critic who hates the orthodox conclusion but doesn’t seem to know what the orthodox arguments are write about “hypothetical Ricardo-style free trade,” and write about “fair trade” as though we should nod instead of suspecting that it’s intentionally vague weasel words, but I don’t remember seeing free traders advocate those things, so it doesn’t seem as though you’re honestly addressing the positions that you are trying to denounce, more that you’re addressing some argle bargle terminology that you brought up for mysterious reasons.

      “As you point out, Bill, there are also other factors to consider in international trade which clearly limit the supposed benefits of ‘Free Trade’.”

      It doesn’t sound like you’re criticizing what I said, or indeed reacting to what anyone said, merely conjuring up something which is easy to strike down. Are the the benefits supposed to be unlimited? Did I say that? Did any free trade advocates say that? It seems like an unusually absurd strawman, because how often do advocates of any policy anywhere claim that there are no factors that limit the benefits?

      So whatever. I still don’t think you’re justified in characterizing it as “the ‘free trade’ lie.” I don’t know how you arrived at the relevance of how I “failed to make the case for ‘Free Trade'” given that there is a fairly standard case for free trade. I don’t know why you’re framing your remarks as though they address me or my points, or framing your discussion as though you are connecting to the usual free trade points, while grounding your points in terms that free traders and orthodox economists in general don’t use or use so rarely that I don’t recognize them, and that I either don’t recognize or have learned to recognize only as evasive weasel-wording. But I perhaps I should just be at peace with accepting that you will be you.

    48. William Newman Says:

      After reading Gavin’s new (11:44 AM) comment, I am tired. To pick on one thing, I spent some effort criticizing Gavin’s insight that the closest we can come to [some sort of] free trade is ‘fair trade’. Reading the new comment, it’s as though he doesn’t have that insight after all: one could read the new comment and think that he doesn’t any special insight into why some kind of free trade is fundamentally impossible, and indeed he might have a clear grasp on the ordinary man-in-the-street understanding that obviously free trade is a *possible* policy, and the drawbacks are things like bad consequences, not impossibility. But now that he has moved on, he writes about at least one new insight, that the proper understanding of the consequences of trade with China has a tragedy of the commons front and center. He can produce insights and move on from them faster than could respond to them even if I cared to, and I expect our readers will not be too disappointed (perhaps more nearly relieved) if I do not try to chase them down and address them.

      I will, however, use this as an example of the thought experiment about the port and the factory. As far as I can see, everything in that sketch of how things happened (goods imported in exchange for exports, effects cascading naturally through the free market argle tragedy of the commons bargle, economic devastation) would make almost exactly as much sense in an alternate universe in which we had constructed a big coastal factory which eats our basket of exports and spits out our basket of imports. Then right or wrong, the analysis is just as much a point about the economic disaster naturally caused by factories as a point about the economic disaster naturally caused by ports. It doesn’t need to be a broad Luddite-ish point that “no factories because argle tragedy of the commons bargle”. Gavin pretty clearly prefers to argue for a narrower commissar-ish point instead: that we need ‘fair trade’ commissars (from my guess earlier that he does not actually have a tidy rule-of-law well-understood clear meaning of ‘fair trade’ in his pocket) because argle tragedy of the commons bargle. Then my point is that this is not just an argument we need fair trade commissars because the mechanisms of the free market naturally yield this kind of disastrous outcome, it is almost exactly as much an argument that we need fair factory commissars because the mechanisms of the free market naturally yield this kind of disastrous outcome. Some will smile and nod, but some will say “waitaminnit, I know something about the impact of factories in the real world, and this conclusion doesn’t smell right, so maybe I should suspect that the economic reasoning is faulty somehow.”

      And to try to clarify one more time: although it is not hard to find criticisms about free-ish trade that fall into this (and then often provoke a different initial impression when they do), it is also not hard to find criticisms that don’t fall into it, because the analogy breaks down badly somehow. For example, I am not sure how much Mike K would find ourselves in agreement once things got to brass tacks about the implementation of foreign and trade policy, or that we would agree about the economic consequences of various things, and I don’t think he’s correctly characterizing anything like the mainstream of argument for free trade (today, or in any era), so I’m not a gushing fanboy here… but I absolutely can’t criticize his “honest dealing” point for arbitrarily relying on an analysis about ports that we would reject about factories. Interpreting and fleshing out his argument in what seems like the natural way, he is arguing about a level of dishonesty that would land factory owners and operators in jail, and for that purpose domestic factory owners and operators that can be punished for violations of our laws are naturally very different from foreign traders that operate outside our authority to do that, so the analogy naturally breaks down.

    49. Brian Says:

      I mentioned Dana White above. I think he beats any GOP elected official easily if he wanted to run for President.
      https://twitter.com/Cernovich/status/1341106879536066560

    50. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Bill — you appear to be having a very long argument with yourself without (so far) addressing the issue. Hopefully, your internal discussion will eventually be productive and you may come to see reality.

      President Trump is the man who talked about “Fair Trade” — by which he meant level playing fields, as opposed to the severely-unbalanced near-unilateral “Free Trade” which the Political Class has given us. Seems rather obvious.

      One of the implicit assumptions in the theoretical Ricardoan “Free Trade” is that everybody in both trading countries keeps fully employed and producing. Countries specialize in what they can make best, each producing more than that country needs, and then they trade their surpluses with each other. The terms of trade automatically balance through the magic of exchange rate variations — there are no persistent trade surpluses or deficits in that theoretical model.

      In the real world, China supplies the US with goods which it can make more cheaply due in large part to substantially lower costs for regulatory burdens, environmental protection, legal risks, and workplace standards. In this near-unilateral “Free Trade”, the US workers who used to make those goods are too often left unemployed & unproductive — a burden on the remaining taxpayers. And the US runs a huge persistent unsustainable Balance of Trade Deficit.

      The contrast between Ricardo’s hypothetical world and the real world is massive. You used a lot of words, Bill — an awful lot of words! — but you never actually got to grips with explaining why the US is better off under this kind of near-unilateral “Free Trade” (which is so attractive to Chairman Xi) than it would be under Trumpian “Fair Trade”.

      Just to take one example, since it is contrary to US law to dump industrial waste into the river instead of treating it, then it is only fair that imports should have to meet that same standard. We have that law in order to save the planet, for Goodness Sake! It makes no difference to the planet whether the polluted river is in the US or China. Tariffs on imported products that do not comply with US standards are a fair way to make the foreign manufacturer face up to those unfairly-avoided costs.

      The issue of trade policy is an important one — which is why President Trump grappled with it. Unfortunately, he met a lot of resistance from entrenched political, bureaucratic, CEO circles, i.e. the narrow section of the US population which benefits from current policies. But the issue remains. If you ever satisfy yourself, Bill, that there is a cogent focused case in favor of near-unilateral “Free Trade”, please share it.

    51. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Brian: “I mentioned Dana White above. I think he beats any GOP elected official easily if he wanted to run for President.”

      Let’s be serious! The Democrat Establishment is proving they can steal Presidential elections and get away with it. Why would any reasonable person put himself through the hell of running for President as a Republican when he knows that his defeat is preordained, regardless of the number of votes he gets.

      We have to live in the real world. Elections are so yesterday.

    52. Brian Says:

      Sigh. Good grief. You want to throw in the towel because they stole the election? Go ahead. Have a nice life crying on the internet. I said the day after the election, before Biden had even passed Trump in the stolen states, that it was over, they stole it fair and square. You’re going to see the GOPe swept aside in the next election, and a new GOP full of people who won’t sit by and just let it happen again. Next time they tell people to leave, that counting is over, you think they’re going to just do it? Heck no. Look at the Democrats. You telling me that these ancient depraved crooks fill you with fear, that there’s just no point in opposing them, it’s all over? Come on, man.

    53. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      “Brian Says:
      December 21st, 2020 at 4:48 pm”

      I suspect it is not throwing in the towel on politics or opposition to the tyrants. Politics is whatever means are used to settle differences between groups of people. It is throwing in the towel on electoral politics since the enemy has perfected cheating and is protected completely by the criminal justice system all the way up to the Supreme Court.

      The old way will not work anymore. We have to have a new way, a new social compact, and a new understanding that politics is no longer a substitute for war, akin to Clausewitz’s saying, but it is in fact war until there is that new compact that is agreed to as valid and universally applicable by almost everybody. We have to accept that those who undermined the Constitution deliberately are a) our enemies, b) have called for our enslavement and/or death, and c) have absolute control of the Security Organs of State Power and no more compunction about using them against us with fatal effect than Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.

      We are at an “awkward stage”. There will be no more real elections.

      Subotai Bahadur

    54. David Foster Says:

      “would make almost exactly as much sense in an alternate universe in which we had constructed a big coastal factory which eats our basket of exports and spits out our basket of imports.”

      Not really: in the case of the factory, we (Americans) would get employment building and operating the factory, and would develop skills, and quite possibly major innovations, which would become part of the American Commonwealth as well as benefiting the individuals directly.

      Consider: what if it had been logistically feasible to have the Model T Ford built in Mexico by workers earning 20 cents per day?…not much need to worry about labor productivity in that case. So the Model Ts would still have been cheap, but there would have be no introduction of the assembly line and other productivity-enhancing technologies to the American economy at large.

    55. William Newman Says:

      David Foster wrote “Consider: what if it had been logistically feasible to have the Model T Ford built in Mexico by workers earning 20 cents per day?…not much need to worry about labor productivity in that case. So the Model Ts would still have been cheap, but there would have be no introduction of the assembly line and other productivity-enhancing technologies to the American economy at large.”

      I grant that the spillover effects aren’t the same, but I’m not sure that’s actionable information unless you are very optimistic about the ability of central planners, or unless the spillover effects are the kind of thing that libertarians already gripe about the law not handling at all correctly (e.g., for a long time having very little pushback to heavy industry about the costs imposed by smokestack emissions).

      Beyond that, when you try to make a point about how the spillover effect is negative, and you build your point on a calculation that shows the sign of the spillover effects is negative, why are you calculating by summing the lost side effects of running the Ford assembly line but tacitly ignoring the found side effects of whatever economic activity took its place to produce the goods to trade for the cars? (There will probably also be side effects of whatever people chose to do with the savings that had motivated them to keep buying better cars for less, but maybe there’s more reason to punt on them: there’s so much freedom (perhaps just using the savings for leisure?) that if you place no value on people’s economic opportunities to do what they want, it’s hard to say what sign they are.) Similarly, I can’t usually tell you much about how people will spend the that money they wouldn’t need to spend to fix a broken window if it were not broken, but the “broken window fallacy” is nonetheless a fallacy. More generally it seems like bad practice to calculate the sign of an effect by just tallying up the negative terms and ignoring the positive terms, especially without being explicit about why you choose to in effect assume that upsides (especially upsides that correspond directly to the downsides you tallied) are completely negligible.

      We could speculate about how the USA would have developed spending the money and effort on something other than the auto assembly line. Maybe incrementally more like Texas, with more resource extraction and agriculture. Maybe incrementally more like Germany or upstate New York, with more chemical industry and glass and electronics. But if I were guessing about what’s plausible, I’d actually first start with how implausible it seems that putting an industrial plant in Mexico would have been supercompetitive. People from lots of countries had lots of chances to do heavy industry in lots of Latin American countries in the first half of the twentieth century, and I don’t know many success stories. We can speculate about why, but I think the answer of what exactly the reason was is less clear than the conclusion that there was some reason.

    56. Brian Says:

      Subotai: You’re right, but we’ve got a few more election wins in us before things totally fly apart, I’m quite sure.
      The next GOP president won’t be nearly as nice as Trump.

    57. CapitalistRoader Says:

      There are bills in the hopper, updated from last session, that would gut the 2nd Amendment here in Colorado, and several of them feature gun confiscation.

      They’re going to have a tough time with mine because they don’t even know I have them. Bought before federal background checks, and CO prohibits gun registration. CRS 29-11.7-102:

      29-11.7-102. Firearms database – prohibited
      (1) A local government, including a law enforcement agency, shall not maintain a list or other form of record or database of:
      (a) Persons who purchase or exchange firearms or who leave firearms for repair or sale on consignment;
      (b) Persons who transfer firearms, unless the persons are federally licensed firearms dealers;
      (c) The descriptions, including serial numbers, of firearms purchased, transferred, exchanged, or left for repair or sale on consignment.

      Yeah, the could change the statute, but they’d still be stuck with Irish democracy. See: Australia.

    58. Anonymous Says:

      }}} }}} “2) What we do “sell” to them is vastly undervalued.”
      }}} Says who? One of the key rules of markets…

      You confuse MONEY with the benefits to society that it brings, which is generally not readily defined in terms of money, because it’s so dispersed. Yes, you can try and create a money value, but you will generally miss a huge percentage of it.

      A movie brings someone out of a depression, and, inspired, they invent a cure for cancer. How do you value that? How would you measure it? yeah, it’s totally hypothetical, but that kind of thing happens a billion times a day. If it’s only 5 bucks of “social value” each time, on average, that it “adds” to society, that’s 5 billion a day.

      This is, by current methodology, seriously impossible to measure and assign a value to. Yet the “value” of any IP is only the money it brings in, not the social benefits it provides.

      THIS IS MY POINT.

      Moreover, I can “steal” your IP and you are literally almost no worse off for it. How do you “value” something like that in terms of REAL THINGS? How do you VALUE something that can bring me value if I steal it from you (using the term as “take it without your permission”) and you defacto lose NOTHING?

      Markets are not set up to measure value in this circumstance.

      The only thing you have “clearly” lost is the opportunity to sell it to me… and, if our ethos was stronger, it would happen that I would donate to you at some point if and when I am financially able. Ideally, the system would also find a way to assign a nominal value and a moderate means of providing recompense to the creator. All this is another issue, however.

      The simple fact is, the economy is a general mess because economists are mostly treating IP as though value worked the same way with it. It most emphatically does not.

      Again: They are both forms of property, yes. But they are no more alike in SOME ways than ice is to steam. Both are “water”. But there is a phase change defining how you interact with them, and their behaviors. Hence, some rules ARE the same, some are very very much NOT.

    59. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Brian: “The next GOP president won’t be nearly as nice as Trump.”

      Maybe you are right, Brian, and there will be a future GOP President. Maybe not. Time will tell.

      I base my pessimism about electoral politics on observation of human nature — once someone realizes he can get away with something crooked without any consequences, he is likely to do it again.

      The Democrat bureaucrats in 90% Democrat-voting DC has shown they can undermine a GOP President and successfully thart many of his plans with no comeback. Now the Democrat leadership has learned they can steal electveons — not just dogcatcher elections and Democrat primaries, but presidential elections. Looking at the State-by-State numbers, the indications are that Democrats fabricated votes even in States they knew they were going to win anyway. When the next election rolls around (if there is a next election) why would the Democrat Establishment unilaterally disarm and stop fabricating votes?

      But being realistic about the probability that the Democrats now have a lock on future “elections” does not mean we lie down and take it. It simply means we need to face reality and stop wasting our time on the kabuki theater of fraudulent elections. We need to start thinking outside that particular box.

    60. Xennady Says:

      There is hope for you, Bill.

      No there isn’t. Free trade is every bit as much an article of faith for some folks as communism is for others. What happens in reality doesn’t actually matter.

      In any case, Trump is effectively dead once he is out of office, and there is no future which includes Donald Trump. He challenged the machine. He lost. It will destroy him. Game over.

      Trump has already withstood the Mueller investigation- which was created solely to ruin him, because he challenged the machine- and has plenty of money to hire a festival of lawyers. Not only, but Trump has plainly had political ambitions for decades and seems to have kept his hands squeaky clean for exactly that reason. I wouldn’t assume the demonrat AG of NY could easily make up a swarm of trumped-up charges (ha ha) and casually ruin him.

      Was I expected to make a case for free trade?

      Forgive me, but what were you talking about otherwise, that people here might disagree with? Again admitting that I may have missed something, I would mostly agree with you commentary excepting the advocacy for “free trade.”

      Free traders commonly advocate things like free trade, unilateral free trade, and fairly-free trade no more burdened by taxes than the rest of your economy is.

      It sure looks like you’re attempting to make a case for free trade here, btw.

      To the extent that getting ordinary goods from the market efficiently is not the important thing, the usual free trade arguments lose force.

      You don’t say. How many nation-states do you think put the goal of getting ordinary goods from the market efficiently above continuing their own existence? I would suggest one, the United States, but not with the approval of its people, and perhaps not for long. Also, please discuss Triffin’s Dliemma.

      We are at an “awkward stage”. There will be no more real elections.

      I’ll repeat myself. Even if we have no more real elections, not showing up to vote is still a critical mistake. Presently- when people have thought elections matter- the left has had to work hard and expensively to “win,” barely. If their opponents decide elections don’t matter, the left will win cheaply and comprehensively.

      Elections are another front in the upcoming civil war. Vote as if your life depends upon it, because it might.

    61. Brian Says:

      This atrocity of a bill that Congress just passed is going to accelerate the death of the GOPe. Congratulations, idiots. You just guaranteed that the crazies are going to successfully primary every possible one of you. The crazier the better.
      You thought the Tea Party was bad? Now you’re going to get a new version that isn’t just angry at overspending Dems, they hate the GOP with the white hot heat of a thousand suns, and they think the government is fundamentally corrupt and illegitimate.

    62. OBloodyHell Says:

      Sorry, that
      Anonymous Says:
      December 21st, 2020 at 9:30 pm

      was me, in the unlikely event the }}} usage did not give it away.

      In case anyone is curious about that habit, I prefer to make it very clear exactly what/who what I am responding to (replies can be from anyone, of course) — email used to (sometimes does, if you’re not using HTML mail) preface a quoted part with “>>>”, so I emulated that (I would reply with quoted e-mail, then elide the parts I wasn’t commenting about), even when not using e-mail.

      Problem is, some more editors reject “>>>” as malformed HTML, so… “}}}” because, duh, braces are just parentheses with airs, just like brokets are snooty parentheses… :-D

    63. OBloodyHell Says:

      BTW, since Xennady mentioned Triffin’s Dilemma, I was reminded of another thing… When a large portion of your wealth is produced by IP, it means a Gold Standard is defacto impossible to maintain. Given the inherently “fuzzy” valuation I’ve asserted for IP, you have no fixed basis upon which to say “We can equate THIS much wealth currently in the system with THESE fixed gold reserves.” At any given time, it may be wildly out of whack. Moreover, with IP as the force generating wealth, you could have some new technology which radically changed the valuation of a wide array of things, either zeroing one form of IP, or pumping a tremendous new supply of wealth into the aggregate wealth. So again, any fixed mechanism is going to sludge the flow of the economy.

      An example of this, suppose some new AI that can write software is developed and released tomorrow (Let’s ignore the Singularity question this might produce), this would make a hell of a lot of existing skills and software techs irrelevant. It would likely destroy a wide swathe of companies dependent on the Status Quo, and it would do it almost overnight. Wealth valuation thus becomes much much more volatile.

      This can have an affect on Real Goods, as well, if you assume the IP was instead something that radically changed the utility of, say, fuel cells, such that the gasoline market could disappear within a few years, with a switch to a pure hydrogen economy (again, this is more complex than suggested by this, but you can see how the ramifications are far from minor). This kind of thing/possibility has always existed around tech, but with IP being constantly developed as an inherent part of the economic system, it’s not going to be a once in a rare while thing, it’s something that can happen at any time whatsoever.

      We live in a very volatile timeframe, for good or bad.

    64. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      William Newman: “… why are you calculating by summing the lost side effects of running the Ford assembly line but tacitly ignoring the found side effects of whatever economic activity took its place to produce the goods to trade for the cars?”

      There is a sort of magical thinking that seems to have a great attraction for true believers in “Free Trade”. In the hypothetical world, Bill’s question is highly reasonable. Of course US workers would have had to produce something of value for Mexicans in order to trade for those hand-built Mexican Model Ts. Otherwise, why would Mexico trade with the US? No-one is going to exchange real goods & services for mere pieces of paper! And of course the Americans who did not have jobs in automobile plants would be doing other work, producing goods & services which other people want.

      Then we look to the real world. In reality, and much more recently than David Foster’s hypothetical Model T example, a big chunk of former US automobile manufacturing has in fact moved to Mexico, thanks to what Ross Perot called NAFTA’s “giant sucking sound”. So we don’t have to speculate about a hypothetical, we simply need the willingness to look at what actually happened. Reality is that many of the jobs lost to Mexico have not been replaced; too many former US workers are now unproductive and a burden on remaining US productive citizens; and the US is running an unsustainable trade deficit with Mexico.

      I would be the first to argue that part of the reason hypothetical “Free Trade” fails in the real world is because the US Political Class has erected so many lawyer-friendly barriers to new business. Nevertheless, the observable fact is that the kind of near-unilateral “Free Trade” imposed by the US Political Class has been a desperate failure for the American people and for the long-term sustainability of the US economy & country.

      Should we pay attention to unsupported Pollyanna beliefs, or to the evidence? Sadly, President Trump was one of the few in high places who looked at reality — and the Political Class (Republicrat & Democrat) could not accept that.

    65. MCS Says:

      Getting back to the original question of what Trump will do; the answer is completely obvious. He’ll do exactly whatever the hell he wants to do. There’s no politician in my memory less deferential to convention or less likely to consult anyone.

      As to what I would like or think would be most likely to move the country in a better direction, I am at a loss beyond not running for President again. I believe it would just delay the necessary reckoning of the GOP to turn it into something I can support. This is based on the, probably naive, supposition that the alternative isn’t just another Romney or even the man himself.

      I am totally confident that he will not stand off to the side, maintaining a decorous silence. I almost wish that Twitter would ban him. If he doesn’t already have a plan, I’m sure it wouldn’t take more than a few hours to come up with a way to bypass Twitter completely. Anything he says will get out and then force Twitter to try to control the avalanche of links and quotes. The Streisand effect lives, there’s nothing better for sales than being banned in Boston. If he were to self publish a book, the 70% of gross sales would probably make the Obama extortion of the publishing houses look like stealing a stick of gum from the candy store.

      There’s still nearly a month for him to give the finger to the “intelligence” community and declassify all the evidence of their shenanigans. I don’t believe the damage from releasing it approaches the damage that has already occurred or the ongoing damage from giving these seditious creeps a license for the future.

    66. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      With respect to the question of what will Trump do, the much more significant question is — What will WE do?

      We need to be careful about the “Man on a White Horse” syndrome, where some hero is going to arise, take the slings & arrows, and make the world the way it ought to be. The abuse which the Political Class has heaped on President Trump demonstrates that one hero alone does not stand a chance. And too often in history, a successful man on a white horse has turned out to be a Stalin or a Mao.

      We the People have learned that even a worthy man like President Trump cannot single-handedly save us from those who would enslave us. We have learned that the Party of Paul Ryan, John McCain, Pierre Delicto is worthless — mostly fellow travelers of our would-be rulers. We have learned that government bureaucrats are dishonest, conniving — and apparently unfireable. We have learned that lawyers and Courts are an abomination — but we suspected that before. We have learned the media are simply propaganda arms of our would-be rulers — but we knew that already. We know that the current situation of our idiot Political Class spending money it does not have and running up debts that can never be repaid is unsustainable. And we know that elections from now on will be kabuki theater, yielding whatever result is preordained by the slave-masters.

      So, what will WE do?

    67. BobtheRegisterredFool Says:

      What Trump does is not entirely ill-relevant. There are a few possibilities remaining, but you can ignore those if you are skeptical of thedonald dot win.

      ‘After Jan. 21 2021’ is premised on none of those possibilities materializing.

      So as Gavin says. Except that I would say that there is no ‘we’. Personal reactions of a bunch of individuals.

      The old things that held us in a working consensus are gone. The incentives are broken.

      Movement towards a new and different consensus is not something that can be planned for. As in, borrowing language from other fields, we cannot use linear forecasting models to perfectly plan a trajectory through a state space where the system is strongly non-linear.

      All any of us can really know is our own mind, and we can plan on that basis. a) What comes after is not humanly knowable. b) A system that depends on the properties of a single person is not a stable reliable system.

      ‘Man on a white horse’ theoretical models of an answer to the current problem may be a waste of analytical time. ‘Trump will repair this somehow’ may have value if one is so depressed that one is considering spending one’s life wastefully. None of us yet has the information to design any sort of answer. Only thing to do is keep eyes open, act on own plans, and see how it plays out.

    68. Mike K Says:

      The abuse which the Political Class has heaped on President Trump demonstrates that one hero alone does not stand a chance. And too often in history, a successful man on a white horse has turned out to be a Stalin or a Mao.

      I agree with this. There is a significant population shift going on right now and it will accelerate. California may be the hardest hit as it is heavily dependent on income taxes paid by high income residents just as the tech industry is leaving. New York is another. Maybe we will just shift around until we are comfortable in our space. We did this four years ago by leaving California. We are visiting right now and my wife is noticing the level of hysteria on the TV news.

      Maybe what Kurt Schlicter has described can happen without violence. Let the Democrats trash their own cities and states if they will leave us alone.

    69. Jonathan Says:

      There is obviously a migration to South Florida, judging by real estate markets and the number of cars here with NY license plates. There is obviously a similar migration from California to Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Texas etc. Whether these migrations ultimately help or harm the conservative cause is an empirical question that will be answered by time.

      The question of what Trump will do, or as Miss Sunshine speculates, what will be done to him, is also empirical and should be answered relatively quickly. It is bad enough that there is any uncertainty about the answer.

    70. MCS Says:

      I think the idea that there can be some sort of neat red state / blue state divide is extremely unlikely. There are probably very few places where the distribution is far from 55/45% one way or another. People are picturing Czechoslovakia, what we’ll get will be more like India/Pakistan, probably far worse.

      You can be sure that a lot of the out of state license plates belong to people committed to the progressive agenda with the exception of their tax bill

    71. BobtheRegisterredFool Says:

      Let the Democrats trash their own cities and states if they will leave us alone.

      Problem. Are those actually their cities and states?

      Until ballot integrity and accountability is in place, it is possible that those are areas with Republican majorities, but with fraud overcoming it.

      Utah and Oklahoma had among the lowest fraction of votes for Obama. Oklahoma has since ‘passed’ so-called marijuana legalization. Which may have been covertly frauded in, given a lack of determined opposition. It isn’t clear that college towns can’t be used as a base for future fraud in even the reddest of states.

      Before the election, I thought a defensive game was viable. Avoid living in states that may vote in Democrat governors, and avoid living in the cities they rule.

      Now, “let them hurt their own” means letting them intimidate and kill Republican sympathizers, so that they have secure rear areas when they fraud control of Red areas.

      I think the idea that there can be some sort of neat red state / blue state divide is extremely unlikely.

      Same basic issue that the Confederacy would have run into if they won the first war. If you can’t bind peoples to peace domestically, trying instead to bind them to peace internationally does not work. Sherman was right, a CSA ‘victory’ would have ultimately resulted in Mexico.

    72. Xennady Says:

      Problem. Are those actually their cities and states?

      I bet no. Reportedly out of the so-called bellwether counties Trump won all of them- except the county in Washington state, which votes by mail only. The rather obvious implication is that the leftists wrecking that state aren’t counting all the votes of badthinkers. At this point I have no doubt that sort of thing happens often. I know in my state, the 2018 elections gave us several obviously well financed ballot initiatives to make fraud easier, which all “won.” The gop was- of course- nowhere to be seen.

      Now, “let them hurt their own” means letting them intimidate and kill Republican sympathizers, so that they have secure rear areas when they fraud control of Red areas.

      Intimidate and kill Trump supporters- to quote the aforementioned Sherman, war is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.

      I recall another quote, from an army officer not General Sherman- never give the men an order you know they will not obey. I think that sooner or later- and perhaps very soon- the regime will give orders some large fraction of the country will not obey. Perhaps lawsuits will result and delay the inevitable, perhaps not, but as the Trump-hating left has never been told no and never seems to grasp consequences, my guess is that they will end up inciting open defiance followed by violent resistance.

      I know I’ve said it here before- and I remember it even if no one else does- but we are in the Dredd Scott phase of events, where the left figures conservatives have no rights they should feel bound to respect. After all, nazi lives don’t matter- which is the actual handle of someone I saw on Parler- and Trump supporters are nazis, according to the left.

      Why should anyone think this will end in anything other than violence?

    73. Xennady Says:

      We are visiting right now and my wife is noticing the level of hysteria on the TV news.

      Oh, the huge manatee.

      This quite literally couldn’t happen to a more deserving swarm of parasites, which I presume is now why the California regime is trying to figure out how to tax people after they escape. My condolences to the good people of that state, both those still trapped and those who have been driven out.

      Anyway, the California left has achieved everything it could ever wish for, and it still isn’t enough. I presume they haven’t quite yet run out of other people’s money, but they see the handwriting on the wall. Hence the hysteria.

      But this is why there will not be any sort of peaceful red/blue divorce. Parasites need hosts- and they can’t just let them move away to a free country.

      Whether these migrations ultimately help or harm the conservative cause is an empirical question that will be answered by time.

      The usual assumption I’ve seen is that the migration is leftists who have fouled their own nest and are moving on to foul everyone else’s. However, I have lately read that in fact it is mostly conservatives who have been driven out by leftists and help keep certain states red. For example, supposedly Ted Cruz won in 2018 only because of conservative California refugees.

      I don’t know if this is true. But as my belief is that the left often “wins” only by fraud, perhaps the left makes that usual assumption about the migrations and hasn’t managed to calibrate the fraud well enough to the reality to win.

    74. Mike K Says:

      The usual assumption I’ve seen is that the migration is leftists who have fouled their own nest and are moving on to foul everyone else’s. However, I have lately read that in fact it is mostly conservatives who have been driven out by leftists and help keep certain states red. For example, supposedly Ted Cruz won in 2018 only because of conservative California refugees.

      I think individual refugees, like us, tend to be conservative escaping the lunatics. I am concerned with big companies, like Oracle leaving for Austin TX. The employees are going to keep their jobs, not for dissatisfaction with the dysfunctional politics they aren leaving. Austin has been pretty crazy for a while, though.