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  • A (partially successful) attempt at a reasoned response

    Posted by Ginny on March 20th, 2021 (All posts by )

    to Harris/Biden in Atlanta on Friday. Or an exercise explaining Why I swear at the tv. Mid-way to rational thought, it is at least better than ***!!!###. Aside: Posting here is a great gift. Writing – like speech with others – forces us to use words. Our founders would use the word deliberate, to move from gut response to reason. Let’s begin with them for perspective:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . . “

    “Hate crimes” violate not only our laws but our core belief that in each (and all) is a divine spark, that is one way we are truly equal. However, “hate” for an individual or a random act of pointless violence is also hate. Inchoate anger is hardly virtuous. Haters choose the weak, the dependent, the isolated, the outlier; they want neither consequences nor pricks of conscience. “Knock out” punches throw the weak, the elderly, the unprepared to the ground and are often too random to easily assign blame; knowing society identifies less with such victims makes quick punishment less likely; an important distance comes from convincing one’s self such a victim is not “equal”, is not human – that stills the conscience.

    Our president and vice president commented on a heinous crime Friday in Atlanta; a man feeling himself controlled by drives beyond his will faulted others, the tempters, society. That is evil. But politicians and the media blinked at the evil and turned the crime to their own use – a use apparently unsupported by facts, that betrays their own responsibility “to promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty.” Their speech, like their actions on the border, are designed not to rally nor unite, certainly not to better secure.

    Our culture at its best has taught internalization of values and responsibility; our virtue arises from our choice of the good, that another path is offered gives us choice not excuse. Sinful thoughts may be inevitable, but our reasons should cool our passions, stop us from actng. This killer could not kill the thought, so tried to kill its representation – as if the women were not individual breathing souls but abstractions, impediments. That is an old evil. Indeed, the very form it takes is not new but then evil is always old. How often is the victim an outlier, vulnerable? Aren’t murderers always bullies?

    The democrats argue Asians in America are victims of white racists, the prism through which they focus this week. Race seems to work for them – or at least they think it does. But this is neither a useful nor truthful approach nor does it bring the unity Biden claims. Deaths of runaways, homeless people, and women (and children) in certain service industries are often given short shrift, their vulnerability, their weakness preyed on by the vicious and sociopathic, capable of cruelties difficult to contemplate. (Google “homeless” “burn” “fire” – the one from last week is but one among many in a short period.)

    The undynamic duo implied much that is not statistically true. Violence against Asians is less often from whites and prejudices predate Covid. (Chris Wallace harangued a guest about such covid bigotry, within minutes describing a variant as “British.” I don’t think we need to spend a lot of time feeling guilty for his xenophobia toward England.) Conflating Korean and Chinese and Japanese and Indian doesn’t seem particularly “woke” nor make our vice president’s ethnic empathy ring all that true. Nor does banning the label keep us from remembering exactly what China did and WHO abetted it.

    But it is less what they said than what they didn’t. Cartels running a protection racket take much more than money; the percentage of migrants who have experienced sexual violence is large, drugs are slipped through in the midst of chaos. Governor Abbott spoke at the border, discussing a fear those who know the border well have – that unaccompanied children are vulnerable in that long trek and also as targets for traffickers. The border’s chaos has given the manipulative and the violent, the evil, a vulnerable population. The hypocrisy over covid – at schools disproportionately feared, at the border ignored – is only one unbalanced equation; hypocrisy comes from other insensitivities – to drug deaths and kiddie porn, to lives debased and devalued.

    Instead, the deadly duo managed to move on from labeling the nation they represent racist to descriptions of their generosity with our children’s money. Implicit in the rest of their address was the assumption that Americans should delight in our infantilization, implying we are dependent, greedy, and indolent. They share with the sociopathic murderer little ability to take responsibility for their own actions. They, too, see the people whom they represent as pawns, to manipulate in their expression of personal power. Meanwhile, they ignore the purpose they assumed with executive power. Many a great man has understood this as a duty to secure the safety of those represented, a duty to promote maturity, liberty and virtue, to lead. Do they recognize this? They willfully (and selfishly) create chaos and cynicism, weakening us abroad as well as at home.

     

    59 Responses to “A (partially successful) attempt at a reasoned response”

    1. Thomas Earl Fry III Says:

      Great post. About time someone said that. Sadly 99% of our so called leaders or representatives to our capital city could never have said it and would not know what to do about it if they had the chance or the desire, which they don’t. Instead we are now led by a deeply evil hidden cabal of leftist/Marxist that seem to be taking us to a deeply dark and disturbing place and using a couple of puppets to do it so they can install their deeply delusional utopia at some point in the future. God help us.

      Certain members of left have long dreamed of the opportunity that they are taking advantage of as we speak. Thus I blame them not for what is taking place. I blame the leaders of the Republican party that were in power post Reagan and thought Reagan’s ideas that he often articulated about our founding were silly and unnecessary but instead preferred to virtue signal about being “kinder and gentler” with more free stuff so they could draw votes from people from the clueless middle and left and say to hell with traditional conservative patriots. They were all seemingly clueless and careless about the erosion of knowledge among our people of our founding fathers and their ideas and principles. Thus where we are today. Thank you Bush Family, Bob Dole, John McCain, John Boehner Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnel, and yes, Donald Trump and all the other Reagan dismissers, beltway posers, money suckers and fools that somehow thought they were the ticket to a better country with seemingly no knowledge or appreciation of those that made it possible for them to ever run for office in the first place nor a care of what might come of their ignoring or twisting of the founders first principles.

    2. Mike K Says:

      Biden is a Potemkin president, installed in office only to present the illusion of a moderate Democrat which no longer exists. The Democrat Party is a party of technocrats who are not elected and who are far less talented than they think they are.

      The brain of this party seems to be one invented by Barack Obama who used racism to try to stir up black voters and bind them to the party that holds them in contempt as inferiors. Affirmative Action is the policy side of that contempt and it has worked to some degree but the new demands for “Reparations” shows that feeding the beast does not reduce hunger.

      Asians are much more meritocratic and have intact families, a major factor in success. The Democrats and their more radical elements are firmly anti-family. They have moved from gay marriage to LGBTQ to transgender demands, showing again, that feeding does not reduce hunger.

      The latest atrocity seems to be one of sexual, rather than racial frustration. I wonder if anyone has asked if any of the women killed were victims of trafficking? So far they seem to be symbols devoid of humanity. It is despicable to try to use such an event for partisan advantage, especially when it seems untrue as to then facts.

      We have passed the point that ethics affect the Democrat Party.

    3. Brian Says:

      I assume that Chernenko Joe made some sort of appearance the other day, then? I have no idea, I don’t do cable news, and nothing he does makes any penetration on social media that I can tell. No one takes him seriously. It’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen.
      This notion that there is some massive rash of anti-Asian violence due to white supremacists is the most insane gaslighting since the last time they pulled the same trick–last year with anti-Jewish crime.

    4. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      They use words instrumentally, for effect only, not for meaning. It is nonetheless a good idea to try and put your own thoughts clearly, in the wild hope that some day you will be able to reason with them.

    5. Ginny Says:

      AVI – McGregor(?) said the armed services for twenty years have have been fighting a fierce enemy but not an A team; if China attacks it will definitely be match our technology, training, and destructive capability. He worries about that. Probably the same might be said for reasoned argument – if we ever have an opponent we can reason with it would be good if we were fit to do so.

    6. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Ginny: “… if China attacks it will definitely be match our technology, training, and destructive capability.”

      Sad part is that the US would need Chinese-made components to be able to fight back — and what are the chances of China providing those components during a war?

      One of the strangest parts of the CovidScam was the panic over toilet paper — one of the few products actually made in North America. Yet we saw a classic panic in which the shelves were cleared of toilet paper, the supply chain was overwhelmed, and a massive shortage developed.

      Now imagine what would happen if China’s rulers just threatened to put a trade embargo on the US. Think of the panic as Walmarts got stripped clean by panic buying and Amazon ran out of products to sell.

      China will never attack the US militarily. The Chinese Communist Party does not need to. They can bring the US to its knees without firing a shot.

      And it is our own fault for offshoring the productive parts of our economy. “Free Trade”, and all that.

    7. Jonathan Says:

      …the wild hope that some day you will be able to reason with them.

      It does seem like a wild hope.

    8. Anonymous Says:

      All of what Ginny said describes why we are weakened and severely challenged to reverse our current decline. This makes us vulnerable to both internal and external threats. It is a package deal. Russia still a regional player, but has major obstacles to any significant expansion. We seem to be trying to jump start their oil and gas opportunities by restricting our output.

      China is another story. Very focused, on message and on task. Team Biden was slammed in the first face to face. Embrassing or what? So I’m asking myself why the CCP is pouring massive resources to rise toward to our level of military and economic power, including acquiring projection sites overseas. They do have internal needs that could use attention. Info tech is their friend, but we’re all going to see if that really works in the long run.

      Might it be that such power has a secondary use for internal order as well as regional power projection, including backing the US out of the Far East and keeping India all Gandi. Still it seems to me that their goal is bigger than just that and some of their current moves seem to support more than just regional supremacy. They are insecure about being energy dependent and including much coal use.

      I agree that they can probably buy us and subvert us into second tier status which leaves the field open for their dominance. If you thought the old imperialism was ugly, put a Marxist face on that pig and you an idea what that might look like.

      Death6

    9. Mike K Says:

      Sad part is that the US would need Chinese-made components to be able to fight back — and what are the chances of China providing those components during a war?

      I’ve been doing some reading about WWI. The British had terrible generals who killed a generation of young men but the worst failure was industrial. The Royal Flying Corps learned early that aircraft engines were a big barrier to war in the air. At first, they found that the RFC imported all magnetos for engines from Germany. They lacked machine guns and many German patents were honored throughout the war, leaving the British short of crucial components.

      I suspect, if we did get into a war with China, a similar circumstance would exist.

    10. ErisGuy Says:

      Their speech, like their actions on the border, are designed not to rally nor unite… Americans.

      Class warfare having failed, the SJW intellectuals believe communities created around race or gender are the shape of things to come. Their theories, speeches, words rally communities to unite.

      In an era of global religions and ideologies (socialism, Islam) and global corporations, a contending and countervailing force will not be ramshackle empires, but races.

    11. David Foster Says:

      The US also was dependent on Germany for some key chemicals:

      The first use of the chemical or aniline colors dates back to about 1850, when the chemists of Germany presented several new colors obtained by subjecting various fabrics to the action or absorption of liquor holding a derivative of coal tar in solution…America did not make much progress in this direction owing to certain complications and the lack of consolidated action. What was produced here was in most cases equal to the imported product, but owing to the greater facilities for producing the color, the greater attention given to research, substantial government financial aid, and, primarily, the exceedingly low labor cost abroad, competition was out of the question. Hence up to 1914 we had practically no dye industry and depended on Germany not only for dyes but also for many valuable pharmaceutical preparations as well as for phenol, the basis for many of our explosives.

      This problem was solved by intensive efforts during the First World War, and “whereas the value of our dye products in 1882 was $1.8 million, which increased to about $3.3 million in 1914–but with the aid largely of foreign intermediates–we now have over 200 firms producing $220 million worth of products, all more or less directly connected with this and allied industries.”

      The $220 million number is as of 1930; excerpt is from my post here:

      https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/62406.html

    12. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Death 6: “So I’m asking myself why the CCP is pouring massive resources to rise toward to our level of military and economic power, including acquiring projection sites overseas.”

      Michael Pillsbury’s book “The Hundred -Year Marathon” is worth reading in that regard. It seems that the Chinese (not just the CCP) do take very seriously the “Century of Humiliation”, approx. 1840 – 1949, which started with the English using their military power to force China to accept English-owned opium, and continued through other European abuses, and ended with a very nasty Japanese occupation. We might shrug and say that is all in the past now — but look at how much time Democrats spend obsessing on things like slavery, also in the past now. The CCP has made a very firm commitment that nothing like the “Century of Humiliation” will never happen again. Hence building up their economic strength — focusing on real manufacturing, rather than paper-shuffling finance like the US — and their military strength, to prevent any future invasions.

      It is quite likely that building military equipment helps China further improve its manufacturing capabilities and progress towards the day when they completely dominate the entire spectrum of real-economy manufacturing. And because China has increasing investments abroad through their New Silk Road concept, they probably feel the need to have a big stick in case any of the borrowers get shirty about repaying the loans from China.

      As you say, China is very focused, on message and on task. Why are Western leaders such foolish amateurs in comparison? And why do We the People tolerate having such third class bumblers for leaders?

    13. Brian Says:

      “I agree that they can probably buy us and subvert us into second tier status”
      “Can probably buy us”? Um, they already have. They own a working majority of our politicians, businesses, colleges, etc.

      “the English using their military power to force China to accept English-owned opium”
      It’s rarely, and never in major outlets, discussed that the fentanyl crisis is quite clearly a Chinese operation.

      China and the World Economic Forum jackals, who include most of the “elite” of today’s West, can’t “win” because they have no ability to create any sort of sustainable dominance. They can destroy, though, and they’re not nearly done doing so yet.

    14. Mike K Says:

      The Germans used their chemical industry to get around the blockade in WWI that kept Cinchona bark and quinine away from them. They were able to manipulate the methylene blue molecule into a dye based drug that was affective in malaria. This led by WWII to atabrine, which caused a yellowing of skin, to Chloroquine that did not cause yellow skin.

      As far as the English and opium in the 1850s, there was another factor. Tea, which was native to China, became the favored drink in England, partly because it was safer to drink boiled water. The Chinese Emperor would sell tea only in return for silver. Britain had transferred nearly the entire silver bullion treasure of the Empire when two solutions appeared. Opium was highly treasured by the Chinese, even though it was illegal, and sales of opium were for silver completing the trade circuit. In addition, tea plants were stolen from China, which banned their sale or export and areas were found in India where they grew and thrived, providing an alternative source.

      American manufacturing capacity has deteriorated so far that the experience of WWII would be impossible today. The incompetence of the American ruling class is such that we could be immobilized by a single EMP attack. The electrical grid is vulnerable to an extent that it could easily be shut down by non-nuclear attacks.

    15. Mike K Says:

      “affective in malaria.” should be effective.

    16. OBloodyHell Says:

      }}} Inchoate anger is hardly virtuous.

      Hrmmm… It sounds as though you may be conflating hate with anger. They are decidedly not the same thing, though they often appear in similar results.

      Anger has a cause. It burns off that cause. Remove the cause, the anger fades.

      Hatred has a TARGET. It burns off your soul. Remove the target, the hate rarely fades, it just transfers to a different, new target.

      It’s why liberals can’t get off of Trump, even months after he’s left office. I had some jackwad about 3 days ago bring up Trump out of nowhere, in a discussion having nothing to do with him. Trump Tourette’s is still prevalent. The Hate just festers.

      This is a very nontrivial distinction — while anger and hate tend to appear the same, with similar results, the approach to dealing with each needs to be very very different.

      It is often impossible to stop hate, as reason and empathy are anathema to it as a problem.

      Anger is much more amenable to both reason and empathy. Understanding the other person (usually the cause of anger, in one way or another) can lead you to stop being angry, to stop perceiving whatever is happening as a personal affront, and cause one to reach out to perhaps find a mutually acceptable solution to the problem. Ditto empathy. Once you grasp that the cause of your anger may be nothing but the exact same response you would have if the positions were reversed, again, leads to outreach and possible solution.

      I was angry with my friend;
      I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
      I was angry with my foe:
      I told it not, my wrath did grow.

      — Wiliam Blake

      Hate just doesn’t work that way at all. Talking out someone’s hate is close to impossible.

    17. Miguel cervantes Says:

      Thats some good background, cinchona is the source for hcq.ao they imposed an intellectual blockade last year.

    18. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Mike K: “Opium was highly treasured by the Chinese, even though it was illegal, and sales of opium were for silver completing the trade circuit.”

      True — but it does not really excuse the English selling vast quantities of an addictive drug to China. And it certainly does not excuse sending in the military when the Chinese tried to stop the English opium trade. To say nothing about excusing sending in the military a second time when China reneged on the deal and tried again to stop the English from exporting their opium to China. Any way we look at it, the English opium trade to China was a giant evil blot on the page of England’s history.

      Stop and think for a moment about how things may look to someone on the other side of the fence. English people in the last few years have ripped down old statues of Englishmen who participated in the slave trade about two centuries ago. English politicians have done an Obama and “apologized” for England’s historical role in slavery. But when it comes to apologies for the vast harm caused to Chinese people by the English drug trade — crickets.

      How must that look to ordinary Chinese, especially considering the traditional Chinese respect for their ancestors? Are they to conclude that their skin is simply the wrong color?

      Oh well! Boris’s plan for post-Brexit Britain includes expanding trade with China. Let’s see what happens.

    19. Brian Says:

      “[Fentanyl] was highly treasured by the [Americans], even though it was illegal, and sales of [fentanyl] were for [I dunno, cash, I guess, bc modern money isn’t based on anything] completing the trade circuit.”

      Look at how big businesses work right now–they will fight tooth and nail to prevent you from sanctioning China, and if anything they will fight even harder if you dare to question Woke ideology. They’re sleepwalking to the guillotines. Well, somebody is, at least. It’s an open question who, I guess…

    20. Mike K Says:

      How must that look to ordinary Chinese, especially considering the traditional Chinese respect for their ancestors? Are they to conclude that their skin is simply the wrong color?

      Nobody held the Chinese peasant in lower esteem than their own ruling class. Skin color was only an excuse to try to hold back cheap labor and none was cheaper than Chinese until the 1920s. Chinese were also known for piracy and trading with less intelligent or less skilled people like the Malaysians. The silver vs tea thing was a failure of a trading exchange not dissimilar to the CCP trade with the US since 1972. In fact, England did not support the opium trade legally and the “Opium Wars” were premised on other issues, although everyone knew it was about opium. The trading concessions were about more than opium.

    21. Helian/Doug Drake Says:

      “The democrats argue Asians in America are victims of white racists, the prism through which they focus this week. Race seems to work for them – or at least they think it does.”

      If nothing else, the response to the Atlanta shootings was interesting from an “anthropological” point of view. It reflects the state of a particular culture at a particular time; namely, ours. For days, the headlines in virtually every one of the legacy media “news” platforms relentlessly peddled the above palpably bogus narrative. They all squawked the same “systemic anti-Asian racism” propaganda line in lockstep with each other, like so many parrots. The “truth” no longer has anything to do with reality, but is merely a matter of what the prevailing orthodoxy wants it to be. It may be true that no rational human being could take such nonsense seriously, but, in our species, rationality is in short supply. I don’t doubt that there are millions of people out there whose worldview is just a reflection of what they see on CNN every day. I certainly know several of them myself. It’s said that some of Stalin’s henchmen once expressed their doubts that western journalists would believe one of his more egregious lies. He replied, “Don’t worry, they’ll swallow it.” Today they not only swallow the lies, but seem to believe they have a sacred duty to promote them.

    22. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Mike — it looks like your love of England may be causing you to miss the point. England’s Opium Wars are far in the past, just like slavery. Yet today, in England as in the US, a person of African heritage benefits from positive discrimination — restrained policing, lowered bar for access to college, first in line for job interviews. Whereas a person of Chinese heritage suffers from negative discrimination in significant ways, such as raised bar for access to elite universities.

      England’s history bears the moral stains both of having been the prime TransAtlantic slave traders and of having been the world’s largest drug pusher. Why do today’s English feel guilty about one and not the other?

    23. OBloodyHell Says:

      }}} China will never attack the US militarily. The Chinese Communist Party does not need to. They can bring the US to its knees without firing a shot.

      Hmmm… What you appear to miss is that China’s economy is far far more dependent on US buying its goods than the USA is on China’s manufacturing.

      1) there are other makers in the world than china. There are not, however, other buyers comparable to the USA. Vietnam and Malaysia would happily take our business from China, given the opportunity. Ditto India, and India and China have that kind of long-term generational hatred of one another that Americans really Just Don’t Get.

      2) we are really not so far away from Star Trek replicators than you might think. Not on a “home” level, but with a very large percentage of stuff made for a factory made AT the factory by various forms of 3D printers. No, not everything, but an awful lot.

      3) We could, in a crunch, put together a truly modern manufactury — which does not actually involve all that many active employees — in a matter of a year or two. And yes, we could do it with parts on hand.

    24. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Speaking as one of the few Asians I know of here [and despite the Mongol nom d’ plume, I am an American Born Chinese] let me first commend Mike K for noting the nature of the opium trade and British, for lack of a better word – aggression, against China. 99% of westerners have no idea about that history, and the subsequent granting/stealing of territorial “concessions” from China by the western powers. And before Americans start feeling morally superior, the American ‘Open Door’ policy meant that the US claimed the right to anything that was granted to any European powers, but did not claim territory to take the trouble of governing. But those gunboats like the PANAY were real, enforcing American will in Chinese sovereign waters.

      I would also note that from the very first official European contacts with China that neither side had any knowledge of or comprehension of each other and their culture. They spent their time talking past each other, even in the rare cases where things were being translated kinda-sorta accurately.

      I am somewhat involved in that era of late, since I am about 40,000 words into writing a biography of my father and our family history since he came here just before the Depression; 12 years old, alone, and not speaking English [then].

      What Americans do not realize or comprehend is that under American law from the 1800’s, if you were Chinese and NOT a diplomat, you were literally not legally or culturally a human being. The Constitution and law did not apply to you any more than it applied to an individual steer in a herd of cattle. That law was changed in 1943 after attacks on Nationalist Chinese airmen training here in this country. America dropped that law and gave up its “extraterritorial” rights in China then, the last foreign power to do so.

      Now, in 1943 when we became people, my dad immediately enlisted in the Army; despite being old for a soldier, not an American citizen, and in a draft deferred defense job. Without going into any particulars, he did well as a soldier, and was granted citizenship after the war.

      Now you would think that after generations of abuse in this country, that Americans of Chinese ancestry would be full of hatred for this country. Their attitude is very different from Chinese raised in China, and of urban Leftist Blacks and Hispanics.

      Might I offer a possible reason for the difference? South Chinese [Cantonese] are the equivalent of Chinese pioneer stock. Up till 1980 or so, most Chinese in this country and indeed most overseas Chinese were Cantonese. They left China deliberately seeking a better life, AND they had absolute confidence born and bred into them in the worth of their own native culture. Chinese raised in China grow up with the oppression by all the foreign powers for the “Century of Humiliation’ pounded into them and their cultural confidence is expressed as a desire for revenge. Despite the lumping together under American civil rights laws, American Blacks,and American Hispanics are not homogeneous. Their original cultures [tribal and national, in Africa and from Mexico south] were very different. And those cultures were destroyed and supplanted by a distorted form of European/American culture. They have not been raised or taught to think about this country as a loving home full of opportunity.

      So the difference in attitudes towards this country is in part a combination of the Blake quote by OBH, and a lack of knowledge of and confidence in the culture from which they sprang. I also note that the same lack of knowledge and confidence is affecting a larger and larger proportion of the European descended.

      I am pretty sure that I have committed several forms of politically incorrect heresy here, so I will stop now and await the reaction.

      Subotai Bahadur

    25. Anonymous Says:

      In support of my earlier comments, I’ll quote a recent missive from Don B over at Cafe Hayek:

      =====

      Thanks for your e-mail and for your kind words about the Sears’ catalog series at my blog.

      I don’t share your concern that most of the consumer goods that Americans today purchase are not “Made in America.” Such labels today are virtually meaningless. They indicate only the country in which the final assembly of each good occurred. Because of the enormous complexity of the globe-spanning supply web, even the most mundane of goods today contains inputs – physical and intellectual – from across the globe, including the United States.

      Although most of the consumer goods we buy sport labels such as “Made in China” or “Made in Turkey,” these labels would be far more accurate if they instead read “Final Assembly Occurred in China” or “Final Assembly Occurred in Turkey.” Equally accurate would be simply “Made on Earth.”

      “Made in…” labels mask the fact that very often today the bulk of inputs contained in any good are produced in countries, including the U.S., other than the country whose name appears on the “Made in…” label.

      Although produced several years ago, this video narrated by Reason’s Nick Gillespie explains that “The Jeep Patriot, despite its name is actually less American than some Toyota products.”

      Also note that the inflation-adjusted value of American manufacturing output, in February 2020, just before the Covid-19 lockdowns, was only two percent below the all-time high that it hit in December 2007, at the start of the Great Recession. As for American industrial capacity, on the eve of Covid it was at an all-time high.

      By the way, above I use the term “supply web” purposefully. Contrary to common parlance, there are no “supply chains.” Nearly every kind of input contained in nearly every good produced in modern economies is used also in the production of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of different kinds of goods and services.

      In follow-up e-mails I’ll do my best to address your other concerns.

      Sincerely,
      Donald J. Boudreaux
      Professor of Economics
      and
      Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
      George Mason University
      Fairfax, VA 22030

      As he notes indirectly, the actual MONEY made by US “Manufacturing” is bigger than most other nations’ entire economies.

      Last I heard, in dollar numbers, the USA’s manufacturing income was tied for third with Germany, behind China and Japan, respectively. And we were still 25% of the world’s GDP, despite being only about 1/25th of the world’s population… because our IP & Services make far far more than manufacturing, and even make up a good chunk (via IP) of that manufacturing income.

      The real fact is, there’s really no more money to be made from manufacturing than there is from agriculture. The margins on both are far far too thin.

      A related case in point — a now 10y old article about the iPhone 4. Dated though it may be, I am quite sure nothing of importance revealed by it has changed.

      https://mjperry.blogspot.com/2010/07/iphone-designed-by-apple-in-us.html

      The primary point:

      The iPhone 4, with a retail price of US$600, was “made in China”. Now, at that point, regardless of how the money got paid, it ALL got paid — an aggregation of people paid Apple US$600, and not much, if any, less.

      Now, how much of that $600 actually went to China, for “making” the phone?

      1.1%.

      Yes, 1.1% — $6.50

      And THAT is why we don’t bother to make stuff here — we get paid far far more for knowing HOW to make it.

    26. OBloodyHell Says:

      Above is me… “duh”.

      =====

      Subotai

      Yes, I’m somewhat aware of many American less-than-spectacular behaviors. I do respect and appreciate what “Orientals” have done. They were treated little, if any, better ca. 1880 than blacks were in the South, but have never let it hold them back from achieving as much with their lives as possible. They are much as the Jews, in this. Smart, capable, and realistic about the Way The World Works. I’ve seen pictures of California water fountains which said “Whites only”, and they weren’t aimed at black people.

      BTW, one of the arguments I’ve seen for why “Orientals” succeed much as Jews do, is because of comparable behaviors between Chinese (Japanese, etc.) mothers and Jewish mothers. Both push their children to excellence.

      I won’t apologize for what (some) of my ancestors have benefited from (not to suggest I think you sought that), simply because I believe few, in the same context, would have been able to rise above the constraints of their surroundings, and this includes those who were oppressed, were the shoe on the other foot. We are all products of our times, and demanding anyone Be Better than their times is a foolish expectation.

      The goal of anyone today is to recognize that behavior as an ill-advised one, which failed to live up to the American Ideal, and to do their best to stand against it in any future case…

    27. David Foster Says:

      Subatoi….”South Chinese [Cantonese] are the equivalent of Chinese pioneer stock. Up till 1980 or so, most Chinese in this country and indeed most overseas Chinese were Cantonese. They left China deliberately seeking a better life, AND they had absolute confidence born and bred into them in the worth of their own native culture. Chinese raised in China grow up with the oppression by all the foreign powers for the “Century of Humiliation’ pounded into them and their cultural confidence is expressed as a desire for revenge.”

      That is very interesting. Seems to imply that the bringing up of kids with an emphasis on the ‘Century of Humiliation’ must have gotten into full swing sometime *after* 1980, then?

    28. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      OBloodyHell:

      Wasn’t even thinking about an apology. What’s past is past. The key is making sure you [and your kids] prosper. That is your job as an adult. By the way, it is not only Chinese moms who push their kids. My dad ASSUMED I would excel, which meant I did.

      David Foster:

      Seems to imply that the bringing up of kids with an emphasis on the ‘Century of Humiliation’ must have gotten into full swing sometime *after* 1980, then?

      It is a little more complex than that. From 1949 to 1980 or so relatively few Chinese were able to leave China other than those in Hong Kong which is kind of a special case. And Hong Kong Chinese are primarily Cantonese. But from 1949 on the Communist regime emphasized the ‘Century of Humiliation’ and vengeance on the West from preschool on. But it wasn’t until the 1980’s that non-Cantonese were able to leave in large numbers. And there are a lot more non-Cantonese than Cantonese.

      Also, not all non-Cantonese came here to the US. They are all over the world now. Take a look at Vancouver, BC which is now for a lot of practical purposes a Chinese city. The first time I visited the city in the 1980’s, the traffic signs were in English and Chinese, not French. Amused me greatly.

      In Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is the oldest Chinatown in North America. The last time I visited in the mid-1990’s it was almost empty. I was distressed until I realized that Chinatowns are for those who either cannot make it in the new society, or those who are transitioning. I saw Chinese on the streets everywhere. And south of Vancouver City which was rural in the 1980’s is now urban and largely Chinese. Chinatowns are about done.

      Subotai Bahadur

    29. Xennady Says:

      And THAT is why we don’t bother to make stuff here — we get paid far far more for knowing HOW to make it.

      This is magical thinking. I bet relatively few American know how “make” an iPhone, or how to operate any of the machines that make the parts of an iPhone, or how to fix them, design them, or think of new machines to make new things. And because manufacturing is still vanishing from the US, there are fewer of those every year. Worse, those that do know how to make things are very often foreigners themselves- I’ve read that a significant portion of PhDs working in the US defense industry are Chinese- and to actually work at making an iPhone, they have to go to where they are made -i.e., China, mostly. This isn’t an incentive to go into any of these fields, unless you like endless foreign travel or intend to emigrate.

      Now if you’re an American educated Chinese engineer I’m not sure what you might think of the Chinese regime, or how much loyalty you may have towards it. But I’ll bet quite a few of those folks are actually sent here to learn Western technology and bring it to China. I can’t blame the Chinese government for that, but I still don’t think it’s in the interests of the United States.

      Now, how much of that $600 actually went to China, for “making” the phone? 1.1%. Yes, 1.1% — $6.50

      This is another in the endless examples of how every sort of economic question in the US has been reduced to a financial quote. What China actually has is an industry with the ability to make iPhones, which has enormous implications for the future economy of China, and its potential export earnings.

      Also note that the inflation-adjusted value of American manufacturing output…

      Hilarious. The government has changed the way it calculates inflation over the years, making inflation look like much less, thus making the inflated value of manufactured output look better.

      As for American industrial capacity, on the eve of Covid it was at an all-time high.

      I’m going to call this a fatuous lie, of exactly the sort I’d expect from a globalist academic with a pretentious title. Meanwhile, back in reality, almost every single manufactured item I happen to see was made somewhere else.

      But this is America, so nothing can go wrong. Right?

    30. Helian/Doug Drake Says:

      FWIW, several American born Chinese have high level security clearances at Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia, and do experimental and theoretical work related to nuclear weapons. They have access to the crown jewels as far as information regarding the status of our arsenal, the design of our weapons, etc., is concerned. To the best of my knowledge, the Wen Ho Lee espionage case had little if any effect on their careers or access to information. This would certainly not be the case if the current “systemic racism” narrative were true.

      It’s true the past is past, but dredging up the historical sins of the U.S. is a cottage industry as far as the Left is concerned regardless. It should not be forgotten that U.S. China policy in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s may have prevented and certainly had a strong inhibiting effect on European dreams of carving up China more or less after the fashion of Africa. Many Europeans perceived the U.S. as such a threat because of its burgeoning economic power around 1900 that they seriously considered the possibility of a European preventive war against us to save their economies. Colonizing China and monopolizing its markets and natural resources was considered one way of meeting this threat. Tirpitz notes in his memoirs that this path was blocked by U.S. policy and its rapidly increasing naval power in the Pacific, as demonstrated in the Spanish-American War. When it comes to pointing fingers, China has no lack of “historical sins” to answer for. For example, it carried out a deliberate policy of annihilation and ethnic cleansing against Mongol populations in the west, followed by annexation of their territory in the 1800’s. The Dzungars, last of the great Mongol Empires, was wiped off the face of the map and 80 percent of its population killed. The rest fled for their lives and their former territory was seized and resettled with Kazakhs and Uyghurs.

    31. Helian/Doug Drake Says:

      In the 18th century, not the 1800’s.

    32. David Foster Says:

      “And THAT is why we don’t bother to make stuff here — we get paid far far more for knowing HOW to make it.”

      Much of the knowledge of ‘how to make it’ resides in the manufacturing operation, not just in the product design center.

      Manufacturing integrated circuits to a high resolution involves as much knowledge as designing them. Intel can design ICs just fine, but is having to outsource/offshore the actual manufacturing of the latest generation of chips.

    33. Brian Says:

      Ten more years of social decay, of the drug epidemic, fiscal meltdowns, etc., and that “We all win when we export production to China!” storyline is completely unserious at this point. Heck, when that was written people were still pretending that it would make China “liberalize” too…

    34. Mike K Says:

      The worst thing to happen to China was The Mongol conquest.

      From Brittanica’s article;

      The former scholar-officials of China remained to a great extent outside the governmental and administrative structure; only minor positions were open to them. The Mongols never made full use of the administrative potential of the scholar-officials, fearing their competence and abilities. The ruling foreign minority in China was more an elite of the colonialist type than a part of the Chinese social system.

      Much progress in China, such as casting iron and building ships stopped under the Mongols. They ruled China as a colony and security far outweighed progress and exploration. When Europeans arrived, iron was unknown and the culture that invented gunpowder had no equivalent of muskets.

      The Mongols were followed by the Ming, with no improvement and then the Manchu from Manchuria took over. They shut down what was left of China’s ship building and metal use.

    35. OBloodyHell Says:

      }}} Wasn’t even thinking about an apology. What’s past is past. The key is making sure you [and your kids] prosper. That is your job as an adult. By the way, it is not only Chinese moms who push their kids. My dad ASSUMED I would excel, which meant I did.

      Sure. Is cool. I figured otherwise, but thought it worthy of mention, because I DO recognize what was past and ack it… I just know *I* didn’t have anything to do with it.

      And, yeah, wasn’t ignoring any other moms or dads or anything. It just seems to be a consistency thing, I think… The moms of “Orientals” and Jews, in a general sense, seem more likely to push their kids to excel. Hence those two groups DO excel more than many others. And this offers an option to solving the problems of underperforming groups: Better Parenting.

      }}} This is magical thinking.

      No, it’s not. It’s FACT. We **do** get paid more for knowing how to make an iPhone than we could even get close to for dirtying our hands actually doing it.

      This is DUH on multiple levels. Executives generally get paid more the floor laborers for a reason. Anyone can do the grunt work. The brainwork is the tricky part. And few nations are as mentally facile as humans are, so we do better in general at creative and inventive work.

      }}} I bet relatively few American know how “make” an iPhone, or how to operate any of the machines that make the parts of an iPhone, or how to fix them, design them, or think of new machines to make new things.

      Doesn’t MATTER. Any new factory WON’T HAVE that many people, it’d be all robots.

      It’s only a fictional movie, but THIS is the factory of the future. We could do a huge chunk of this RIGHT NOW. We probably already do when we choose to.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7omoVzuynmE

      There’s a term: “reshoring”. It’s bringing all that stuff that went overseas a decade and two decades ago BACK. And it’s non-trivial, it happens regularly as the margins on cheap Chinese labor slowly evaporate, with their burgeoning middle class. Combine that with the logistical benefits of on-shore ops and it is approaching worthwhile to build an automated factory rather than have it done 12000 miles away by people who are temporally, culturally, and linguistically out of sync with America.

      }}} This is another in the endless examples of how every sort of economic question in the US has been reduced to a financial quote.

      This is another example of why it’s just bad argumentation to respond to a numbers argument with a stupid handwave.

      }}} Hilarious. The government has changed the way it calculates inflation over the years, making inflation look like much less, thus making the inflated value of manufactured output look better.

      …Two arguments with a handwave.

      “HI!!”

      }}} I’m going to call this a fatuous lie, of exactly the sort I’d expect from a globalist academic with a pretentious title. Meanwhile, back in reality, almost every single manufactured item I happen to see was made somewhere else.

      Yeesh. In money terms, this was likely the case, actually, but you wouldn’t know that.

      And his entire point, which appears to have gone NYYYYEEEEEEEEEeeeeoooowwwww!!!! right over your head, is that “Made in XXX” should be grasped these days as “Completed Manufacture in XXX”. Anyone looking at the FACTUAL BREAKDOWN of how the iP4 got parted out in cost sense, can grasp this.

      FACT: 1.1% of the retail price went to China for the power to slap that “Made in China” label on the device. Probably they got a few more bucks for the subsystems, but not much, at least, “not yet”. And probably zero of the IP recompense that went into making it, which was not much less than 2/3rds of the total.

      .

      ====

      .

      }}} Manufacturing integrated circuits to a high resolution involves as much knowledge as designing them. Intel can design ICs just fine, but is having to outsource/offshore the actual manufacturing of the latest generation of chips.

      HAVING to, or CHOOSING to, David? And how much of that choice has to do with the fact that they CHOOSE not to spend 5 BILLION dollars to make a FAB that can handle their latest production techniques, and have shared the cost of doing it with a Japanese or Korean keiretsu?

      Intel almost certainly INVENTED the techniques used in that FAB, because no one ELSE even had the need to do so… because they’re the ones doing the most intense work of that kind.

      ====

      }}} Heck, when that was written people were still pretending that it would make China “liberalize” too…

      The long-term verdict on that is still out, Brian. Anyone looking at the USSR in 1987 would have laughed their asses off at the claim that the USSR would be a thing of the past by 1991. Winnie the Xi might pass away tomorrow, and the resulting power struggle might easily offer a chance for a radical change in the social arrangement. Not betting that way, but it’s far from unlikely.

    36. Anonymous Says:

      China is a huge near term threat. Not specifically because of their economic capability, but because of their ruling class’s ideology, political structure and aggressive intentions. Our realistic hope is that the inherent fatal flaws in their cultural and political systems lead to their implosion before they do great damage to the planet. We have been complicit in naively sourcing strategic materials and components from them as if from another state rather than a sworn enemy. Further we have allowed technology transfer by corporations, government facilities and our educational system. This has delayed their implosition as well as increased their growth and global power.

      We never entered into such arrangements with the Soviet Union, so the collapse was not much delayed. China is energy poor, unlike the Soviets, so their collapse should have been sooner by far. Their system is inherently hostile to innovation and creative empowerment. The West is their lifeline and they can’t change that. Slo Joe is a booster shot to their viability. Still, they will fail, will it be soon enough?

      Death6

    37. Mike K Says:

      I saw Chinese on the streets everywhere. And south of Vancouver City which was rural in the 1980’s is now urban and largely Chinese. Chinatowns are about done.

      A lot of the Chinese in western Canada, including Vancouver, are from Hong Kong. A friend of mine, whose parents were still in Hong Kong at the time (about 1990), told me that wealthy residents of Hong Kong kept first class airline tickets to Canada always valid. When they expired after a year, they would renew them. This meant that, if a crack down like the one we saw last year came suddenly, they would have valid airline tickets in hand. They could just change the date.

      A Eurasian classmate of mine became an orthopedic surgeon. He married a gorgeous Chinese-American model who, he told me, made more money than he did selling real estate in the San Marino and Monterey Park areas, which are now almost all Chinese owned. I had lunch in a huge Chinese restaurant in Monterey Park a couple of years ago. 98% Chinese customers and it is enormous.

    38. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      O’BloodyHell: “We **do** get paid more for knowing how to make an iPhone than we could even get close to for dirtying our hands actually doing it.”

      Then why does the “smart” US have a massive unsustainable trade deficit with the rest of the world, and specifically with China? The kind of unilateral “Free Trade” practiced by the US makes some executives and stockholders temporarily richer on paper, at the immediate cost of lost jobs for poorer Americans and the longer term costs of societal decline due to increasing numbers of people dependent on government & drugs.

      The bigger question is the ultimate surrender of national independence. It is foolish for a country to put itself into a position where it could be brought to its knees if the Chinese Communist Party decided to impose (or merely threatened) a trade embargo. And forget the foolishness of the comforting belief that China needs freshly printed IOUs from the US that realistically will never be redeemed — China might as well dump their goods in the ocean as exchange them for depreciating dollars.

      The CCP knows what it is doing by encouraging the US to become an import-dependent cargo cult economy. Why do so many Americans fail to see the obvious?

    39. David Foster Says:

      Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation has a market capitalization of $539B. This compares with $259B for Intel and $318B for Nvidia. AMD is $95B.

    40. Mike K Says:

      I had a Chinese (from China) medical student about ten years ago. She spoke fluent, almost unaccented English and said her grandfather had taught her. He had been visiting China from the US about 1950 and could not get out. I asked her why she came to the nUS for medical school. She had a Beijing U degree and her mother was a professor there. She said she wanted to be able to take care of her parents and China did not have a good system for retirement. Also, her father was a physicist by education but worked as an auto mechanic because he is Christian. It was very interesting to talk to her. I’m sure I have mentioned her before. She is married to a Caucasian man, another example of Han Chinese girls defying the rule about that.

      I think she is now a breast surgeon in the LA area and I heard that her mother had come over. She was a very bright medical student. She made a very unusual diagnosis on a patient. He was a chronic alcoholic, typical of the County Hospital, but she noticed on physical exam that his eyes would not move laterally in either direction. This is diagnostic of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. The residents had missed it and it is a medical emergency.

      WE is characterized by the presence of a triad of symptoms:[6]

      1. Ocular disturbances (ophthalmoplegia)
      2. Changes in mental state (confusion)
      3. Unsteady stance and gait (ataxia)
      This triad of symptoms results from a deficiency in vitamin B1 which is an essential coenzyme. The aforementioned changes in mental state occur in approximately 82% of patients’ symptoms of which range from confusion, apathy, inability to concentrate, and a decrease in awareness of the immediate situation they are in. If left untreated, WE can lead to coma or death. In about 29% of patients, ocular disturbances consist of nystagmus and paralysis of the lateral rectus muscles or other muscles in the eye.

      She noted that paralysis on physical exam. The treatment is IV Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and , once we called the attention of the house staff to the diagnosis, it was begun. Two days later, we were back and he was much improved including normal eye movements. Those details are what make an outstanding medical student.

    41. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      “Swear at the TV.” I meant to mention, I had a friend who related even 30 years ago that at 5:59 every evening her husband would say “I need a drink. It’s time to go yell at the TV!” I think that is a solid American tradition you should continue.

    42. Xennady Says:

      No, it’s not. It’s FACT. We **do** get paid more for knowing how to make an iPhone than we could even get close to for dirtying our hands actually doing it.

      You ignored what I wrote. Again, fewer and fewer Americans know how to make iPhones- or even manage to obtain the skills needed to hold marginal jobs- not least because your elitist friends regard so many jobs as those Americans just won’t do. But I suppose if you regard yourself as an elite iPhone designer then you don’t really care who gets their hands dirty making your products- or where, or what the long term consequences are for the central part of North America.

      Executives generally get paid more the floor laborers for a reason. Anyone can do the grunt work.

      Noted. Manufacturing is merely grunt work done by floor laborers.

      Doesn’t MATTER. Any new factory WON’T HAVE that many people, it’d be all robots.

      Wait, I thought manufacturing was grunt labor done by floor laborers- wait, what exactly is a floor laborer? And what factory? In what Industry?

      This is why I lament your magical thinking. You want to have it both ways. Manufacturing is grunt work- low skilled labor in grownupspeak- with jobs that aren’t worth having. But it also doesn’t matter if manufacturing ever came back, because robots will have all the jobs!!

      In reality, I expect economics will apply, with both saintly iPhone designer heroes and low-skilled labor taking some of the jobs and robots eliminating many or most of the others- but that low skilled worker maybe, just maybe, could work their way into something skilled, instead of becoming nothing more that a bitter socialist who hates capitalism.

      There’s a term: “reshoring”. It’s bringing all that stuff that went overseas a decade and two decades ago BACK.

      More magical thinking. I bet precious little ever came back to the US and much less that did survived or remained very long. And the long process of departure continues. Just a few days Ford Motor announced that a truck plant was moving to Mexico, negating a previous commitment for a $900 million investment in the US.

      …Two arguments with a handwave.

      As you might expect, I disagree as to whose waving the hands. I gave you specific reasons as to why I reject your arguments- and you had no response at all, other than a cliche.

      And his entire point, which appears to have gone NYYYYEEEEEEEEEeeeeoooowwwww!!!! right over your head, is that “Made in XXX” should be grasped these days as “Completed Manufacture in XXX”.

      And you don’t seem to grasp that I think his argument is either irrelevant to the question at hand- that is, the consequences of the slow-motion collapse of American manufacturing- or deliberate deceit.

      FACT: 1.1% of the retail price went to China for the power to slap that “Made in China” label on the device.

      Right back to square one. This is how the political establishment of the party with your views got eviscerated by an orange-haired reality TV star who never held political office. That’s not what political success looks like to me, although I admit I’m not an elite iPhone designer.

    43. Anonymous Says:

      So, we should view all trade between states in the same way. Even though there are no trade barriers (or more correctly, they are very low), each state should use their state government to retain their manufacturing capability so as to be independent from those other states?

      So what is the difference between this and international trade? Well, countries do use trade restrictions, including subsidies, to engineer protection for favored interests- always politically connected. In some cases, the Soviet Union and China for example, they are using trade as a strategic weapon. What Trump was trying to do was move the trade restrictions (used by all nations, including the US) back toward a free i.e., really less unrestricted, trade- more like exists between our states. I do see evidence of positive results in the structure of the recent Trumpian expansion of growing small, even lower skill, and medium businesses. Regulation and taxes are a form of perverse trade restrictions as places like California and NY are finding.

      If you look at the balance of payments you will see where some of the Chinese surplus in trade is going. These “worthless” IOU’s are quite handy for purchasing US assets. Since the dollar is still the international reserve currency (for now). These US IOU’s are also traded among other nations, most tellingly for this discussion the Chinese energy consumption.

      Economic trade is not a zero sum game. Economic betterment of both parties when trade is without barriers is always the result. If barriers are created by special protection or perverse incentives, the potential gains of both parties will be reduced and protected favorites will prosper at the disadvantage of those left unprotected and the reduced gains.

      Factors of security then dealing with a declared foe is certainly a case to restrict such trade. Compare our policy toward the former Soviet Union with what we have with China. We grossly underestimated their savvy and viability. No longer likely that any correction of that miscalculation will be possible in at least the next four years.

      Death6

    44. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Death 6: “Economic betterment of both parties when trade is without barriers is always the result.”

      Prove that statement using real-world examples, please. Multiple examples required to justify the “always”.

      There is no question that theoretically all parties are better off with no barriers to trade. But theoretically there can never be trade deficits either, because exchange rates will adjust to level the value of the trade in each direction. The Ricardoan free trade model is built on a number of unstated assumptions, such as the trade being between near-peers following broadly similar internal policies.

      US trade has not met the conditions implied in the Ricardoan model for many years. How can there be “free trade” between countries when making something in the US requires compliance with a forest of expensive arcane sometimes-contradictory regulations whereas making the same item in China does not?

      Then there is the issue you raise that “Factors of security then dealing with a declared foe is certainly a case to restrict such trade.”. Take the case of Taiwan — certainly not a declared foe; but it is very easy to foresee circumstances in which Taiwan would no longer be a reliable supplier to the US. Is it wise for the US to depend so heavily on Taiwan for the computer chips required in everything from vehicles to cruise missiles? Physical manufacturing capacities for things like computer chips or steel can take a decade to bring into operation — if we wait until the foes declare themselves, it will be far too late.

      Bilateral free trade, including elimination of non-tariff barriers as well as tariff barriers, is a worthy aspiration — but it has become a really dumb damaging policy in the real world.

    45. David Foster Says:

      Intel announcement today”

      https://venturebeat.com/2021/03/23/intel-will-invest-in-factories-and-manufacture-chips-for-other-companies/

    46. Mike K Says:

      How can there be “free trade” between countries when making something in the US requires compliance with a forest of expensive arcane sometimes-contradictory regulations whereas making the same item in China does not?

      Key fact plus England wanted no manufacturing in India. That was the point of colonialism. What we have done is allow China to corrupt our government and our corporate leadership. Biden and family is a key example. Boeing originally had to allow airplane building in China to sell to that market. It has gone far beyond that original practice. Now many products are sole sourced in China, such as pharmaceuticals, an extremely dangerous practice.

    47. Anonymous Says:

      “Prove that statement using real-world examples, please. Multiple examples required to justify the “always”.”

      There are plenty, even an overwhelming number of them. I bought milk for $2.47 yesterday, I’m happier and the storeowners are happier. Can you think of any? I grant the absolute qualifier was foolish on my part as we have all experienced buyer’s remorse or even seller’s remorse. Part of the learning process in the real world. We also know that there are market distortions, some of which we can address since we put them in place. Granting the exceptions, the market system is clearly the only system that trends toward maximization of welfare and efficient use of resources.

      My point is that moving toward unrestricted/unregulated trade is a valid goal to which all parties should strive. I believe Trump knew this and acted upon it in his process of replacing restrictive trade agreements with less restrict ones (both sides) and removing burdensome regulations, subsidies, etc. I grant that few markets approximate the perfect competition model conditions or that international trade meets the other symplificating assumptions of the comparative advantage model. No, I’m talking about the real world results of trade and gradually reducing the barriers to such trade. Tip the hat to technology that reduces transportation and information costs. How did the world become less poor?

      The reason we have become so dependent on Taiwan for semi conductors is largely based on trade restrictions we have tacitly agreed to that have perversely driven such production overseas. Trump was on the right track. Too bad what was built up over decades takes great effort, focus and time to move back in the needed direction. I would be much happier with a limited strategic stockpile of critically needed components and raw materials than erecting permanent and costly barriers to protect a newly subsidized, inefficient microchip sector. Then you can put a cost to security rather than passing it off on consumers in less competitive markets.

      Our steel industry and auto industry hid behind such national security protections through most of the 50’s 60’s and 70’s and we got high prices, technically stagnant and poor quality products and bloated union wages and benefits. Lowering our barriers greatly improved our choices and stirred our manufactures to get with competing. Win for them and win for consumers. The past residual as well as existing regulatory and differential trade restrictions are still holding them back from their potential. That was what Trump was going after. I support that as a better and more practical way forward compared to increasing trade barriers or subsidizing an expansion of “too important to fail” parasites.

      Mercantilism does not serve us well.

      Death6

    48. Brian Says:

      “I bought milk for $2.47 yesterday, I’m happier and the storeowners are happier.”
      Not a relevant example, and you know it.

      “Free Trade With Free Countries” doesn’t seem like it should be out of reach, but it will require smashing the current “elite” that has sold us out to China.

      In almost every small town in the country, the 50s-70s were infinitely preferable to today. Seeing a picture of a random small town main street from even 1975 compared to now is enough to bring one to tears with what we’ve lost.

    49. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Death 6 — It sounds like you are not really one of those stock market is going up so free trade is great and ignore the unemployed guys on the street corner type of guys. If the best example of “free trade” you can come up with is buying milk at your local 7-11, you are not really talking about international free trade, you are talking about the benefits of specialization. And that is not the same thing as international “free trade”.

      Adam Smith pointed out the benefits of specialization all those centuries ago in “The Wealth of Nations”. You focus on doing what you can do best; the 7-11 owner focuses on bringing milk to you and other customers; the dairyman focuses on providing milk to the 7-11 owner; and everyone is better off. No argument there. Specialization is one of the key factors which has driven rising productivity & standard of living for human beings around the world. Other key factors are harnessing sources of energy, from horses to rivers to nuclear reactions, and technological advances. All of that works in a straightforward manner within a country’s boundaries, where everyone is playing by the same rules. It can work across international boundaries too — but only subject to a whole host of stringent conditions.

      Since you could not quote any example of international “Economic betterment of both parties when trade is without barriers”, let me give you a real-world example of the contrary — the UK in the late 19th & early 20th Century. The UK back then was on top of the world, just like the US was after WWII. The rulers of the UK saw the advantages (to them personally) of low tariffs and imposed unilateral free trade. This did indeed bring down the costs of imports to the UK, to the advantage of those who kept their jobs. But over the long haul, this “free trade” also destroyed UK industry and resulted in high unemployment and social discord. The end result is that the UK today is no longer a significant player — except perhaps in darts competitions.

      Hollowing out a major economy is a slow process, and “free trade” is like crack cocaine — some immediate good feelings leading ultimately to disaster. Look around, and we can see the same damage that unilateral “free trade” did to the UK has been steadily occurring to the people of the US.

      Bilateral free trade between near-peers with similar policies — good. Unilateral “free trade” such as the US is currently pursuing — suicide.

    50. Anonymous Says:

      Our steel industry and auto industry hid behind such national security protections through most of the 50’s 60’s and 70’s and we got high prices, technically stagnant and poor quality products and bloated union wages and benefits.

      What national security protections? No, really. From my recollection the US had then a quite deliberate policy of free trade to allow our protectorates to rebuild their economies, to encourage them to remain able and willing to be on our side during the Cold War. This made perfect sense, because winning the Cold War was an important national goal.

      Anyway, I’d like to suggest we move the discussion to the problems we face today, not the problems free traders imagine were solved decades ago by their precious.

      Lowering our barriers greatly improved our choices and stirred our manufactures to get with competing. Win for them and win for consumers.

      Has anyone noticed no mention was made of the once important and robust US shipbuilding industry? Or the US consumer electronics industry? That’s one of the costs of the endless and thoughtless free trade policy- their disappearance so thoroughly few Americans are aware that they once existed at all. But at least that spares them from the relentless condemnation still not quite extinct American industries get from free traders.

      Anyway, some large fraction of our manufacturers were stirred into oblivion and ceased to exist. This was not success, I think.

      The past residual as well as existing regulatory and differential trade restrictions are still holding them back from their potential.

      So actual reality stopped our industries from succeeding, because they didn’t have enough free trade. If that seems like an incorrect interpretation by me, I note this quote-Economic betterment of both parties when trade is without barriers is always the result.

      Always? I take this sort of assertion as a tell that free trade is- for its adherents- more a sort of religion than any sort of public policy, not least because I remember my childhood in Michigan during the 70s. Always, nope.

      Mercantilism does not serve us well.

      Whose this “us” of which you speak? Leaving aside the stunning success mercantilism has brought the murderous dictatorship of mainland China, I’d suggest mercantilism would serve most Americans at least as well as free trade has, and quite likely better.

    51. PenGun Says:

      “Intel announcement today”

      This is actually very funny. Intel has fallen on its face and is still stuck at 14nm for the processors it produces. With AMD selling 7nm processors and with 3nm ones in the works. AMD gets its latest ones from TMSC in Taiwan, but most of Ryzen ones come from Global Foundries in NY.

      Intel after failing to get sub 14nm processes working to this day, is going to become the new manufacturing go to? I don’t think so.

    52. David Foster Says:

      Pat Gelsinger, the new Intel CEO, was at Intel for a long time; he is a pretty hard-core technologist who architected the 486 series. He’s been running VMware for the past 8 years. If anyone can turn around Intel’s fortunes, it’s probably him: key question, I think, is are there enough smart and spirited people left, or have they mostly departed for greener pastures?

      Also, it may be difficult to provide Foundry services while at the same time competing with the chip companies you are selling those services to.

    53. Xennady Says:

      Re Intel, there’s this article.

      https://www.anandtech.com/show/16573/intels-new-strategy-20b-for-two-fabs-meteor-lake-7nm-tiles-new-foundry-services-ibm-collaboration-return-of-idf

      A lot of the comments have the same take PenGun has, which I agree with.

    54. Xennady Says:

      FWIW, several American born Chinese have high level security clearances at Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia, and do experimental and theoretical work related to nuclear weapons. They have access to the crown jewels as far as information regarding the status of our arsenal, the design of our weapons, etc., is concerned. To the best of my knowledge, the Wen Ho Lee espionage case had little if any effect on their careers or access to information. This would certainly not be the case if the current “systemic racism” narrative were true.

      I’m not so sure the Wen Ho Lee case should have had any impact on any career other than his. I’d say it certainly shouldn’t have, if those other folks were loyal Americans. But it absolutely should have made the government aware that there was a problem with its counterintelligence efforts. So far as I know nothing was done or changed- and eventually I happened to read of some non-citizen Chinese immigrant who was granted full run of NASA and busied himself stealing every bit of intel he could get his hands on.

      It should not be forgotten that U.S. China policy in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s may have prevented and certainly had a strong inhibiting effect on European dreams of carving up China more or less after the fashion of Africa.

      I’ve read similar things, and I also vaguely recall reading of American troops who protected Chinese civilians from massacre by other European soldiers during the Boxer Rebellion. Later, we destroyed Imperial Japan for them, a feat which shortly thereafter earned us a Chinese attack on us in Korea.

      Not only that, but I’ve always found it interesting that the Chinese still bitterly remember the Opium Wars with England and apparently consider Americans the same, yet within living memory of those events the US had engaged in a bitter war of survival against that exact same regime, the British Empire. In other words, back then the US and China shared a common enemy.

      That may well have inspired the relatively pro-Chinese policy the US has long had- siding with China against various European countries, then Japan, then the USSR- but that friendliness has gained us nothing at all, alas.

    55. Anonymous Says:

      Brian: “…and you know it.”

      That is a valid of mutually beneficial trade. I was asked for an example where economic trade was mutually beneficial to both parties.

      Brian two recommendations:

      1) Read the thread before you jump in. International trade is a type of economic trade and subject to the same motivating opportunities as well as market distortions as a trade that might occur within the this country plus such other issues as foreign trade restrictions and currency manipulation. I have already clearly indicated those distortions should be addressed in attempts to move international trade toward being free. Just as there are few examples of markets approaching perfectly competition, there are few examples of international trade being based solely on comparative advantage. Nevertheless, trade internationally generally results in mutually beneficial exchange. If we find fault with the outcome, we ought not look at the essential mechanism of gains from specialization and trade and look at the barriers to efficient trade that exist on both sides of the exchange.

      2) Don’t presume to think you can judge other’s sincerity. Your remark implied I lied. We’re going to have very little productive discourse if you make your arguments based on unfounded presumptions of dishonesty by others. I seem to recall you have attacked others in a similar manner and I warned you that you do yourself no credit with the schoolyard taunts.

      As a summary response to other responders as well:

      I stand by my example. I stand by my basic point several responders seem to have missed that Trump was attempting to shift the terms of international trade toward free trade by negotiating reductions in trade restrictions and reducing the tax laws and the unjustified regulations we impose on ourselves which has driven the exit of industrial and service sectors abroad. Further I think he was aware and worked on the issues of security vulnerabilities that engaging in trade and access with avowed enemies has created. We were and should be more like our Soviet block approach.

      Imitating the CCP model of mercantilism will induce the very inefficiencies and ultimate stagnation that we will sooner or later see in China. We have fed them investment, technology and innovation that they are systemically incapable of generating themselves. This has allowed their development more than anything else. The RINOS, corporate elites and leftists are the ones who commend their mercantilist model for us. And now we are going to endorse more crony capitalism as a solution to losing our competitive edge. Sure that will work.

      Death6

    56. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Anonymous/Death 6 — since we are now apparently giving each other advice on communications styles, be advised that you initially wrote like one of those religious-fervor “free trade is always good” kind of misguided people. Now, as you explain yourself more clearly, you obviously see the giant flaws in “free trade”. That is good!

      Please make an effort to understand the big picture. “Crony capitalism” (aka fascism) is what has sent US manufacturing capabilities, jobs, and tax revenues overseas in pursuit of short-term, next-quarter type profits. “Crony capitalism” is part of the problem — and the “crony capitalists” are the very people who are pushing “free trade” and fighting hard against the re-imposition of common sense.

      Brian is exactly right — if we look at how the world has changed for people in the US and China over the last 30 years, it is clear that China’s mercantilism has out-performed the US’s unilateral free trade. That is the real world.

      True bilateral free trade between near-peer nations following broadly similar internal policies remains a worthy aspiration. But no country can control what another country does in the realm of trade. If China chooses mercantilism, the US has to react to reality, not cling tight to a lost dream of “free trade”. If that means we have to fly in the face of the “crony capitalists”, Democrats, Republicrats, and their running dogs in academia & media, then that is what we citizens have to do. The kind of unilateral free trade implemented by our Betters has been an obvious economic disaster. If we don’t reverse that stupidity, it really will be “Goodnight America”.

    57. Anonymous Says:

      Gavin,
      I believe we are in essential agreement as to the root causes of our un-free international trade situation that has distorted our economy by sending jobs and industries overseas and reduced our opportunities for export. The crony capitalists of the 50’s and 60’s were hiding their uncompetitive advantages behind US trade barriers. When Nixon opened China up for trade, the next generation saw the advantage to outsourcing businesses to hide behind China’s, India’s, etc. high trade barriers while pulling down our trade barriers, increase regulation and creating nebulous unaccountable multi-nationals that could play both economies to maximize their short term benefits. Their version of “free trade” was unilateral lowering our import barriers for minimal reductions of barriers on our exports.

      So what is the direction we should be advocating? I’d say dismantle the crony capitalist hold on our trade policies to favor themselves. The objective should be to force bilateral, multilateral reduction of trade barriers. Using the threat or actual implementation of trade barriers and embargoes to pressure those with high barriers to our exports to reduce their barriers. This was the strategy Trump was attempting to implement without much power player support.

      What we should not do is create a new class on crony claimants using high US trade barriers to hide from competition. Comparative advantage is not fixed; it changes with education, incentive structure, and technology for example. If we think we are going back to a primarily a large industrial economy, we are going to be disappointed. The 1950’s weren’t a great economic period. I have great emotional attachment to that period of my childhood. Yet, when I objectively consider my grandparent’s generation’s standard of living (not just from a material aspect), I realize how much better my generation has it now. We are blessed to be living in the greatest nation in human history and ought to careful consider what things are curtailing the liberty and choices we enjoy. If our solution to outcomes we dislike substitutes on form of restriction for another form of statism, we really haven’t learned very much about the engine that has propelled our rise out of the muck.

      I do believe that we can have important influence on other trading nations trade restrictions, subsidies and currency manipulation. Since trade between nations is beneficial in a tangible way to both sides, threatening or implementing selective reduction can be very persuasive. Of course if you restrict high value exports, one has to recognize that the exporters will require some aid during the contraction. Financial targeting can be effective. Enforcing such restrictions by discouraging other trading nations from providing middleman channels will be essential. We still have considerable economic and financial power if we have the resolve to show we are serious.

      My position is that we should move to cut off all trade and most other relations with China because they are a sworn enemy. This will need to be incremental and it will be painful. The goal would be to treat them like the general approach we used with the Soviets. Others deserve similar embargo. Evaluate what supply sources we have outsourced that are a high strategic risk for economic blackmail and review our strategic stock plies where this provides sufficient relief. Where secure alternate sauces of supply are available, we can evaluate the overall risk from depending on international trade for part or all of our continuing supply (augmented by strategic stockpiles as appropriate).

      Make no mistake, the cost of increased security will be paid in loss of gains from trade and these will be real.

      Death6

    58. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Death 6 — yes, we are broadly in agreement. You are right that barriers to trades have costs (for some); they also have benefits (for others). We need to become much better at estimating the net benefits — and at making those who benefit from free trade also pay for the costs. What we have at the moment with this foolish unilateral “free trade” is a classic example of the Tragedy of the Commons. When the first company offshores its manufacturing, that company benefits from higher profits and its customers benefit from lower costs (offset by its former employees losing jobs); when every company does this, there are so many people with lost jobs that the nation & all those businesses suffer because the former base of consumers was those people who are now un/under-employed.

      You are also right about the danger of tariff barriers being misused to protect inefficient businesses. This is an example of where we can learn from the Chinese Communist Party. China has a huge market, and an explicit “Make it in China” policy for companies that want access to that market. The US also has a huge market, and has had some success encouraging foreign automobile manufacturers to build vehicles in the US. Bring the competitor into the US market! “Build it in the US”!

      As to what to do — We (or rather, our Betters) need to recognize that the biggest trade barriers are not tariffs — they are US regulations and litigation risks we have allowed the Political Class to impose on ourselves. Imposing those costs & uncertainties on US manufacturers while importing from countries without such internal policies is like trying to compete in a marathon while carrying a 50 lb backpack. If a regulation is worth having, then imports need to comply with it, same as domestic manufacturing.

      At the end of the day, barriers to trade will indeed impose net costs (at least in the near term). We should recognize those costs as insurance in an uncertain world. Paying for insurance can be costly, but going uninsured can be disastrous — as we are finding out.

    59. Xennady Says:

      Imitating the CCP model of mercantilism will induce the very inefficiencies and ultimate stagnation that we will sooner or later see in China.

      We couldn’t imitate the CCP if we wanted to, because we couldn’t find a country as large and stupid as the US has been to feast upon. That’s just off the table. My point was that Chinese mercantilism has served them very well, much better than our policies, despite free trade dogma. Not only that, but I see no reason to assume that there will be insufficient competition internally with tariffs to lead inevitably to stagnation. If American businesses are incompetent, then foreigners can invest their money in the US and produce here. Failing that, they can just pay the tariff and import anyway.

      We have fed them investment, technology and innovation that they are systemically incapable of generating themselves. This has allowed their development more than anything else.

      No doubt the trillions of dollars our political class bestowed upon them has enabled their rapid development but I suspect they’ll be quite capable of innovating themselves.

      The RINOS, corporate elites and leftists are the ones who commend their mercantilist model for us. And now we are going to endorse more crony capitalism as a solution to losing our competitive edge. Sure that will work.

      This is flat out wrong. The RINOs et al you list are exactly the people imposing free trade and globalism upon the country, because they benefit from it either personally or politically, or both.

      And if we could have solved that problem, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.