China Bashing Is for Losers

Trade sanctions won't heal the American economy

China bashing has become a bipartisan sport this election season. But if the bashers won’t heed the economic case for not knocking down America’s second largest trading partner, they ought to consider the political one: Even if they get into office by peddling false economic theories, in order to stay there they will have to produce the right results. This protectionism never has—and never will—deliver.

Every election needs a foreign villain, and with the public ODed on the A-rab threat, our political class has turned its sights further East. And, truth be told, China’s autocracy is not helping itself by choosing this moment to halt shipments of rare metals used in wind mills, solar panels and the like. Still, slashing trade with China will do as much to stimulate America’s moribund economy as a bitch in heat would to stimulate my neutered dog’s libido.

That, however, is not preventing Democrats from pounding the issue. Virg Bernero, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Michigan, where I live, has dubbed his opponent, Rick Snyder, Chief Executive Outsourcer (ha, ha). Mr. Snyder’s crime is that he is a successful businessman who invested in a semiconductor company that once employed five—five!—people in Shenzen to sell its products in China. In other words, it is no longer a sin to buy from China. It is also a sin to sell to China! (Where did Bernero get his views on trade theory, anyway? The Kim Jong Il School of Autarky?)

Nor is Bernero alone in the Democratic Party: California Sen. Barbara Boxer is accusing her opponent Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, of outsourcing thousands of jobs to “Shanghai instead of San Jose”; Senate Speaker Harry Reid is calling Sharron Angle “a foreign worker’s best friend”; and Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Attorney General running for Senate, who lied about serving in Vietnam, has the temerity to attack his opponent, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, for “outsourcing” American jobs because her company got toy action figures manufactured in China instead of America.

Hostility to trade is par for the course for Democrats perennially beholden to Big Labor, but what is the excuse of Republicans—the alleged believers in free markets? In race after race, they too are hitting China to beat Democrats. In West Virginia, Spike Maynard, a Republican running for the House is airing ads against his opponent, complete with Asian music in the background, castigating him for giving stimulus money to a Texas company that happens to be buying windmills from China. Meanwhile, in Virginia Republican Robert Hurt is accusing Rep. Tom Perriell of supporting tax breaks for foreign companies “creating jobs in China.”

But perhaps the blame doesn’t lie with these minions who are, after all, only capitalizing on the frenzy whipped up by this White House: For over a year, it has been accusing China of deliberately depressing the yuan against the dollar and threatening to brand it as a currency manipulator. Some might regard an artificially low yuan as a gift to American taxpayers given that it lowers their cost of financing America’s massive debt from China. But not this administration. It blames the low yuan for widening America’s trade deficit with China, costing export jobs.

This claim is no doubt calculated to deflect attention from the administration’s failure to make even a small dent in America’s unemployment rate after over $1 trillion in stimulus spending. The fact of the matter is that there is no good evidence that a higher yuan necessarily equals a lower trade deficit. Between 2005 and 2008, notes Dan Ikenson, Cato Institute’s trade policy analyst, the yuan rose 21 percent. But the trade deficit, instead of going down, went up by $66 billion. Why? Because while a stronger yuan increases the dollar price of Chinese goods, it also lowers the yuan price of foreign raw material, allowing Chinese manufacturers to keep a lid on the price of their finished goods.

But the idea that selling abroad creates jobs at home and buying abroad destroys jobs at home is an old mercantilist fallacy that Adam Smith handily refuted more than 200 years ago. Back then it at least had intuitive plausibility, but today it is obviously false given that the manufacturing chain spans the whole globe. Indeed, under the intricate global division of labor that currently exists, the whole idea of  “Made in China” is largely a bureaucratic fiction.

Think about the IPod, for instance. It is designed in America and its 451 parts are made in dozens of different countries. But just because it is finally assembled in China, it officially counts as a Chinese import and therefore a contributor to America’s trade deficit—never mind that the Chinese add only $4 to the IPod’s $150 final value. Imposing duties on IPods to slash the deficit, then, won’t just cost Chinese jobs in Beijing assembly plants, but American jobs in Cupertino (Apple’s headquarters) computer labs.

But if raising the barricades against Chinese products will hurt highly-paid techies in America, it will hurt working class folks even more.

Consider the research by University of Chicago economist Christian Broda. Contrary to conventional wisdom, he found that inequality in this country has gone down—not up—thanks to trade with China. Between 1994 and 2005, he found, any rise in income inequality was offset by a decline in prices of goods consumed by poorer households. Indeed, inflation for the richest 10 percent of U.S. households, which tend to spend more on services, was 6 percent higher than the poorest 10 percent, who spend more of their income on household goods supplied by China. “In sectors where there is no Chinese presence,” Broda has pointed out, “inflation has been more than 20%.” In short, China has likely done more to help America’s poor than the stimulus, TARP or any other program invented by Uncle Sam.

This brings us to the political folly of China bashing: There is no doubt that the notion that China should be stopped from taking away “American” jobs has a powerful appeal for many voters. But what candidates need to consider is this: Voters are utterly fickle. They might share your bad ideas and even elect you because of them. But, ultimately, if these ideas don’t produce the desired results, they won’t blame themselves or their support for these policies, they’ll blame you. In a democracy, voters are ruthlessly and irrationally results oriented.

Republicans and Democrats are sowing the seeds for their own destruction by running on an anti-China platform. Rather than vilifying China, they would do themselves—and the American economy—a world of good by trumpeting the benefits of trade with it. There is not just a very good economic—but also a very good political—argument for taking a more enlightened approach to China.

Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at Reason Foundation and a columnis at Forbes. This column originally appeared at Forbes.

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  • Old Mexican||

    Why China Bashing Is for Losers

    Because we're all going to work for them in 2025?

    You should never ever bite the hand that feeds you.

  • Long Dong||

    "Because we're all going to work for them in 2025?" More like 2020. You want flied lice with that?

  • Old Mexican||

    With my Kung Pao Chicken? Yes, please!

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Right, that's right.

  • Tman||

    In a democracy, voters are ruthlessly and irrationally results oriented.

    This is irrational, why? I thought this was kinda one of the good parts of our system. You shouldn't get re-elected if you continue to produce results like the current crop of nitwits. I don't see what's so irrational about this.

  • Long Dong||

    Light! Who you elect in last 20 years? All nitwits!

  • Tman||

    We want to try some new nitwits until our irrational results oriented tunnel vision forces us to rinse and repeat. Again.

    We're very picky about these crazy "results".

  • prolefeed||

    In a democracy, voters are ruthlessly and irrationally results oriented.

    This is irrational, why?

    It is irrational if the target of the anger did not cause the problem, or is fixing a problem -- or if you give credit to a politician for results that he tried to undermine. In particular, lurching from Republican rule to Democratic rule and back again in search of fiscal sanity when only libertarians have their economic facts right is a recipe for failure over and over.

    Handing the presidency and both houses of Congress to Democrats in 2008 because voters felt that they were more competent than Republicans to handle the economy was a huge fail in analysis.

  • Tman||

    lurching from Republican rule to Democratic rule and back again in search of fiscal sanity when only libertarians have their economic facts right is a recipe for failure over and over.

    I agree with that, 100%.

    Handing the presidency and both houses of Congress to Democrats in 2008 because voters felt that they were more competent than Republicans to handle the economy was a huge fail in analysis.

    Again, I agree with that. That all being said, it still doesn't change the fact that the system we have is the system we have, and unless you plan on organizing an overthrow of our elected government, THROWING THE BUMS OUT is the only solution we have at the present time.

    I agree that just handing it back and forth between Team Blue/Red is stupid, but I think that this is last shot that Team Red has to have the keys. If they don't repeal Obamas agenda and we're still at 9% unemployment in 2012 there will be a lot of momentum for a third party.

    Which is the good part about our "irrationally results oriented" system.

  • ||

    Tman, I'm pretty sure Dalmia was referring to Caplan's argument in "The Myth of the Rational Voter". In summary, this argument was that in the short run voters will irrationally vote for economically destructive policies such as trade protectionism and carbon taxes because the process of voting for these policies makes voters feel good about themselves. However, as the economically destructive effect of the policies begins to show voters are likely to change their minds and vote in candidates that will enact policies that will support growth.

    The irrationality is voting for economically destructive policies and candidates in the first place, which is balanced by a rational interest in positive results.

  • Tman||

    I understand the point behind "The Myth of the Rational Voter" but I don't think there are any alternatives that are worth experimenting with. In fact, the reality that our country is "results oriented" is something we should be happy about. I'd be much more worried if they were apathetic and just voted for whomever promised them candy. Maybe they are irrational in their reasoning at times, but there's nothing wrong with expecting results from people you elect to office. And if they don't deliver what they promised in terms of these results then yes THROW THE BUMS OUT.

  • ||

    I'm glad we agree here. In my limited experience, it does seem to me that most voters are motivated more by what they think is best for the country overall than lining their own pockets with handouts.

    I like what Milton Friendman said regarding "Throwing the bums out". Trying to get the right people elected is impossible, since the wrong people are the ones who seek power and are motivated enough to gain it. Instead, we should focus on making it politically tenable for the wrong people to support the right policies.

  • Tman||

    we should focus on making it politically tenable for the wrong people to support the right policies.

    I think that describes the tea party/GOP dynamic quite well this year. GOP candidates can tap in to one of the most authentic grassroot political movements in decades provided they are willing to actually limit the size of the government. We know that the GOP has plenty of bad guys, but the Tea Party is saying "shrink the size of the government and we'll support you even though we really don't like you". Whether or not this happens remains to be seen, but as I said above I think that if Team Red gets control of congress and then fails to repeal the expansion of government then they will lose tea party support and we may finally see a true third party emerge.

  • DJF||

    So once again Reason mag equates the Chinese communist police state enforced sweatshops as free market. I am sure that if Reason mag had been around in the 1930’s it would have supported trading with Stalin’s Soviet Union and its gulag made goods. Isn’t it bad enough that Reason mag supported the Dubai ports deal as free market even though Dubai ports was 100% owned by the government of Dubai. But to lie and support communist China as free market is too much.

  • Tman||

    Reason mag equates the Chinese communist police state enforced sweatshops as free market.

    [citation needed]

  • ||

    Protectionism will not change the Chinese government's domestic policies - only a rising middle class will, which is what trade helps accomplish.

    OTOH, protectionism will definitely not help the majority of American workers - only those in the protected industries at a cost to everyone else.

    Even in the protected industries, the benefits will be temporary. For an example of this, see the protection to the US steel industry over the last 40 years.

  • DJF||

    “”””Protectionism will not change the Chinese government's domestic policies - only a rising middle class will, which is what trade helps accomplish.”””

    I have been hearing that lie since Nixon. We did not do fake “free trade” with the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pack and they collapsed. We did do fake “free trade” with China and Vietnam and their communist governments are more secure and in power then ever. Instead we have provided these communist governments with legitimacy, technology, markets and money which keep them in power.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Russia isn't exactly a bastion of freedom these days. And I don't suppose the Chinese was better off during the Great Leap Forward when they were in the process of starving to death if they hadn't already.

  • DJF||

    “””Russia isn't exactly a bastion of freedom these days.””

    Its certainly better then under the days of communism and better the China or Vietnam.

  • European||

    Russia better than China? Seriously?

  • ||

    The Soviet switch to Capitalism was more or less of a failure for close to a decade and may still turn into a long term failure compared to a better plan for transition to freer markets.

    China is hardly as communist as they were 30 or 40 years ago, and they become more and more open to freer markets every day. Our open trade approach to bringing free markets to China, as well as the Chinese efforts to create a bottom up movement towards free markets, has been far more successful for China than the isolationist and nationalist approach was for the Soviet Union.

    What makes your argument completely bunk is the fact that the most isolated enemies of the US are also the most emboldened and the most totalitarian. North Korea, Iran, and Cuba are some of the most backwards places on the globe and have been for eons. I'd argue that isolationism largely makes problems worse.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    So once again Reason mag equates the Chinese communist police state enforced sweatshops as free market.

    No, it doesn't. Show me where.

  • DJF||

    Did you bother to read this article which says that you are only an “alleged believer in free markets” unless you support trade with China.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    Read the paragraph again: She calls the Republirats "alleged believers in free markets" not because they don't champion free trade with China, but because they espouse merchantilist economic fallacies.

    I *want* to trade with the Chinese, that is my right as a free person. Whatever these politicians (and you) think about the Chinese government is inconsequential to me, BUT their INTERVENTIONISM (the politicians') on MY freedom to trade DOES HAVE CONSEQUENCES for me and many others.

  • DJF||

    So do you think you should have freedom to deal in slave made goods?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    So do you think you should have freedom to deal in slave made goods?

    Of course I should, as I should have the freedom to decide NOT to deal in slave-made goods.

  • DJF||

    And since you have helped initiate force against the slave by trading with his labor and goods against his will then the slave has the right to use force against you?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    And since you have helped initiate force against the slave by trading with his labor and goods against his will then the slave has the right to use force against you?

    Your question is obviously loaded. I cannot accept that by trading with China I am therefore trading in slave-made goods.

  • DJF||

    Your previous answer said that dealing in slave made goods was fine, now you are accusing me of having a loaded question when you are the one who put the loaded gun in my hand.

  • ||

    Buying slave made goods is not the same as enforcing slavery yourself. That is besides the point, anyway, because I'd argue that the average chinese worker is no more a "slave" than the average US worker.

    The fact of the matter is that fighting lack of freedom with more restrictions on freedom rarely has positive effects in the long run.

  • DJF||

    “””’Buying slave made goods is not the same as enforcing slavery yourself.”’

    So if I don’t buy from direct from the slaver but do buy from his middleman then I can buy as much goods and services stolen from slaves as I want?

  • ||

    I'd argue that even buying directly from a slaver himself does not mean that the buyer is involved in wrongdoing. The buyer is simply purchasing a product. In the case of buying a stolen good, the buyer is innocent, but the rightful owner should be able to retrieve their stolen property, even after it has been sold.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Hmm, no, you're the one who brought up slavery for some reason.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    That was supposed to be in response to DJF.

  • DJF||

    I have a tendency to bring up slavery when dealing with a absolute communist dictatorship. What do you call communist dictatorships?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I have a tendency to bring up slavery when dealing with a absolute communist dictatorship. What do you call communist dictatorships?

    I call them "communist dictatorships".

  • ||

    Communist dictatorships? Did I win?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    Your previous answer said that dealing in slave made goods was fine

    I didn't say that - read the post again. I said that one should be free to trade in slave-made goods as well as free NOT to trade in them, not that it was "fine." You made that one up.

    now you are accusing me of having a loaded question when you are the one who put the loaded gun in my hand.

    I am accusing you of positing a loaded question because your question is loaded.

  • DJF||

    So its not fine to deal with slave made goods but it is free? And you think that sounds better? What part of slave don’t you understand?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    So its not fine to deal with slave[-]made goods but it is free?

    Please point out who or where is that mentioned.

    And you think that sounds better?

    No, your strawman sounds definitively worse...

    What part of slave don’t you understand?

    The part where you failed to point out where the labor is slave labor. Just because people are not free to engage in "democracy" does not mean they are ipso facto slave labor.

  • Long Dong||

    Confucius say never give fucking monkey loaded gun.

  • Jason||

    Is giving a loaded monkey a fucking gun okay?

  • DJF||

    “”Read the paragraph again: She calls the Republirats "alleged believers in free markets" not because they don't champion free trade with China, but because they espouse merchantilist economic fallacies.””

    And to reply to your first point, she would call anyone who did not support no restriction trade with China a mercantilist. So she equates “free trade” with trade with communist China.

  • ||

    So she equates “free trade” with trade with communist China.


    Um, that would be the definition of free trade, my friend; the freedom to choose who you trade with.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    And to reply to your first point, she would call anyone who did not support [unrestricted] trade with China a mercantilist. So she equates “free trade” with trade with communist China.

    Your conclusion is a logical fallacy called "special pleading". Free trade is "Free Trade," whether with Communist China or any other. You're conferring a unique characteristic to trade with China so as to plead that "free trade" equals "trade with a hated Communist country."

  • DJF||

    So you are denying that communist China has unique characteristics in that they are communist, that many of the corporations are owned by the government or by insider cronies of the government and that the communist police state has many policies to crush independent business and workers?

    You also deny that free trade requires free people since government owned corporations in you mind can engage in free trade. So is the US Post Office free trade?

    And is it now wrong at Reason to hate a communist country?

  • ||

    And is it now wrong at Reason to hate a communist country?


    If we're talking about hating the repressive Communist government, then yes, hate away. But to say you hate more than a billion people you've never met, well, you've lost me there. These people want to trade with the US because they want to make a better life for themselves. Who are you to deny them that?

  • DJF||

    But because it is a communist country you are not trading with a billion people you are dealing with a communist government. I did not make it a communist government and I am not the one advocating policies that direct technology, money, trade and legitimacy on that communist government.

    Would you at least acknowledge that corporations owned by the communist government are not part of free trade or is dealing with a 100% owned government corporation part of free trade in you definition?

  • ||

    Would you at least acknowledge that corporations owned by the communist government are not part of free trade or is dealing with a 100% owned government corporation part of free trade in you definition?


    Dude, it doesn't matter who you are trading with; if both parties are involved voluntarily, by definition, it is free trade.

  • DJF||

    “””Dude, it doesn't matter who you are trading with; if both parties are involved voluntarily, by definition, it is free trade.”””

    How is a corporation 100% owned by a communist dictatorship voluntary?

  • ||

    China isn't a dictatorship. At least in the sense that one person rules absolutely. That's where my defense of this commie pinko country ends.

  • ||

    We've said it several times before, but you still don't get it: free trade means that individuals can trade with whomever they want, even those whose freedoms is lesser. Free trade is about the individual trading, not who they are trading with.

    You are also ignoring the fact that China has positively opened up its economy over the years and isolationism would probably reverse this trend. We don't make the world a freer place by becoming more restricted ourselves. I don't see the Chinese laborer as a slave per se as they want to work in the factories to produce the products that I want to buy. True, their government sucks, just as our own, but to punish ourselves and the chinese laborers because of their government is counter productive. As I've pointed out before, some of the most isolated countries in the world are also some of the most unfree. Trade wars diminish freedom, not expand it.

  • DJF||

    “””Trade wars diminish freedom, not expand it.””

    But your fake free trade with communists has kept the communists in power. Other communist governments have collapsed or are only kept afloat with subsidies. Instead with China and Vietnam their dictatorships are firmly in power. And so crazy are the fake free traders that even at Reason they think that trade with 100% government owned corporations is free trade.

  • ||

    And so crazy are the fake free traders that even at Reason they think that trade with 100% government owned corporations is free trade.


    This guy is obviously too lazy to go open a dictionary. I'm going back to work now, then use the money I make to buy some more shit from China.

  • ||

    "But your fake free trade with communists has kept the communists in power."

    Perhaps in some cases, but in most cases trade has led to more freedom. Freedom for the Chinese has expanded over the last 40 years.

  • Long Dong||

    Yes!

  • Tman||

    So unless China has free range sweatshops then we shouldn't trade with them?

    I don't get it. Explain why "Reason mag equates the Chinese communist police state enforced sweatshops as free market."

  • DJF||

    “””Explain why "Reason mag equates the Chinese communist police state enforced sweatshops as free market."“””

    Because Reason “free minds and free markets” supports trade with China. Or is that just the short version, is it really “free minds and free markets, unless I can get some really good deals on serf made goods, then to hell with free minds and free markets because it‘s all about profit”

  • Tman||

    Because Reason “free minds and free markets” supports trade with China.

    No stupid, Reason supports "free trade"- with everyone.

    is it really “free minds and free markets, unless I can get some really good deals on serf made goods, then to hell with free minds and free markets because it‘s all about profit”

    No actually it reads "I support free trade because that is by FAR the best tool available for oppressed individuals to spur prosperity which eventually creates more opportunities for political freedom".

  • DJF||

    “”No stupid, Reason supports "free trade"- with everyone.”””

    How is it free when one side is not free?

    Was the Dubai Ports corporation which was 100% owned by the Dubai government part of free trade? If so then I guess you would claim that the US Post Office is free trade?

  • Tman||

    How is it free when one side is not free?

    So, what do you propose instead? Should we should seal off China from the rest of the world and hope their oppressed peoples one day rise up and shake the yolk of communism?

    Or, do we continue to trade with them thus increasing the levels of prosperity for their lower and middle classes, which then will help raise their standard of living and life expectancy, all the while making cracks in the political oppression from the ruling classes?

    Which one do YOU think will help Chinese people be better off in the long and short run?

  • DJF||

    “””Or, do we continue to trade with them thus increasing the levels of prosperity for their lower and middle classes, which then will help raise their standard of living and life expectancy, all the while making cracks in the political oppression from the ruling classes?””

    That is been the so-called plan since Nixon. Doesn’t seem to be working since as I pointed out the communist government is firmly in power and now has access to technology, money, markets and legitimacy as well as their old fashioned communist police state system.

  • Tman||

    I didn't ask you whether or not YOU think it's "working", I asked you which option is preferable, and listed explanations for both. If you have any faith in your argument you'll answer the question.

  • DJF||

    How can you say its better if you can’t even say its working?

    So you are saying it’s a great plan except its not working? You would have a great future working for the US federal government.

  • Tman||

    I can easily say it's better than under Mao, and despite heavy government ownership of big business, the middle class is growing and their proseprity levels are increasing.

    Here's a link- http://www.nyenrode.nl/busines.....amongChina’smiddleclass.aspx
    "Optimism about the future among China’s middle class"

    But you STILL are avoiding the question. What do you propose we do instead?

  • TwoFingers||

    >How can you say its better if you can’t even say its working?

    See White House reports on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    "That is been the so-called plan since Nixon. Doesn’t seem to be working"

    It is working. It's working slowly, and in fits and starts, but it's working.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    That is been the so-called plan since Nixon. Doesn’t seem to be working since as I pointed out the communist government is firmly in power and now has access to technology, money, markets and legitimacy as well as their old fashioned communist police state system.

    Sounds just like embargoed Cuba.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    How is it free when one side is not free?

    You make the mistake of thinking that it is countries that trade. This is incorrect - only individuals trade. If I, individual A, trade goods with individual B, under no coercion from a third party, then A and B are engaging in free trade.

    And as long as the goods A and B belong to A and B, the trade is non-fraudulent.

  • DJF||

    “””You make the mistake of thinking that it is countries that trade. This is incorrect - only individuals trade”””

    So you include corporations 100% owned by the government as individual trade? Does that include the US Post Office since I always thought that was an example of government forced trade.

    Maybe that is why so many here seem not to mind dealing with 100% government owned corporations, they think its individual trade. Personally I acknowledge that in our world where government is so big that its hard to be 100% free of government in your dealings but I draw the line when its owned 100% by the government.

    “”””And as long as the goods A and B belong to A and B, the trade is non-fraudulent.””

    But is it owned by A and B when its done at the point of a police state and owned by the government?

  • ||

    "How is it free when one side is not free?"

    First of all, the Chinese workers choose to work in the factories. Sure, their government might place them into a shitty situation which compels them to work under strenuous conditions, but they are still making the best of the choices in front of them. They are still working voluntarily. I also purchase their goods voluntarily, and we both benefit. Is it the ideal world? NO, but it still represents and expansion of both freedom and quality of life for both parties. Freedom also begets more freedom as markets continue to expand and the Chinese government loosens the grip of central planning.

    "Was the Dubai Ports corporation which was 100% owned by the Dubai government part of free trade?"

    Yep. Whoever owns the port has the right to sell it to whomever they please. THat is free trade from the perspective of the seller. WHen Dubai taxes its citizens to procure the funds to purchase the port, that is a limit on freedom, but the act of selling the port to a willing buyer is still an example of free trade. We don't expand freedom by limiting it where it does exist.

    "If so then I guess you would claim that the US Post Office is free trade?"

    No, the US Post Office is not free trade. Using the US Postal Service is an example of a free person acting from the incentives placed before them. Actions based on individual choice are always free regardless of the context. IT is the system that is limiting the amount of choices that a person can make, but the person still retains the right to choose.

    When the government limits an individuals ability to trade with China because Chinese workers are less free, it is limiting individual freedom in the name of defending individual freedom. That is paradoxical. Limits on an individuals ability to trade with ANYBODY simply decreases the scope of freedom for all and encourages a race to the bottom.

    Personally, I don't even agree with your postulate that China is a Communist empire, nor do I agree with the idea that Chinese workers are slaves.

  • ||

    Because Reason “free minds and free markets” supports trade with people in China.

    Do you really believe in abrogating the unalienable individual rights of hundreds of millions of people because of the actions of their government?

  • DJF||

    There are no unalienable individual rights in China

    The government can confiscate the property or imprison or execute anyone for any reason it wants.

  • ||

    So you want the US to pile on?

    How about the unalienable individual rights of Americans to trade with Chinese people? Is your argument for their abrogation the same?

  • DJF||

    “””How about the unalienable individual rights of Americans to trade with Chinese people? Is your argument for their abrogation the same?”””

    Is it free trade to deal in stolen labor and goods? Or is it OK as long as there is one degree of separation. So if I don’t buy a car from a car thief but do buy it from his fence then that is all right?

  • ||

    Is it not obvious that the vast majority of Chinese are moving up the spectrum from slave through serf through peasant through laborer through interested laborer through entrepreneur through owner?

    Why is that? Because of trade.

    Denying that trade denies that route of progress from oppression and poverty that hundreds of millions of people are on.

  • DJF||

    So you think that the Chinese communist government and its 100% owned corporations are progressive? Progressing towards what, a system where a persons life is totally dependent on the whim of the communist party?

  • ||

    As opposed to the way it was before open Chinese trade?

  • ||

    "Is it free trade to deal in stolen labor and goods? Or is it OK as long as there is one degree of separation. So if I don’t buy a car from a car thief but do buy it from his fence then that is all right?"

    It is indeed free trade from the perspective of the buyer. The buyer is wholly innocent of any wrongdoing and deserves no punishment. If theft is involved, than the rightful owner should be able to seize their property back, even from an innocent third party, but in the case of trade with China, we really aren't talking about "theft" per se. I wouldn't argue that Chinese goods are stolen goods. The Chinese laborer went to work to produce those goods for a salary, which he/she agree to by taking the job. The fact that the Chinese laborer has limited options, largely due to the actions of their government does not mean that free trade isn't occurring. The labor is still voluntary and the trade is still free. The real crime lies at the government level due to its interventionism, and punishing the US consumer and Chinese laborers hardly improves the situation and will likely exacerbate the problems within China, and the limitations of freedom and expansion of government power that would take place in the US would represent diminishing freedom in the US where it had existed before.

  • DJF||

    “””Because Reason “free minds and free markets” supports trade with people in China.””

    How about for example the Chinese corporation Chang Feng, its owned by the Chinese communist government, and produces SUV’s. Is trading with them free trade? A corporation owned and controlled by the Chinese communist government?

  • ||

    Trading with them is freer trade than any alternative that is in the US government's or residents' power to offer.

  • DJF||

    So the 100% communist owned corporation is freer trade then anything in the US?

  • ||

    Allowing both trade with the 100% communist owned corporation and trade with something in the US is freer trade than allowing only the latter.

  • DJF||

    It may get you a lower price because the government owned corporation can transfer losses to the taxpayer or by using its government force to get lower prices but that is not the same as a free trade since the government owned corporation is not free.

    So you support the US Post Office as a bastion of free trade?

  • ||

    The unfreeness with the US Post Office is not the post office per se. It is the fact that I cannot buy first class mail service from someone else in the US. That is want makes the postal trade not free.

    Indeed, if the Post Office -- a la Amtrak -- were subsidized by the US government in an otherwise free market, it would indeed be unfair competition.

    But prohibiting trade with the Post Office does not make the postal market more free.

  • DJF||

    “”””The unfreeness with the US Post Office is not the post office per se. It is the fact that I cannot buy first class mail service from someone else in the US. That is want makes the postal trade not free.”””

    So the fact that the US Post Office was created using capitol taken from the taxpayer is not important, nor the fact that its losses will be made up with taxpayer money. Nor the land expropriated to build US Post Office facilities is important. Or the fact that government guarantees will allow the US Post Office to borrow at lower rates then its competitors. All of these things and more don’t make the US Post Office the opposite of a free trade enterprise? The same kind of thing applies to the various communist corporations of China, they get special privileges and rights and their competitors get screwed but you still call it free trade and a free market?

  • ||

    As I noted immediately after what you quoted, what you describe constitutes unfair competition.

    But permitting trade with such an organization constitutes freer trade than prohibiting trade with it.

    Would I like to see the government divest itself of the Post Office? Of course. Do I think the Post Office benefits from copious subsidies, even if it lost its monopoly on first class mail? Certainly.

    But abrogating my right to trade with the US Post Office is an offense against free trade. You have monotonically decreased my options in trading.

  • ||

    Stop replying to this idiot. Keeps making the same point over and over again without considering everyone else's much more intelligent counter-points.

    Chinese labor is not slave labor. They earn a wage. They are not forced into work. They raise their standard of living from what it otherwise would be. Not the traits of slavery. Is it a lower wage compared to our wages? Yes. That's not the point.

    And our isolationist policy with Cuba is continually ignored as evidence against isolationism. I also don't believe the USSR failed just because we were isolationist. DJF, before writing one more sentence, please explain why our isolationist policy regarding Cuba has helped its citizens.

  • ||

    Your complete lack of ability to compartmentalize is getting really fucking frustrating. No, the US postal service is not "free trade." That sentence is grammatically incorrect too btw. Allowing individuals to utilize the Postal Service as it exists is an example of free trade within a larger context of interventionism. The trade itself is still voluntary and..... fuck it, I give up. I can only say the same thing a few times before it gets annoying.

  • DJF||

    “”””The trade itself is still voluntary “”

    Trade involves at least two parties, if one party is not free then its is not free trade. If I put a gun against a worker and order him to make a shoe and then sell the shoe to you is that free trade?

  • ||

    From the buyer's perspective, yes. However, I don't see how a worker in China has a gun pointed at there head. They are paid wages and can quit when they feel like it. They are free to switch jobs at any time. I personally would not buy a product made by slave labor, but that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about Chinese workers who voluntarily work in a factory to produce products that I voluntarily purchase.

  • ||

    "Trade involves at least two parties, if one party is not free then its is not free trade. If I put a gun against a worker and order him to make a shoe and then sell the shoe to you is that free trade?"

    The hyperbolic hypotheticals are really obnoxios, but yes it is still free trade in that the slave OWNER OWNS the goods I, as the interested party, wish to purchase. The slave owner and I both agree to the terms of trade and make the transaction. He gets money, I get shoes. That would be free trade.
    As far as the slave goes, he did not trade anything. He was forced to work for nothing, so he has nothing to trade. So he's not an interested party in your hypothetical.

    Is it moral? No.
    Are chinese citizens enjoying as many individual rights as we in the U.S. are? No..but not for long.
    Do chinese citizens comprise the China-owned companies that U.S. corporations and businessese engage in trade with? Yes. Do they both have to find acceptable terms before a trade can at all take place? Yes. That's free trade.
    Are the workers of the China company slaves? No, they get paid wages.

    In fact, some of the ~1.5 billion Chinese probably take offense to being repeatedly called a slave by someone living in a country whose top income tax bracket is only 2% away off from their own.
    Oh, and if you don't think people in America can get randomly executed by the state, you're not reading enough Balko.

  • The Wasp||

    I hate to agree with MikeP. But he is right.

    Banning people from trading with other country that you don't like doesn't solve the problem.

    Hey MikeP. Are you still sucking Felipe Calderón's ass?

    Oh, I got new nickname for you. Your new nickname is Jesus Christ's Warrior for La Raza.

  • ||

    Banning people from trading with migrating from other country that you don't like doesn't solve the problem.

  • The Wasp||

    Hi Jesus Christ's Warrior for La Raza. That was fast response.

    Preaching about country that you don't like for kicking illegals out while ignoring other countries' similar laws doesn't solve the problem.

    Quit dodging my question. Are you still sucking Felipe Calderón's ass?

  • ||

    Preaching about country that you don't like for kicking illegals out while ignoring other countries' similar laws doesn't solve the problem.

    This is the identical argument as those who would place trade restrictions on China because they believe that China oversubsidizes production at the expense of consumption.

    And, no, there is no government or government official whose ass I am willing to suck.

  • The Wasp||

    This is the identical argument as those who would place trade restrictions on China because they believe that China oversubsidizes production at the expense of consumption.

    What the fuck are you talking about?

    And, no, there is no government or government official whose ass I am willing to suck.

    Yay! You answered my question! Good for you, Jesus Christ's warrior for La Raza.

  • The Wasp||

    Now you are ignoring my question again.

    I hope you choke on a bullshit, chickenshit.

  • ||

    What I am talking about is the inherent contradiction between your two comments...

    Banning people from trading with other country that you don't like doesn't solve the problem.

    ...and...

    Preaching about country that you don't like for kicking illegals out while ignoring other countries' similar laws doesn't solve the problem.

    In the former, you ask trade protectionists not to emulate another countries laws.

    In the latter, you ask migration protectionists to emulate another countries laws.

  • The Wasp||

    What a retarded comment!

  • ||

    Sorry.... "country's"

  • The Wasp||

    Orange and apple, dumbass. LOL

  • The Wasp||

    Waiting for response.....

    Zzzzzzzzzzz.....

  • The Wasp||

    I noticed you imply that I am a protectionist.

    That made me LOL.

  • ||

    Wow, you're a fucking asshole. And you're wrong on this one. Maybe apples and oranges, but their both fruits and MikeP is correct that you contradicted yourself. Don't be such a dick, it's unbecoming.

  • The Wasp||

    AdamJ.

    Wow, you're such a stupid shit. What a shitty response you got there.

    I say MikeP and you are full of bullshits.

    but their both fruits

    No shit Sherlock Holmes! Are they same kind? HUH?! HUH?!

    I contradicted myself? What the fuck are you talking? I think you're saying that because you can't think up of anythings else to say to "win argument."

    What's up with you retards acting like they are same things, I don't get it.

    Too bad. If you don't like when I act, you can go kill yourself. Don't be such a retard, it's unbecoming.

  • The Wasp||

    Hey Jesus Christ's warrior for La Raza.

    Are you running off while pissing your pant back to your mommy?

    Tell your mommy I say hi.

  • ||

    I recognize that labor protectionism is not a common use of the term.

    But given that labor protectionism is the most common reason to be anti-free migration, and given that your sole argument against free migration was reciprocity -- a common protectionist argument -- I made an assumption that you were a labor protectionist.

    Apologies if there is some other reason you believe that governments should abrogate people's rights to migrate, reside, and labor -- and others' rights to transport, house, and employ them -- wherever they can find agreeable terms.

  • The Wasp||

    Why don't you give me your address, so I can come over to show you how labor protectionist am I.

  • The Wasp||

    But given that labor protectionism is the most common reason to be anti-free migration, and given that your sole argument against free migration was reciprocity -- a common protectionist argument -- I made an assumption that you were a labor protectionist.

    Free migrations? Are there is such thing?

    Do I have a right to live inside your house? If not, does that mean you are a protectionist?

  • ||

    No you don't have a right to live inside my house unless I let you. That is not protectionist.

    It's protectionist when I don't let you live in my neighbor's house.

  • The Wasp||

    I get it now. You think I am protectionist because I'm against "Free migrations." I'm against illegal immigration, not legal one. I am against any kind decriminalization or racisms. I am still a "protectionist."

    No you don't have a right to live inside my house unless I let you. That is not protectionist.

    Really? I say that is protectionist.

    Who died and made you a king to decide what is protectionist and what is not?

    Why you dodge my other questions again?

  • The Wasp||

    I am still a "protectionist."

    My mistake.

    Am I still a "protectionist?"

  • ||

    I'm against illegal immigration, not legal one.

    Presumably you are also against illegal trade barriers, not legal ones.

    My choosing not to house you is no more protectionist than my choosing not to buy Chinese products. It's only protectionist when I don't let my neighbor do those things.

  • The Wasp||

    What the fuck?

    Seriously? Who said I am against illegal trade barriers?

    Quit placing your words into my mouth. Shove them up your ass where it should belong to.

    My choosing not to house you is no more protectionist than my choosing not to buy Chinese products. It's only protectionist when I don't let my neighbor do those things.

    Whatever you said to help yourself sleep better.

    Quit dodging my other questions again, you chickenshit.

  • ||

    Seriously? Who said I am against illegal trade barriers?

    No one did. It's a rhetorical device. Being against illegal immigration but not legal immigration is similar to being against illegal imported goods but not legal imported goods. Since you are not a protectionist, you don't believe there should be any illegal imported goods, at least on economic grounds.

    Similarly, I don't believe there should be any illegal immigrants, at least on economic grounds.

  • The Wasp||

    No one did.

    No one did? It was you who did, dumbass. You spew that protectionist bullshits on me because I pissed you off by calling you a Jesus Christ's warrior for La Raza. Truth hurts.

    Protectionist bullshits that you pulled on me. Pot Calling The kettle black.

    It's a rhetorical device. Being against illegal immigration but not legal immigration is similar to being against illegal imported goods but not legal imported goods. Since you are not a protectionist, you don't believe there should be any illegal imported goods, at least on economic grounds.

    I don't get it at all... Sorry I have a shitty education, so go dumb that question down for me.

    Why you are acting like USA is bad because of it's immigration law?

    Why you ignore or refuse to bash other countries' immigration laws? If no, prove it.

    Why USA keep getting shitstorms over immigration's law while other countries don't?

  • ||

    Any country's immigration laws are bad if they deny individuals the right of migration for putatively economic reasons. To my knowledge, that includes every country on the planet.

    I focus on the US because (1) I live there, (2) most of the people reading this live there, and (3) it at least pretends to have been founded on the supremacy of individual rights.

  • ||

    Free migrations? Are there is such thing?

    Yes. It's an inalienable individual right. The US government recognizes that right within the US and its dominion. It does not recognize it when entering the US.

  • The Wasp||

    Oh that free migrations. I thought you was talking "free migrations" between two country...

    Other bullshitting from Jesus Christ's warrior for La Raza again....

  • ||

    I thought you was talking "free migrations" between two country...

    Indeed I was. Free migration within a country is a subset of free migration within and between countries. It is highly arbitrary to presume that individual right exists within the country but ceases to exist at the national border.

  • The Wasp||

    Why don't you give me your address, so I can find you to murder you.

  • Long Dong||

    Don't believe everything you lead in American newspaper. We eat your lunch....and dinner too!

  • Long Dong||

    Should have been "...your runch..."

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    Because Reason "free minds and free markets" supports trade with China.

    Again, this is a "special pleading" fallacy. If I support free trade, then I would not make a distiction between trade with Chinese, Mongols, Indians, Mexicans, Canadians, Texans or Green Men from Mars.

    [...]unless I can get some really good deals on serf made goods, then to hell with free minds and free markets because it's all about profit[.]

    Problem is, what is a "serf-made" good? You are the one making this distinction, but without any sort of evidence to back it up, you're just indulging in question-begging.

    But to lie and support communist China as free market is too much.

    Nobody said Communits China is a free market. Communist China is a country. "Free Market" only means people trading freely, so if I trade with a Chinese a few goods, then I am engaging in free trade with a Chinese, does not matter what the politicians in his home country decide to call themselves.

    Reason mag had been around in the 1930’s it would have supported trading with Stalin’s Soviet Union and its gulag made goods.

    I am sure they would support letting people decide to freely trade with the Soviets, if they found the so-called "gulag-made" goods any good (I seriously doubt it.)

  • DJF||

    “”””Nobody said Communits China is a free market. Communist China is a country. "Free Market" only means people trading freely, so if I trade with a Chinese a few goods, then I am engaging in free trade with a Chinese, does not matter what the politicians in his home country decide to call themselves.”””

    Does it matter that the communist corporation which is 100% owned by the government is the one you are trading with? Does it matter that they stole the land on which the factory was built? Does it matter that they use their police state powers to control the workers? Does it matter that your people trading freely includes people who are not free?

    “”””am sure they would support letting people decide to freely trade with the Soviets, if they found the so-called "gulag-made" goods any good (I seriously doubt it.)”””

    So now you doubt that Stalins Soviet Union had gulag’s. Or do you just think that they won’t produce goods you like? What if they produced quality goods, then is it all right to buy gulag made goods?

  • ||

    "Does it matter that the communist corporation which is 100% owned by the government is the one you are trading with?"

    Nope. It is not the ideal situation, but limiting trade on the end of the consumer would mean less freedom overall, not more. Anyway, not all corporations in China are 100% owned by the government. Few are. Of course you keep dodging the actual facts of the matter.

    "Does it matter that they stole the land on which the factory was built?"

    NOt from the perspective of the buyer. I would not want that kind of thing to occur, but my consumption choices are not one in the same as my political choices. You have a complete inability to compartmentalize the two.

    " Does it matter that they use their police state powers to control the workers?"

    How are they "controlling the workers?" The workers can quit there job anytime that they want.

    " Does it matter that your people trading freely includes people who are not free?"

    Once again, they take their jobs voluntarily. THey can quit anytime. We can talk about the morality of buying products made by slave labor later, but right now, we are talking about the Chinese who are simply LESS free than ourselves. That does not make them slaves.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    Does it matter that the communist corporation which is 100% owned by the government is the one you are trading with?

    Does it matter to whom? You? Don't trade with the company. Me? I don't care.

    Does it matter that they stole the land on which the factory was built?

    Me Indian. Me good Indian. You pale face stole ancestors land. You hunted our buffalo and installed a Boeing factory.

    Give me a break, DJF.

    Does it matter that they use their police state powers to control the workers?

    You mean unlike in the U.S.?

    Does it matter that your people trading freely includes people who are not free?

    "Not free" according to whom? And, you're falling into a contradiction - if they're trading, then at least they are free to trade.

    So now you doubt that Stalins Soviet Union had gulag’s.

    No, I wrote that I doubt their goods were any good - hence the "I doubt it."

    What if they produced quality goods, then is it all right to buy gulag made goods?

    Depends on what you mean by "quality". I seriously, very seriously doubt, that gulag workers would follow W.E. Deming.

  • ||

    DJF can't tell the difference between "ownership of a productive entity" and "the trade that entity engages in."
    With such a fundamental lack of discernment, and a shocking tenacity in chasing his own rhetorical tale, why bother?
    His argument has descended into "i know you are, but what am I."
    Let him go split hairs elsewhere.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: DJF,

    So you are denying that communist China has unique characteristics in that they are communist

    No, I am saying your argument is fallacious as you rely on "Special Pleading" by pointing out that China is communist, as if that made a huge difference when trading.

    You also deny that free trade requires free people since government owned corporations in you mind can engage in free trade. So is the US Post Office free trade?

    Again, I cannot take your question seriously, DJF, as it is obviously loaded. I haven't denied that trade is between people who are free to trade; whether people in China are personally freer or less free than Americans is a matter of debate, especially in times of Obama the First. However, that does not mean people should be banned from trading with the Chinese - you cannot fix some supposed problem by creating another.

    And is it now wrong at Reason to hate a communist country?

    I don't know the answer to that. I don't hate countries - that would be like hating a concept. I would hate a person that wronged me, that's for sure...

  • Barney Frank||

    Just like I thought you couldn't stick with an important topic like the last one.

  • RS||

    That, however, is not preventing Democrats from pounding the issue.

    Double entendre much?

  • Old Mexican||

    But the idea that selling abroad creates jobs at home and buying abroad destroys jobs at home is an old mercantilist fallacy that Adam Smith handily refuted more than 200 years ago.

    It's a fallacy that refuses to die quickly or quietly, Dalmia.

    University of Chicago economist Christian Broda[...] found that inequality in this country has gone down — not up — thanks to trade with China. Between 1994 and 2005, he found, any rise in income inequality was offset by a decline in prices of goods consumed by poorer households.

    Those very things that liberal elitist FUCKS call "crap."

    Libs hate the poor. Really.

  • creech||

    Say, can anyone enlighten me as to what these "tax breaks for moving jobs overseas" are that I keep hearing about? My company would like to know, as we started outsourcing some parts in China, our profit went up, and the amount of taxes we paid Uncle Sam went up too. Where's our tax breaks???

  • ||

    Some people seem to think that in China a person working in a factory is somehow being forced to work there like in a Gulag. To date I have never heard of a single Chinese worker being forced into a factory. Compared to their previous living conditions the factory work is progress.

  • Mike the Grouch||

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Mike the Grouch,

    Cheated out of their money when they sought to buy a ticket for the final leg of their journey home, they were taken in by a woman who offered them warm shelter and a meal on a cold winter night, and then later a chance to earn enough money to pay their fare by helping her sell fruit.

    The next thing they knew they were being loaded onto a minibus with several other children and taken to a factory in the next province, where they were pressed into service making bricks.

    Ok, so some people in a heavily populated country kidnap children (and adults) to put them to work as slaves, and suddenly ALL INDUSTRY IN CHINA is to be taken as driven by slave labor?

    "Fallacy of Composition," anyone??

  • Dakotian||

    They could go back to subsistence farming. I hear that is pretty easy. It’s just sitting in the shade watching your crops grow right?

  • Stretchy||

    DURKA DERR!!!

    Actually, these low paying 'sweatshop' jobs in China are better than the worker's alternatives and are, for many workers, leading to higher paying jobs and better opportunities.

    There is no constitutional right to a middle-class lifestyle or, even to have a middle class.

  • ||

    If the unions had their way most foreign imports would be banned, resulting in shortages and prices skyrocketing. Since employers in this current economic climate can't raise our wages most of us wouldn't be able to afford most consumer goods.

  • Beelzebud||

    This is great. I love reading free market libertarians make the case for why we shouldn't "whine" about our economic situation in regards to communist China.

  • Botox Porcupine||

    Excellent use of the term "bitch in heat"...I think.

  • ChrisO||

    Protectionism will be the next big political wave. And it will be a big one.

    So far, it's been a bit under the radar, but when the economy doesn't improve anytime soon, it will easier to bash the Chinese than to admit that we regulated and taxed our domestic industries out of business.

    A more productive workforce and a more adaptable and safer business should cause the USA to be competitive in many fields that rely on more than just cheap labor to thrive. However, onerous taxes and regulations wipe away that advantage.

  • ChrisO||

    That should read "safer business climate." Proofreading is advisable.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: ChrisO,

    Protectionism will be the next big political wave. And it will be a big one.

    I think you're right. The conditions are ripe for a Smoot-Hawley Version 2.0

    [I]t will easier to bash the Chinese than to admit that we regulated and taxed our domestic industries out of business.

    Or at least taxed and regulated them out of America.

    However, the moment you or I try to point out this very fact, eleutherophobes will retort with something like "well, you just want to pollute our air and waters and have children work 30 hours a day!" or some really stupid shit like that.

  • sevo||

    "The next thing they knew they were being loaded onto a minibus with several other children and taken to a factory in the next province, where they were pressed into service making bricks."

    Can't see a lot of doubt that China isn't anyone's definition of a free country, and equally, there are nasty people who will do what they can to (truly) exploit others there and most everywhere.
    But a lot of the writing about China is of the "some people own BMWs and others don't; it's horrible!" sort.
    And then there's the western whine about kids making a living in factories as opposed to starving from the the wonderful, green, authentic, agrarian life, spent in the fields smelling the wrong end of an ox.
    So the BS sniffer is kinda sensitive to writing about China, especially in the oh, so "neutral" NYT; anyone care to define "pressed into service"?

  • Gregory Goldmacher||

    For those of you unfamiliar with this book, I strongly recommend "The Myth Of The Rational Voter". Anti-foreign trade bias is unproductive, but pervasive and persistent.

  • Jason||

    Or read this review which covers the biases.

  • fifa3601||

    Libs hate the poor. Really

  • Ernie the Bear||

    Look, my Pod is nearly five years old, and I'd really like to buy a new one, but not if it's going to "enslave" anyone. Well, maybe the French.

  • DK||

    Wow. There was a long section of comments about the definition of free trade. Seems like there are a lot of people who are unable to take nuanced views and see this topic from multiple perspectives. I think a number of so-called libertarians actually came close to sanctioning the actions of China's government. Shameful!

  • ||

    "I think a number of so-called libertarians actually came close to sanctioning the actions of China's government."

    Well, you might think it, but that doesn't make it a fact.

  • DK||

    Perhaps we could clarify some of the things said by invoking standard jurisprudence.

    There are very good reasons for which very few people claim that I should be allowed to trade whatever I want with whomever I want. The reasons for these are similar in nature to the reasons we have restrictions on speech or actions. Yelling out "fire" in a crowded building constitutes a clear and present danger to human life and as such is penalized. As does committing the act of murder. I don't know too many libertarians who object to such policies, so why object to similar restrictions on trade?

    Common sense jurisprudence starts by putting limits on what I can trade. For instance, I cannot trade weapons grade plutonium with anyone, period. Then we put limits on who I can trade with. I cannot provide training or weapons or whatever else of the ilk to terrorist organizations. I would hope the reasoning behind this is quite clear.

    Forbidding this "material support" of terrorist groups is not far removed from forbidding "material support" of nations. We recognize that, even though a person might not commit crimes on their own, providing groups or nations with the means to commit such crimes constitutes a gross moral failure and should be punished by law. This is general type of sentiment that allowed for the Nuremberg Trials to criminalize actions taken in support of Nazi Germany by industrialists who did not kill anyone but whose actions permitted such wholesale slaughter.

    Is it all that much of a leap to move to the idea that providing the Communist Chinese government, a known subjugator of millions, with the means to continue such subjugation, is inherently morally reprehensible and thus deserving of punishment under the law?

    Note that standard jurisprudence would allow for the punishment only of those who had some idea that they were providing material support of a government's repressive policies. It could be easily argued that the vast majority of the American populace simply don't understand the repressive nature of the Chinese government. Moreover, the market is flooded with thousands of commodity goods from many nations. Who is to say which person's dollars went to funding which Chinese activity? It is thus entirely reasonable to hold those who are knowingly complicit in allowed for repressive policies, such as corporations which contract for the Chinese government, responsible. At the same time, it is reasonable to hold those average Americans who buy Chinese goods free from indemnity.

    Sorry for the long post. I wanted to clarify that these issues could be looked at in a manner entirely consistent with the basic non-initiation of force tenet of libertarianism without falling into all the demagoguery being espoused on this page.

  • ||

    Forbidding this "material support" of terrorist groups is not far removed from forbidding "material support" of nations.

    Actually, it is extremely far removed.

    One is a voluntary organization whose members willingly belong. The other is an involuntary organization that claims dominion over a territory and all within it regardless of the wants of the residents.

    Indeed, free trade with the Chinese people does far more to assist the involuntary subjects of the Chinese government than prohibiting that trade would.

    I wanted to clarify that these issues could be looked at in a manner entirely consistent with the basic non-initiation of force tenet of libertarianism

    You are arguing for forcefully abrogating the rights of trade between people in the US and people in China because of the actions of a third party -- the Chinese government. That is entirely inconsistent with non-initiation of force.

  • DK||

    Perhaps you should re-read my comment. I think you missed the point. At no point do I argue for "forcefully abrogating the rights of trade between people in the US and people in China". In fact, I specifically say "it is reasonable to hold those average Americans who buy Chinese goods free from indemnity".

    As far as the distinction between governments and terrorist groups - from the standpoint of non-initiation of force, there is very little. The former is a group that uses the threat of, or actually employs, violence in order to achieve its political objectives. The latter is...a group that uses the threat of, or actually employs, violence in order to achieve its political objectives. The claim that membership in one group is mandatory and the other volitional does nothing to change the fact that both employ force to achieve political objects. From the standpoint of non-initiation of force, they are identical.

    Moreover, I don't necessarily accept your characterization of terrorist organizations and governments. You say that terrorist groups are voluntary organizations while governments are not. True - the members of terrorist organizations are there by choice. But so are the members of governmental entities. True - becoming a victim of the abuses of governmental actions is involuntary. But so is being caught in the wake of terrorist activities. Your distinction between government and terrorist organization seems to conflate the people living in a nation with its government. I should hope that the distinction is clear.

    To re-cap - I never said anything about limiting trade between private Americans and private Chinese. I suggested that those who provide material support to a known oppressor of human rights, such as the Chinese government, are not above reproach and may even be guilty of criminal conduct.

  • ||

    Fair enough. I misunderstood your point.

    Your distinction between government and terrorist organization seems to conflate the people living in a nation with its government.

    And I thought you were doing the same. I read "nation" as "people living in a nation", when you meant "government".

  • Fuck You||

    First of all, "China Bashing" is a myth. It is the government, not the country, that people are against. Can you tell the differnce?

    Second, go ahead and shill for government that is decidedly socialist and still uses central planning. They employ protectionist tactics to surpress workers wages, and do very little to protect the intellectual property rights of US corporations. Its a case in point that Hayek was wrong: central planning can sustain economic growth, better than a free-market. But go ahead and keep feeding the monkey. And as long as you can make money off of socialism, why not call it capitalism. Screw freedom of speech, human right, etc, I'm getting paid jack!

    In sum, save your mindless elitist shilling for Forbes Magazine.

  • Space Alien||

    "First of all, "China Bashing" is a myth. It is the government, not the country, that people are against."

    "China" is the government of China. There is no unified ethnic group, culture, language, etc, that can be defined as encompassing the territory currently controlled by China. To claim otherwise is completely fallacious.

  • ||

    "central planning can sustain economic growth, better than a free-market."

    data, please.

  • ||

    the problem with this article is that the terms "protectionism" and "free trade" have been twisted around until they don't mean what normal people think they mean.

    what progressives/marxists call "free trade" is not "free" at all, it is a global wealth redistribuation scheme.

    Q: why are the details of these "free trade" agreements never made public?

    A: because in every case, these deals are set up to screw this country and favor others.

    any talk of stopping this madness is automatically called "protectionism"

    it's a shell game and the american people are always the losers.

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  • قبلة الوداع||

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