Free Trade and Modern Technology Can Destroy Cities. That's More than OK.


Famous novelist, memoirist, and world traveler Paul Theroux got a fair amount of attention for his recent tour in the New York Times of the grimmest place of all: America's deep south, filled with small towns that used to have certain industrial jobs available to their residents, and now do not.

Any story of lives and communities changed or disrupted by decisions made by others can pull at the heartstrings, especially when one doesn't remember that none of us have the right or the power to freeze the world for our benefit (when "the world" is a buzzing confusion of other humans and their choices) or the alternatives to a world disrupted by "globalization."

Kevin Williamson of National Review wrote a smart and impassioned reaction essay (that apparently pissed off some fellow conservatives for recommending those stuck in towns dying from departed industries leave rather than try to "conserve" them, but that's not the important part of his essay) that gives some important facts Theroux ignores and limns the bright side of free(ish) national and international trade and technologies that allow us to do more with less labor and thus make the world richer.


It is emphatically not the case that the South, or the United States in general, engages in less manufacturing today than it did in the so-called golden age of the postwar era (during which years a lot of poor people in the South, members of my family included, supplemented the wages they were earning during the manufacturing boom by . . . picking cotton, by hand, and being paid by the pound). We manufacture much more today than we did in the 1950s, and we grow a lot more cotton, too — and both enterprises require fewer workers today than they did back then. When one worker can produce what ten workers used to produce, or a hundred, wages go up, which is why you can make $100,000 a year harvesting cotton today….

Nor is it the case, as Theroux writes, that "globalization is the search for a new plantation, and cheaper labor." There is in fact relatively little foreign direct investment in low-wage countries. The top destination for globe-trotting capital is . . . the United States, which takes in almost twice as much as the second-place finisher, the not remarkably impoverished United Kingdom. Other than China (No. 5), you won't find a relatively low-wage country anywhere near the top of the list. Instead, you find: Germany, Belgium, France, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Singapore, Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands. . . . And even China isn't really a low-income country anymore; it's been classified as upper-middle-income by the World Bank for years, and investment in China has grown as wages have grown. They still aren't making BMWs in Rwanda. Some race to the bottom.

And Theroux thinks he can blame heartless international capitalism on the fact that some cities in the deep South are quite poor in relation to the rest of the U.S?

The South was an extraordinarily poor and backwards place until the day before yesterday. In the 1950s, about half of the households in the South didn't have indoor plumbing. The economic transformation of the South in the past 50 years has been astounding, a success story for the ages.

Nor has the system of international trade that allows businesses to move from the deep South failed to help the rest of the world:

Just as the gentlemen of the Times were putting the headline on Theroux's daft little tantrum, the World Bank published its estimate that this year — this year, not at some point in the happy-happy future — the number of people living in extreme poverty on this planet will dip below 10 percent for the first time in the history of the human species.

Change will always inconvenience somebody, it is true, and those great jobs sewing underwear in Southern factories for $100 a week no longer exist. Famine no longer exists and several million formerly poor people get to eat, and the terrible tradeoff is what? A fellow who used to work in a sneaker factory has to go hustle real estate or become a restaurant proprietor? Meanwhile, the poor people of Mississippi, still our poorest state, on average have to get by on a mere 118 percent of the median income in France.

Cheap moralizing of the sort that Theroux engages in, or the cheap sentimentalism that informs the Trump-Buchanan-Sanders view of globalization — "globalization" being another way of saying "human cooperation" — helps exactly no one…

It's a shame that rising to the defense of free(ish) trade, even if it results in a situation that can make the sensitive sad if looked at utterly out of historical or world context, is still a necessary tonic in public policy. But it is.

NEXT: China Said to Be Creating "Social Credit" Scores to Rule Citizens' Lives

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  1. Going heavy on the post-PM links eh?

    1. They do everything they can to keep the PM links sub 300 comments.

      1. Why is that?

      2. Have you seen what rift raft comes out after 300 comments? It’s bad enough for Reason’s cosmotarians to face the their friends at respectable journals of opinion because of us stupid blowhards in the peanut gallery.

        1. I rarely wonder into any of the super high comment articles. Seems almost pointless.

        2. I love the peanut gallery, especially with beer and reefer.

        3. Rift raft? Is that an improvised vehicle for inter-dimensional travel?

          1. What else would it be?

    1. Bravo! Seconded.

      1. Best H&R article all month.

  2. Trump-Buchanan-Sanders

    Idiots all!

    The Obama ‘pivot to Asia’ is a winner.

    1. Does the TPP get rid of anti-dumping rules? Agricultural subsidies? And it expands copyright terms?

      It sounds like a piece of shit. But Obama’s behind, so you support it.

    2. Yea, it totally didn’t offend the Chinese or drive up tension at all!

      Give that man another peace prize!

      1. Meh. The Chinese can get offended all they want. Pandering to sensitivities is not a winner.

        1. Cytotoxic – is there an aggressive foreign policy stance you don’t support? It seems like the easier question at this point.

          Ameirca has all the firepower it needs to keep China in check without publicly announcing a pivot to Asia and antagonizing China needlessly. By comparison, we’ve gained what through this posture?

          1. Seems like you don’t understand how to ask good questions. You wouldn’t make a good scientist.

            Doing things or not doing things to avoid offending people is bad. Indulging sensitivity is bad. Regardless of the silliness of American involvement in Asia, China is the antagonist over there.

            1. And you like to state ridiculous assertions as facts without backing them up.

              If America has nothing to gain, and pisses off its largest trade partner, simple math seems to indicate that’s a bad idea. In Cytotoxic world, though, it’s just a splendid idea. China, believe it or not, can and does fuck with the United States. Increasing tension without getting something back in return is not a good idea.

              So I think asking what America stands to gain in its (false) ‘pivot to Asia’ is a pretty pertinent question. And what the hell do you actually know about Chinese culture in the first place? Hint – there’s better ways to deal with China than publicly calling them out.

              1. If there’s nothing to gain, then it’s a bad idea period. You can’t base a foreign policy on the emotional states of others.

                I don’t like the ‘pivot to Asia’ either but not so much because it upsets the Chinese.

              2. Hint – there’s better ways to deal with China than publicly calling them out.

                Sh? Mi?nzi ain’t just a river in China.

          2. It’s like penis envy. Cyto is like the Canadian version of Lindsey Graham. While playing with this toy soldiers on the tundra, he was well aware of the fact that Dudley Do-right and the Royal Canadian Mounties couldn’t ride their ponies into Russia and China, or even Buttfuckistan, and kick some butt. So he looked south and sprouted a permanent war boner, ‘I have to be Murikan! Murikans are swinging the big war boner!, Swiiinnggg!!!’.

            1. Shut up. Your comprehension of my beliefs is about as sophisticated as Shriek’s comprehension of yours. Maybe when more libertarians grow the fuck up on foreign policy and learn to embrace reality they’ll have more success. In the meantime, have fun pointing your finger at everyone who doesn’t fall in lockstep with you while calling then neocons or Lindseys.

              1. Settle down, son, you’ll injure that war boner, lol. You’re losing your cool, it’s a weakness, best learn to control it if you are ever to become a real libertarian, weedhopper.

              2. Well, Cyto, you are rather neocon like. Now you can either face that, and learn how to overcome it, or you can just be angry and no one will care.

              3. I’m curious how you resolve the use of force upon individuals to pay for your foreign excursions as a libertarian. Or justify individuals dying for them any more. What I’m basically saying is that despite your very open views on a number of issues such as immigration, you remain a soft libertarian at best. Because on this you are entirely process based, and just like the progs, your policy preference tends to produce dubious results at best.

                There are very few foreign threats so great that American involvement is necessary, and most have been caused by prior interventions or failed foreign policy in the first place.

                1. *result based. Its ends justify the means thinking with the ends being very debatable.

                2. I’m curious how you resolve the use of force upon individuals to pay for your foreign excursions as a libertarian.

                  To be fair, as far as I’ve seen, Cytotoxic has never presented himself as a libertarian. He has always claimed allegiance to Objectivism and his FP views are textbook Yaron Brook et al.

                  1. “his FP views are textbook Yaron Brook et al.”

                    There’s a book that explains his….thing?

                    Is it in the same family as Peikoff’s “Let’s just pre-emptively nuke Iran“-sophistication?

                    1. I actually saw that clip live on TV when it was on. I don’t remember why… I never watched Fox normally, much less Bill O’. I think i was channel surfing and just got lucky.

                    2. In Objectivism, there is a concept known as ‘rejection of the primitive’, which basically argues that developed countries have the right to do whatever they want in Ooga-Boogaland, because it’s filled with just a bunch of Stone Age savages anyway.

                    3. Ah.

                      I guess that probably helps with some of it.

                      The Yaron Brook guy is clarifying as well. The one-note, moralistic 100%-Right vs 100%-Wrong POV is familiar.

                      Realism tends to not work well with people who think there’s a Moral Authority guiding policy.

  3. The “benefits” of economic protectionism were debunked nearly 300 years ago, yet here we are. “Free trade” today is nothing but managed trade, yet the public is lead to believe that the world – and the U.S. in particular – is a free market and thus the cause of the world’s woes.

    I don’t know what it will take to disabuse the public of their erroneous beliefs.

    1. They’ll always be populist out there selling that garbage. As long as there are haves and have not’s, The populist will find someone or something for the have not’s to blame for their discontentment.

  4. That was a can of whup ass right there.

    1. KDW brings it, as always.

      1. He seems perpetually very angry. I fear he’ll die young of a stroke.

        1. Maybe he should stop reading the idiots at the NYT. That would probably be a good start.

          1. His best stuff is flushing out NYT sludge.

  5. And even China isn’t really a low-income country anymore; it’s been classified as upper-middle-income by the World Bank for years

    That per capita nominal GDP ($7,589) gets them into upper-middle-income? Well, it is sitting at #79 of 186, right between Bulgaria and Botswana.

    1. LUXURY!

      We used to live at the bottom of a septic tank. Our dad would get us up at 10:30 at night, 1/2 an hour before we went to bed, and feed us a dry lump of poison. Then he’d send us off to work in the mines for 29 hours a day, and when we’d return at night, he’d slice us in two with a bread knife and dance hallelujah on our graves.

      And you tell kids today that, and they don’t believe you….

      1. You fancy pantsers flaunting your luxury all about.

        1. Shelter, food, full-time job, AND dancing? What a sweet gig.

        2. Shelter, food, full-time job, AND dancing? What a sweet gig.

          1. On my side of the track, we couldn’t afford plural.

            1. Pfft, we lived on the tracks.

              1. See? TRACKS, PLURAL! You silver spooners are so pompous.

  6. Trade is good. Free trade is better. Believing otherwise takes a large amount of ignorance and not a small amount of distrust in one’s fellow human beings. I’m convinced that those who are against trade in general, and free trade in particular, are afraid that they have little or nothing to trade–and they may be right.

    Is there any wonder that so many denouncers of capitalism have nothing to offer the market? What did Karl Marx have to offer? Was he really an historic thinker, or did her merely embellish the ideas of Frederich Engels? Anti-free traders are just losers.

  7. Just a few decades ago, the 1970s and 80s to be sure, the Paul Theroux’s (whatever) of the world though the South was some sort of a hellhole when the factories and such were still operating. “Workers” in monotony and danger, etc.

    uess you can’t please some folks.

    1. When you’re whole personal outlook and ideology needs crises no you can’t.

      They’re morose pessimists stricken with OCD. They can’t ever really be happy as something somewhere is always wrong or confusing or sloppy.

      1. “They’re morose pessimists stricken with OCD. ”

        You’re not wrong but come on…that’s pretty heavy irony.

        1. I’m sure I don’t understand what you mean.

          1. I don’t doubt it.

    2. Right. Factory work was dehumanizing until it went away. Now service work is dehumanizing. One could get the idea that some folk just think they’re above working, no matter the industry.

      1. Just need to win that lotto

        1. The govt advertises the lotto in poor neighborhoods, during the beginning of the month as Soc Sec and other govt checks are mailed out. They need the money for schools and infrastructure, so they encourage reckless gambling by desperate people. Desperate speculation fueled by govt incentives happening elsewhere in the economy?

          1. Just around the corner: Use your EBT for the lottery.

            1. EBT for margin calls. Stimulus!

    3. There was this song about a town in PA named Allentown. It was a real place, and they closed all the factories!

      Never fear though, if the Chinese don’t get those robots and 3D printing tech rolling up fast, mfg is coming back to the USA. Not the labor jobs you know, just the mfg. No biggie, Americans won’t work in any jobs where you have to actual work anyway. That’s what the Mexicans are for. I’ve got it! Mexican Robots!

      1. la cucarobot

        1. Ass sex feature?

          1. Well it’s Mexican so yeah.

      2. Sing us a different song piano man.

      3. Allentown still exists and I grew up right next door. Not all of the Lehigh Valley is a hellhole but the only growth industry there is healthcare for the aging population.

  8. Luddites gotta luddite. Let’s bring back the buggy whip factory and destroy the ATMs! Worker’s paradise awaits!

      1. I actually clicked on that. I can’t see image links anymore in Chrome for some reason. My wife was just over here and then walked out of the room, thank god. I don’t want her getting any ideas about whips.

        1. I’m with you on that. The outfit’s pretty hot though, just leave out the whip.

          1. Yeah, the outfit is great.

            1. Such a tender pair, you two.

    1. From the KDW article:

      There is no reactionary like the anti-trade reactionary, and Theroux and his ilk make the original Luddites look like Steve Jobs by comparison.

  9. Readers of the NYT *get it* on a truly fundamental level

    “Amen. To this, I would only add: corporations are, by their nature, amoral, and in the business of making as much profit as possible. It is government, then, that should protect the citizens from corporate nature by enacting laws that punish corporations for decisions that hurt citizens and rewarding them for ones that help. If our government could climb out of the corporate pocket and enact laws that punish offshoring work with huge tax consequences and reward bringing it back to places with high unemployment, we would have something.

    In short, as much as I detest the behavior of American corporations worldwide, and share the author’s disdain for billionaire “philanthropists”, I point the finger at our complicit, ineffective government most of all.


    Obviously greater collusion between government and corporate entities will bring a progressive utopia

    1. Dude, readers of the NYT truly are the dumbest commenters anywhere, ever, in the history of the intertoobz. They aren’t sentient. Their entire being is dedicated to the one purpose of being insufferable assholes.

      1. Are you positing that the commenters on Youtube and Yahoo are computer programs?

        1. Computer programs have more original thought that NYT commentators.

          1. Don’t insult programmers like that.

        2. Not, they’re 10 year old kids or retards for the most part. I mean pretty much every post is some variation of: Shaddup, you suck, fagoot!

          However, the commentors at the NYT are actually grown adults who have worked hard to achieve a special level of dumb that cannot be surpassed by any means known to humans.

          1. There is a sophistication to their asshaterry. As though they all went to (or pretend to have gone to) an ivy-league school.

            1. I would sum it up like this. They are the dullest and least intelligent group of people on earth who are actually convinced that they are some type of intellectuals.

              1. I bet they have dirty feet, too.

            2. This. Perfect summary.

    2. I don’t know why it is so difficult to understand that government is the problem, not the solution.

      1. Yes. you. do.

        1. I know a lot of the reasons they think or more appropriately feel the way they do but damn it’s not that hard to figure out.

          1. Know your enemy. Screw them if they didn’t want it used that way.

            1. Yeah, I like RATM even though their politics are retarded. That’s a good tune.

              1. RRRRRaaaaaahhhhhh! agreed.

            2. RATM = shitty vocals ‘R us. Maybe they used to be better.


              “Psychedelic Underground aka Frank Savton 2 months ago
              yes I know my enemies – bureaucrats, socialists, rulers of medias, religious tricksters, authoritarianism supporters!!!
              Reply ? 7

              the Pecha gamer 2 weeks ago
              You must be a libertarian :)”

              1. I never got what was so great about RATM. I have the pleasure of hating them and their shitty politics.

                For me, the band that has good music but absolutely horrible politics is Fun da Mental.

                1. They have a few good get the party started bar jams.

                  1. That’s hard core right there:)

                  2. That’s hard core right there:)

                    1. Man, squirrels have been brutal on me tonight.

                    2. Man, squirrels have been brutal on me tonight.

                    1. High pitched without the nasally whine most Japanese singers have. Excellent.

                  3. Pirate truther is everywhere.

                  1. That was supposed to go under the Erotic Terrorism song but threads not cooperating.

              2. I saw that:) I’m more interested in the jams anyways, not that I don’t appreciate some good vocals but it’s not a requirement if you can rock out.

    3. I don’t know why it is so difficult to understand that government is the problem, not the solution.

      1. Not burying your head in the sand and refusing to see the truth would be a start.

        It truly is amazing how they can see that the government is in bed with large corporations, but they somehow must insist that corporations are the evil slave masters and the government are the poor victims.

        Why do we allow corporations to buy our government!? Because they’re whores who want to be bought, you fucking numbskulls!

        Here’s a solution, leftist numbnuts. Let’s outlaw cronyism. Any elected or appointed official caught engaged in it will face a mandatory jail sentence and fine and be banned from politics and public office, for life.

        Not one Democrat will agree to that solution. I would wager one who would agree with that can be found on planet earth.

        1. Yeah, there is a pretty big disconnect there. Giving the government MORE money and MORE power is going to help how?

          1. They don’t have an explanation for that. It is not based on logic or reason, or facts. It’s based on faith. They’ve never seen these magical super human and saintly politicians who can solve any problems, let alone solve all problems, but their faith demands that they continue to believe, no matter what. It’s a religion.

            1. Yes, but they never fail to complain about corporations controlling government, so they demand more government to fix that.

              1. Of course, how can more of faith based god in our lives be a bad thing? To not believe that would be to not be a good and faithful believer.

        2. The problem is, I’m coming to suspect, cronyism might be the only reason there’s still an economy at all, i.e. graft is the only reason our country hasn’t and won’t devolve into socialist hell. The regulatory state is a cudgel wielded by cronies, it’s true, but it wouldn’t disappear absent cronies to wield it: bureaucrats in the mold of Eliot Ness would wield it like a truncheon to pummel capitalists into line and grind to a stop all economic momentum. Competing corporate interests in Washington are maybe preventing progressives from abolishing prosperity.

      2. It allows people to deny any responsibility for their own actions and blame the results of their decisions in life on some one/thing else other than themselves.

    4. Isn’t that the Trump plan for American glorious glory?

      1. Last I heard of Trump’s plan, he’s going to take care of everyone. Well… not him.. exactly… someone from the government will take care of everyone. He sooo does not sound like a Democrat.

    5. corporations are, by their nature, amoral

      Can a concept have a morality/moral code?

      1. Corporations are people, just like governments are people.

        1. You know that, and I know that, but to that guy, corporations are some monolith of hate and evil.

          I guess he thinks that there really are fields were “special” people are grown-the holy kind, where we get government employees and politicians, and the evil ones where “corporation” people are grown.

          1. Kind of random, but I’ve seen little discussion around here of the show ‘Mr. Robot.’ The show is nothing but shitty left wing tropes and convoluted inner dialogue that gets passed off as intellectualism.

            It embodies the essence of the modern left. They are a pastiche of themselves at this point.

            1. I read nothing but great things about it when it premiered, and none of it convinced me to watch it.

              What has been mentioned here about it is exactly what you’ve said.

        2. But all the caring people are in government and all the heartless assholes are in corporations. Stop in the DMV, then go to a Cadillac dealer and see the difference. Wait, just take the NYT word for it.

          1. I remember an episode of Stossel when he was talking about free markets and wanted to know if it’s so bad, why do you see someone walk into a store, buy a product and both the buyer and seller are smiling happy people.

            Walk into the DMV. You see anyone smiling? I think not.

            1. Obviously FOX Stossel is a shill for Big Happy. MSNBC will knock those smiles off their faces.

          2. But all the caring people are in government

            and unions.

            specially the bosses’

    6. “enacting laws that punish corporations”

      this is why we can’t have nice things

    7. We are always just a couple simple, common sense laws from utopia. Kulaks and wreckers stand in the way.

      1. Leftist have no understanding of human nature, at all. They are all suffering from this severe mental illness that lets them believe that when someone is elected to public office, that person suddenly achieves Sainthood.

        1. Only if that someone is a Democrat.

          Otherwise they are evil personified

          1. Good correction, agreed.

  10. I read Saint Jack years ago and it was quite funny. Once again, however, a fiction writer, actor, singer, athlete etc. who is skilled at their own occupation absolutely suck at economics.

  11. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……


  12. Is ammosexual a thing now?

    1. Oh, is that the name for cops now?

      1. They’re screaming about a dog being shot. Oh, boy.

        1. Wonderful article, there. No link to the story he mentions, but, LOOK OUT-FACEBOOK POSTS!!!

          The author probably thinks he’s smart, too.

          /Poor pooch. Wish he had had smarter owners.

    2. Is that what we’re calling cops now?

      1. Too slow:( All of the ads on that page were freaky.

      2. Brilliant minds think alike.

        1. Yes sir:)

    3. Thank Bill Maher. Warning: DailyKos and Bill Maher.


      1. Saw it last night. (40+ / 0-)

        It was an epic response.

        The new mob has their pitchforks and “Totally PWN’D!” placards held high. We’re dealing with juveniles.

      2. Bill Maher is a gun owner, and generally full of shit. He panders and makes a good living doing it.

        That said, in a general sense, I kind of agree with him. Doesn’t mean I want government intervention in the matter.

  13. Theroux was an English teacher for the Peace Corps in the 60s He oined to avoid the Vietnam War. I have read alsmost everything he has written and most all of it is very enoyable and entertaining. He was a pioneer in travel writing. He was the first to write about the people and cultures he was travelig in and through. At the time his writing career began travel writers simply described the places and things they saw and looked at. They discussed tourist destinations, hotel accomidations, and train schedules. Therou talked about his adventures, the people he met and their lives as far as he could devle into them. He’s a great writer and I love everything I have read that he has written.

    That said he is a pure leftist. Cutting any budget that doesn’t attack gun ownership is evil, etc etc.

    However I will say that because of his early history in Africa he understands the damage that foreign aid is doing to Africa. He denounces the USAID and NGO workers for the attitudes and actions in Africa. In his own words he denounces the massive aid proects in Africa because they steal the incintives of Africans to do anything for themselves. Why should Africans do anything for themselves he says when if they ust wait some NGO will do it for them ?

    Now if he could only learn to corelate the long term damage those government funded activities do to the Africans back to the long term damage government funded activities do to African Americans he might be on to something.

    1. Now if he could only… The largest distance in the universe exists in those ellipsis.

    2. He was the first to write about the people and cultures he was travelig in and through.

      How many hundred years old is this guy?

      1. And how, may I ask, does one travel “in and through” people?

        1. I’m thinking some of that Dr. Who stuff, or Buckaroo Bonsai.

        2. So is nit picking one of your specialties or just your only talent ?

          1. This is HnR – just jabbing ya, buddy.

      2. You’re right . There were some others. I have read some of them as well.

        But he is the first “modern” travel writer to do so.

        1. Um, no there were a few modern travel writers who did this before him. For example, Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor.

  14. I’ve sold product to Taiwan. I hear horror stories about the stuff coming out of Russia, cheap and stupid and worth every penny. Free trade? Bring it. You want cheap, you get cheap, defective, dangerous and stupid. You want good, buy American, and by that, I mean, buy from a local foreigner. Me.

    Protectionism is for betas who jizz upon the American Flag and hate Mom and apple Pie.

    1. Protectionism is a failure for sure and a total ass raping of the consumer.

      1. See also ‘supply management’.

        Every one of you that comes to Canada must bring as much cheese chicken and dairy with you as possible.

        1. Cheese chicken sounds a lot better than a tofu turkey. If you got a full flow toilet to trade, we got a deal.

        2. The border nazis won’t let us in, lest we corrupt you pure spirits and turn you into poison milk drinking Mad Max road warrior Murikans, with even more guns.

          1. Oh yeah you also have to smuggle your gunz in.

            1. I’m not smuggling anything in. You can try it if you want.

    2. Cool story bro.

        1. Remember when Dunphy used to spell it ‘kewl’.

      1. What? No milfs were nailed in that story. FAIL! Back to story writing 101 with you, weedhopper!

        1. She was with the kids. She was with the kids. Factual, but deflating. They ran around as they are won’t to do. She could see the pool boy through the the fluttter of of pool noodles…

          1. I actually liked the story. It was just a warning. The milf nailing in story nazis will be watching, you’ve been warned. They’re nearly as bad as the hummus cult.

    3. There is a difference between Free Trade and Free Trade Pacts.

      It’s a difference of a few thousand pages.

      1. “It’s a difference of a few thousand pages.”

        So you think Obo might have snuck a few ‘conditions’ in there?

  15. Well, here’s something good about TPP, I guess:

    [A]pparently the United States “secured” a 25 year phase-out period for our 2.5% auto import tariffs and a 30 year phase-out for our 25% pick-up truck tariff.

    1. Nothing says “free trade” like a 30 year phaseout of a 25% tariff. I bet those textile workers in Shithole, Alabama woulda appreciated some “free trade” like that

  16. If you don’t wake up, every morning, believing you can beat anybody, on any continent, at what you do: Beta and UnAmerican. Free trade is there to toughen you the fuck up.

    1. Fact: Free Trade is my street name.

      1. That’s what she said.

        1. Naah. Her’s was ‘Easy’.

  17. nstead, you find: Germany, Belgium, France, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Singapore, Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands. . . . And even China isn’t really a low-income country anymore; it’s been classified as upper-middle-income by the World Bank for years, and investment in China has grown as wages have grown. They still aren’t making BMWs in Rwanda. Some race to the bottom.

    Brazil is a 3rd world country and first world country both at the same time. The rich are as rich as anyone anywhere. The poor are as poor as the poor anywhere.

    Right now, nearly 10 years of Dilma’s Labor Party is wreaking havoc with Brazil’s economy. Corruption is out of control, combined with the unrealistic protectionist economic policies, and the out of control labor unions, middle class Brazilians are really suffering right now. Sky high taxes, soaring prices, a weak REAL, it’s pretty bad. The country has such great potential, but there is no way it will ever reach it unless they get this parasitical Labor Party out of power.

    1. From what I’ve read, she might not be around for that much longer.

      1. Easier said than done. She’s like zombie apocalypse Hillary. Bodies are piling up under the buses.

        The real shame is that Aecio Neves lost that election by such a small margin and he got into the race at the last moment. If he would have entered just a little sooner or the election would have been even 2 weeks later, he would have won easily. He’s better than Obama on economics, I can say that for sure. Now I’m afraid that they are stuck with Dilma for 3 more years. About 80% of the population want her impeached, but it’s nearly impossible to do it in practice, more difficult than here even.

  18. “…And even China isn’t really a low-income country anymore; it’s been classified as upper-middle-income by the World Bank for years, and investment in China has grown as wages have grown. They still aren’t making BMWs in Rwanda. Some race to the bottom….”

    Remember how the Japs were stealing our jobs with cheap stuff 40 years ago? How they were going to force American wages down to their level? Remember that?

    1. Well, they did make some really good shit that American like to buy. China? I’m having my doubts. Well ASUS is in Taiwan, so there’s that.

      China is booming because of the mfg boom from the ultra cheap labor. Robots and 3D printing is going to kill that for them soon enough, unless they can make the best robots and 3D printers. I highly doubt it. South Korea or Japan mabye, China I wouldn’t bet on.

      1. I’ve had product made in China a couple of times now.
        If you need high quality, it is certainly available, but any price advantage begins to be eaten by transport costs and of course risk-value.
        But what you’re seeing is where you can find that advantage; design to allow loose enough tolerances and you can get some amazing prices. But your product will reflect that.

      2. The PRC is having slow success getting foreigners to buy its local brands; see, for instance, Lenovo and Huawei (not much to consumers, but a ton to businesses).

        Taiwan makes a ton of stuff that we want to buy, either domestically or in the PRC, but it’s hard to tell because (a) so much of it is either components or outsourced assembly work and (b) the consumer stuff is often sold under not-conspicuously-Taiwanese brand names*.

        Most computer power supplies (and nearly all high-quality ones), most (nearly all?) motherboards, and nearly all laptops come from Taiwanese companies (either from a local brand like ASUS or Acer or from a contract manufacturer like Quanta, Compal, Foxconn).

        See also TSMC, the second- or third-most-advanced name in semiconductor fabrication, depending on where you place Samsung (Intel being the first). In addition a non-trival number of displays are made by Taiwanese companies (or company — anyone other than AUO? not sure…), though of course plenty are made by Japanese, Korean, and even Chinese companies.

        *D-Link, ZyXEL, HTC, and maybe Gigabyte are some consumer-facing-brands (alongside the aforementioned ASUS and Acer) with fairly nondescript names.

        1. outsourced assembly work

          Sorry, assembly and/or design. Obviously it is mostly just assembly when it comes to, say, Apple products; but in other cases, you are basically buying a Taiwanese laptop with an American brand name.

      3. You should actually still make the distinction which China you are talking about. The PRC is the commie one, the ROC is the good one.

    2. Remember how the Japs were stealing our jobs with cheap stuff 40 years ago? How they were going to force American wages down to their level? Remember that?

      Well, shit, man. Haven’t you taken a look at Los Angeles lately?

      1. Dayam! What does Playa have to say about that?

        1. I’m guessing “chikusho!”

      2. Kyoryouku wakamono. Strong young people. Hmmmm.

        1. I was in Japan in the ’60s; learned enough to listen, not really enough to speak, arigato.

    3. Isn’t Toyota the biggest car brand in the US?

      Not a great argument…

      1. IIRC, when the Camry entered NASCAR, it was the only model made in the USA.

  19. In my latest role as wage bitch trying to make tuition payments, I’m putting up FRP in a soon-to-be Chipotles. If you’ve ever been in an industrial kitchen and noticed the textured plasticky panels on the walls, that’s FRP. It’s a huge pain in the ass: first, you measure all of the many outlets, switches, pipes, and conduits running out of the wall you’re paneling over. Then you map it onto the FRP sheathes backward, because you can’t mark the fronts. Then you cut and pray you’ve gotten your layout right, because any mistake renders your $40 panel worthless. Then you slather on a tacky adhesive using a slotted mudding trowel. And finally, carefully navigating an obstacle course of electricians and HVAC guys, you carry your prepared FRP panel to the wall you’re covering and slot it into a bracket which, days before, was ruined almost to the point of uselessness by the concrete crew. And you repeat that process for another seven hours while wondering why it’s taking all day.

    1. More straw in those bricks!

      1. Hey, it pays. No complaints here.

  20. Le’s start with some basics:
    EVERY (non-fraudulent) trade between free actors increases the wealth of mankind, by definition. If both parties did not find greater value in what they received, they would not have traded.
    Third party meddling or, (worse) coercion does not increase the wealth of mankind to the same extent and may well reduce it.
    So why do lefties favor coercion? Simple: Envy!
    In that free trade, one of the parties may well have gained more value than the other and THAT’S NOT FAIR! So rather than accept *any* possible asymmetry, a proggy will prefer the strong possibility of loss.
    Examples abound from the wretched condition of full-on socialism to the coddled-but-disgruntled state of, oh, England’s NHS. Look at our resident brain-dead commie-kid; pay a mortgage that produces a profit for a bank or suffer from the credit rating of bailing? Nose, face don’t like you!
    Trade between those who live in different states varies from this not one iota.

  21. Citizens should be free to buy and sell goods and services, study and travel, and otherwise interact with peoples from other lands and places, unencumbered by the intrusions of government.
    Sounds nice anyway, I just hope for a better future for my grandson Silas Jett, just born tonight!

    1. Congrats!
      Al the fingers and toes there, I hope.

  22. In the 1950s, about half of the households in the South didn’t have indoor plumbing.

    And now it’s up to what, 53%?


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