Free market nationalism

There is an interesting op-ed in the WSJ:

The irony is that many aspects of today’s globalism—or at least its promotion of market economies, capital mobility, and mostly free trade—aren’t in conflict with nationalism. In one sense of the word, the greatest “globalist” age in history was the period before World War I. Trade among western European countries increased to 10% of the region’s GDP in 1900 from 1% in 1830. Supply chains extended across the globe, and capital and labor flowed freely across borders.

The “long” 19th century—the period spanning the French revolution through Sarajevo—witnessed considerable economic, political and social upheaval, and yet was also a time of industrialization, enormous poverty reduction, wealth creation and global economic integration. This unabashed age of nation-states wasn’t all roses, but it was one of free markets, free trade and unrestricted capital flows. No two eras are exactly alike—and one wouldn’t want to live in 1910 instead of 2020—but this period demonstrates that globalism need not be unaccountable nor collectivist.

The difference is that today’s world is increasingly complex and its centralizing tendencies place a premium on technical expertise. That encourages a managed ordering of things “too important” to be left to voters and the democratic process. While international institutions can be useful for collective action—NATO, for example—and in adjudicating disputes across borders, such organizations shouldn’t impinge on national sovereignty. Sovereign nations consenting to play by an agreed set of rules, or banding together in service of a common objective, differs radically from unaccountable transnational elites engineering outcomes, often without scrutiny.

Citizens and their representative governments ceding sovereignty to unaccountable supranational bodies is the geopolitical equivalent of corporations cashiering the shareholder model in favor of stakeholder capitalism. Beyond suppressing the popular will—be it that of citizens or shareholders—such moves violate an axiomatic feature of all successful democratic and productive endeavors, which is that institutional responsiveness and accountability works best when located closest to those served.

Nationalism as a response to a collectivist and unaccountable globalism—whether in dealing with a “climate crisis,” “inequality,” or something else—need not be nativist or protectionist. Our own recent economic history demonstrates this. While nationalism may be a dirty word among elites in Switzerland, the nation-state remains the most successful vehicle for advancing liberty, economic advancement and individual achievement in the history of the world.

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26 Responses to Free market nationalism

  1. Tom

    Nationalism as a response to a collectivist and unaccountable globalism—whether in dealing with a “climate crisis,” “inequality,” or something else—need not be nativist or protectionist.

    Yet look at the response of the elites — including 99% of the economics profession — to the Trump administration’s decision to take on China’s manipulation of the World Trade Organisation’s rules, which enriches the Chinese Communist Party and impoverishes American consumers by exporting their jobs to China and the Third World.

    Trump freely admits he’s a free trader who’d prefer zero tariffs, but, in the meantime, he’s using tariffs to punish protectionists like the EU, which is using tariff walls against US products.

    What the elites and the economics profession actually hate about Trump is not his use of tariffs, but what they see as his vulgar alphamale personality, which he is using strategically to achieve his America First nationalist objectives.

    That, in turn, has unmasked his opponents as haters of America and its military and industrial strength. It turns out big slabs of the Washington elite are making big bucks out of promoting foreign interests over America’s. See investigative reporter Peter Schweizer’s new book, Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends. Schweizer is interviewed about the book here (from the 18-minute mark).

    The elites spent eight years apologising for America under Obama — the repulsive self-hatred that created the Trump presidency. The battle the elites are now waging against Trump is between self-hatred and socialism (the Democrats) and the American dream and the free market.

    The astonishing thing is the strength of the forces of darkness, which have been unleashed on America — made possible through the complicity of the news media, which has spent most of this century selling out its responsibility to be the public’s eyes and ears, instead becoming a lapdog of the ruling class.

  2. Fisky

    The elites spent eight years apologising for America under Obama — the repulsive self-hatred that created the Trump presidency. The battle the elites are now waging against Trump is between self-hatred and socialism (the Democrats) and the American dream and the free market.

    A lot of people focus on the ideological noise of Obama’s anti-Americanism, the woke politics involved in the ostentatious self-loathing etc, while ignoring the real financial and geopolitical forces behind it – America’s ruling class was ripping off the country plain and simple. Now they can’t just come out and say, “Oh by the way, we’re taking away your country from you and selling it to the highest bidder”. That won’t fly.

    They need a moral rationale for the rip-off, which is where woke politics comes in – the white working class are guilty of “white privilege” and must be stripped of that privilege (so no jobs or aff0rdable housing allowed), open borders is a moral necessity, corporations are the arbiters of our private choices and have the right to “cancel” us if we don’t comply, free speech must be banned, and America needs to give up its wealth to foreigners.

    All of this by pure coincidence fattens the bottom line of the corporate woke class. The reason they hate Trump is partly due to his vulgarity, and also because he ripped the scab off this festering wound.

  3. I_am_not_a_robot

    “We should seize this moment to ensure that stakeholder capitalism remains the new dominant model.” (Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum).

    Stakeholder capitalism: ‘… the notion that a firm focuses on meeting the needs of all its stakeholders: customers, employees, partners, the community, and society as a whole …’ (Investopedia).

    It’s everywhere it’s everywhere, about 2,180,000 google results , however:
    ‘Stakeholder capitalism’ empowers unaccountable elites at the expense of free-market nationalism … (WSJ).

    “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits” (Milton Friedman).

    “There is only one valid purpose of a corporation: to create a customer” (Peter Drucker).

    Stakeholder capitalism is re-branded corporate social responsibility (CSR) with the word ‘social’ removed because it gave the game away.
    The point about the period up to WW 1 being a high point for free market international trade was also made by Niall Ferguson in Civilisation: The West and the Rest (2012).

  4. Arky

    Why wouldn’t you post the exchange between Dot and I that I sent you?
    For nearly 150 years the Republican party was staunchly in favour of tariffs.
    On every change of administration Democrats would ratchet tariffs down and other taxes up, and Republicans would ratchet tariffs up and other taxes and regulation down.
    It is the modern era under the policies pushed by economists like you that is out of whack.

  5. Arky

    The difference is that today’s world is increasingly complex and its centralizing tendencies place a premium on technical expertise.

    ..
    Bullshit.
    Utter bullshit.
    Try feeding a nation with horse or steam power.
    The past was far more technically complex.
    The challenges required much more expertise than the modern era.
    Imagine trying to start a refrigerated meat shipping business to England under sail today.

  6. Arky

    The bloody outrageous bullshit excuses these people come up with for just fucking doing what they wanted to do.
    ..

    This unabashed age of nation-states wasn’t all roses, but it was one of free markets, free trade and unrestricted capital flows.

    ..
    More bullshit.
    This is the actual reality:

    The Morrill Tariff of 1861 was an increased import tariff in the United States, adopted on March 2, 1861, during the administration of President James Buchanan, a Democrat. It was the twelfth of seventeen planks in the platform of the incoming Republican Party, which had not yet been inaugurated, and it appealed to industrialists and factory workers as a way to foster rapid industrial growth.[1]

  7. Arky

    unaccountable globalism—whether in dealing with a “climate crisis,” “inequality,” or something else—need not be nativist or protectionist. Our own recent economic history demonstrates this.

    ..
    Our own recent economic history of ceding industry to our greatest geo- political rival? That recent history? The recent history of sabotaging our own power grids for fuck knows what purpose? That recent history? Of turning our education system over to training chicoms in STEM and our own children in cock tucking? That recent history? Fuck off.

  8. I_am_not_a_robot

    Commenting in 2012 on the GFC and the subsequent push for more regulation Niall Ferguson:
    “… it seems to me, the balance of opinion favours complexity over simplicity; rules over discretion; codes of compliance over individual and corporate responsibility … excessively complex regulation is the disease of which it purports to be the cure”.
    In a recent (socialist) Spiked podcast they claimed that capitalism was failing and the elites at Davos were ‘adopting eco-austerity to disguise their own failure to improve living standards’.
    ‘Eco-austerity’ isn’t a subsequent PR development to cover for poor GDP and productivity growth etc. but a big reason for it.

  9. Crazyoldranga

    I think Arky needs a hug.

  10. Wayne From Perth

    Thankyou Arky ‘cock tucking’ you made me laugh but unfortunately your comment is all too true.

  11. Tel

    What the elites and the economics profession actually hate about Trump is not his use of tariffs, but what they see as his vulgar alphamale personality, which he is using strategically to achieve his America First nationalist objectives.

    They hate him because they can’t control him.

    The “Washington swamp” holds itself together because all parties have something to lose if it ever gets drained. Trump barges in and threatens to drain it, so the first thing they attempt is to send James Comey in to give Trump a “briefing” where he waves that Steele dossier in Trump’s face and says, “Just so you know, we’ve got this.” Blatant attempt at a threat and Trump sure knows extortion when he sees it, so Trump fires Comey, making it clear he’s the boss and he ain’t getting shaken down.

    After that it’s been.

    The latest salvo is that Trump knows the Democrats are hiding something crooked in the Ukraine, and sure as heck Burisma Holdings is somehow involved, and maybe Crowdstrike might also be involved. The Dems are throwing impeachment at him to discourage him from looking there, but as the main at the airport says: people with nothing to hide have nothing to worry about. Obviously the Dems are very worried, so you can guarantee they also have something to hide. I think perhaps some mainstream Republicans are getting a tiny sniff of blood in the water but then again you never know how many of them are also busy trying to hide whatever they have been up to.

    If Trump every got fully off the chain and started investigating everyone … could get a little bit ugly.

  12. struth

    Globalism is just the propaganda word used by socialists to make people believe that only a borderless socialist governed globe can allow for trade that is already happening between nation states now and has been since they could physically do it.

  13. Herodotus

    “Globalism” has made China great. Congrats.

  14. Iampeter

    “Free market nationalism” is like saying “free market socialism.”

    This incoherent article in the WSJ is a symptom of why the conservative movement was always destined to be overrun by leftist populists like Trump and his supporters. It also serves as a bit of a white flag.

  15. Iampeter

    They need a moral rationale for the rip-off, which is where woke politics comes in – the white working class are guilty of “white privilege” and must be stripped of that privilege (so no jobs or aff0rdable housing allowed), open borders is a moral necessity, corporations are the arbiters of our private choices and have the right to “cancel” us if we don’t comply, free speech must be banned, and America needs to give up its wealth to foreigners.

    Yea that’s your position too, along with many other Cat posters, so it’s not clear what your issue is.
    In fact, you put it very succinctly when you conceded that your view of politics is about what people can grab at any given time, using whatever justification suits.

    Seems like you’re the one engaging in “ideological noise” here. What’s up with that?

    The only difference between Obama and a Fisky, aside from superficial technicalities, is that Obama is not confused about where he sits politically given his stated positions.

  16. Herodotus

    Iampeater spends a hell of a lot of time here for someone so disenchanted with the commenters. If he’s doing it in order to change minds by superior argument he’s delusional.

  17. Tim Neilson

    Old Tom Parr
    #3304510, posted on January 28, 2020 at 9:48 am

    You have touched the third rail!

    You have asked Iamashiteater how his absolutist bloviations apply to a specific real world issue.

    The response will be either:
    (a) flailing about with more absolutist generalisations that totally fail to answer your question;
    (b) some absolutely idiotic and unrealistic proposal that maintains the absolutist purity of his Ayn Rand dogmatism but would be a disaster in reality; or
    (c ) nothing – he’ll slink off for some comfort masturbation.

  18. max

    Nothing wrong with freedom and free market.

    We do not have that in Australia or anywhere in the world.

    We have more or less regulated freedom and market.

    Free market mean I can buy or sell with out interference of third parties/government.
    Free market would have commodity money.
    Free market would not have central bank.

  19. max

    Tom

    American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends.

    that is happening since 1791 — The first fascist agency in post-Constitution history was the First Bank of the United States.

  20. Tim Neilson

    Tim Neilson
    #3304535, posted on January 28, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Sorry, wrong thread.
    Though I stand by the gist of it.

  21. Tim Neilson

    Or have Tom’s comments been deep sixed? If so, why?
    Why is Iamashiteater allowed to defecate all over this site and someone who calls him out with totally valid questions gets turfed?

  22. Bar Beach Swimmer

    Tom, Fisky and Arky, +1000

  23. Iampeter

    Iampeater spends a hell of a lot of time here for someone so disenchanted with the commenters. If he’s doing it in order to change minds by superior argument he’s delusional.

    I’m disenchanted with political discourse in general. It’s more dead than economics.
    What makes the Cat unique is the sheer volume of clueless leftists, pretending to discuss politics on what is actually meant to be a right wing blog. Leftists so confused that they think they are fighting the left.
    Now that’s delusional.

    Speaking of which…

    Why is Iamashiteater allowed to defecate all over this site and someone who calls him out with totally valid questions gets turfed?

    Making pro-individualism and pro-capitalism arguments on what is meant to be a right-wing blog is not to “defecate all over this site.”

  24. Tim Neilson

    Making pro-individualism and pro-capitalism arguments on what is meant to be a right-wing blog is not to “defecate all over this site.”

    That would be a very good rejoinder if you had ever made an argument.

    But you never have.

    You just strut on, sneer, bask in self-adulation and throw around a few conceited, stupid, ignorant absolutist Ann Rand dogmatisms.

  25. Iampeter

    Um no. I just make pro-individualist and pro-capitalism arguments.

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