Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Andrew Spannaus — Towards a New Trade Policy

International trade deals have lost their consensus support as more workers view them as anathema to good-paying jobs, requiring the U.S. politicians to rethink these strategies, writes Andrew Spannaus...
The goal is not to close borders and restrict trade, but to ensure that trade takes place without undermining the social and living standards of developed countries. Regulations need to be drawn up to certify whether companies, or entire countries, comply with certain standards. Some examples include rules on workplace safety, child labor and pollution, which can be enforced through both tariffs and in some cases outright bans.
Selective targeting of low-quality production will be complex at times, in part due to the existence of global supply chains, which exploit comparative advantages in terms of not only labor costs, but also logistics and infrastructure.
Yet the complexity of these issues is no excuse for ignoring the enforcement of provisions that are essential to protect economic well-being. Politicians and economists constantly make assurances that such standards are integral to the notion of free trade, yet on the list of priorities they seem to be squarely at the bottom.
The current political situation offers an opportunity to chart a new course, not of isolationism, but of setting clear rules for trade between countries aiming for high living standards....

Funny how it is OK to introduce artificial barriers in markets when it benefits capital but not when it benefits labor.

Consortium News
Towards a New Trade Policy
Andrew Spannaus

11 comments:

MRW said...

Funny how it is OK to introduce artificial barriers in markets when it benefits capital but not when it benefits labor. Astute.

MRW said...

I remember Robert Skidelsky (sp?) remarking on a youtube talk that both Keynes and Marx thought that capitalism is necessary to bring us out of the tunnel of necessity into the sunlight of abundance. That, specifically, utopia is after capitalism, not outside capitalism. Where are the thinkers who can devise this Way?

Tom Hickey said...

Where are the thinkers who can devise this Way?

It is a development process. No one devised capitalism.

I suspect that a more integrated world in which the West is no longer dominant will be key to the process.

The problem with capitalism is not actually economic at the core. The problem is a narrow individualism that over-accentuates self-interest, defining "freedom" in terms of self-interest independently of social considerations. As a result, liberalism, of which economic liberalism is an aspect, is in reality merely bourgeois liberalism. Now the bourgeoisie (ownership class) is running the process and running away with it.

This is chiefly Anglo-American thinking, which "the Atlanticists" have sought to impose on the world order as the only correct ideology. This edifice that took 500 years to build in the West is now cracking at the foundation.

This doesn't mean that utopia will arise out of the ashes, but that the system will develop along other lines, keeping the useful and sloughing off the dross, adapting and innovating in ways that cannot be anticipated. Inevitably this process will have to take other traditions into account and integrate disparate points of view.

For example, the West can contribute the personal freedom so dear to liberalism. India can contribute an ancient tradition that emphasizes the unity of existence underlying equality. China can contribute the emphasis on harmony in social relationships.

This would produce a different way of understanding the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity that have so far resulted in the paradoxes of liberalism and the failure of bourgeois liberalism as an integrated social, economic and political approach to individual and social life.

This can happen peacefully or not, gradually or not. If the developmental process is peaceful and gradual, a different type of outcome is likely that if the process is violent and sudden.

The sages have left the deepest mark on humanity's understanding and appreciation of the Way and how to live it. For example, the liberal ideal and how to attain it individually and socially was expressed in summary form in the Tao Te Ching. The Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) and Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi) are the core texts of Taoism dating from about the fifth century BCE and the tradition from which the arose is much more ancient.

It's not like we need new ideas or ideals. We just need to use what we already have better. Probably the place to start is acting like grownups rather than adolescents. Then the rest would just follow.

Interestingly, I was just reading about the development of supercomputers that make running incredibly complex simulations possible. Unfortunately, they are largely being employed for military use now. But they would allow gaming a lot of different contingencies in playing "civilization."

Matt Franko said...

"no one devised capitalism"

Marx devised capitalism what are you talking about????

Capitalism was manifestly devised by Marx...

So now you are saying capitalism doesn't exist?

Matt Franko said...

Better tell David Harvey he has been teaching it for over 40 years...

Tom Hickey said...

Marx devised capitalism what are you talking about????

Capitalism was manifestly devised by Marx...

So now you are saying capitalism doesn't exist?


You are kidding, right?

Tom Hickey said...

Better tell David Harvey he has been teaching it for over 40 years..

There is a big difference between planning and implementing something and describing the outcome later.

No one consciously and intentionally planned what became what we call "capitalism." The historical phenomenon began to develop with Italian finance in the 1500, about contemporaneous with the age of discovery — on one hand, exploration and colonialism and on the other, technological innovation and the harnessing of new sources of energy to do work. The social, political and economic aspects were integrated in terms of the mindset called liberalism. All of these came together along with other factors to emerge as modern economic, political and social liberalism. That economic liberalism dominated the result was bourgeois (ownership-dominated) liberalism.

Matt Franko said...

Nobody was ever talking about capitalism until Marx coined the term and then went on to define/devise it...

Tom Hickey said...

The term capitalist, meaning an owner of capital, appears earlier than the term capitalism. It dates back to the mid-17th century. Capitalist is derived from capital, which evolved from capitale, a late Latin word based on caput, meaning "head" – also the origin of chattel and cattle in the sense of movable property (only much later to refer only to livestock). Capitale emerged in the 12th to 13th centuries in the sense of referring to funds, stock of merchandise, sum of money, or money carrying interest.[22][23][24] By 1283 it was used in the sense of the capital assets of a trading firm. It was frequently interchanged with a number of other words – wealth, money, funds, goods, assets, property, and so on.[25]

The Hollandische Mercurius uses capitalists in 1633 and 1654 to refer to owners of capital.[26] In French, Étienne Clavier referred to capitalistes in 1788,[27] six years before its first recorded English usage by Arthur Young in his work Travels in France (1792).[24][28] David Ricardo, in his Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817), referred to "the capitalist" many times.[29] Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet, used capitalist in his work Table Talk (1823).[30] Pierre-Joseph Proudhon used the term capitalist in his first work, What is Property? (1840), to refer to the owners of capital. Benjamin Disraeli used the term capitalist in his 1845 work Sybil.[24]

The initial usage of the term capitalism in its modern sense has been attributed to Louis Blanc in 1850 ("..what i call 'capitalism' that is to say the appropriation of capital by some to the exclusion of others") and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1861 ("Economic and social regime in which capital, the source of income, does not generally belong to those who make it work through their labour.").[31] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels referred to the capitalistic system.[32][33] and to the capitalist mode of production in Das Kapital (1867).[34] The use of the word "capitalism" in reference to an economic system appears twice in Volume I of Das Kapital, p. 124 (German edition), and in Theories of Surplus Value, tome II, p. 493 (German edition). Marx did not extensively use the form capitalism, but instead those of capitalist and capitalist mode of production, which appear more than 2600 times in the trilogy Das Kapital.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the term capitalism first appeared in English in 1854 in the novel The Newcomes, by novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, where he meant "having ownership of capital".[35] Also according to the OED, Carl Adolph Douai, a German-American socialist and abolitionist, used the phrase private capitalism in 1863.


Wikipedia

Matthew Franko said...

"No one consciously and intentionally planned what became what we call "capitalism."

Well yes I agree with this, but then why do all of the anti-capitalist people keep going all around saying "capitalism-this.... and capitalists-that..."

Its just some sort of academic over formalizing of basic group self-interest...

Why does the academe have to always over-complicate stuff like this...

Tom Hickey said...

Why does the academe have to always over-complicate stuff like this...

Economy of meaning.

Economy works against precision, but greater degrees of precision can be achieved by deconstruction.