Free Trade doesn't work - by Ian Fletcher

Bruno's picture
Submitted by Bruno on Mon, 2020-01-13 18:04

The following is a two hour composite video of interviews and lectures and a debate, explaining why free trade doesn't work

The author, Ian Fletcher, lays out his case extensively in his book, Free Trade Doesn't Work: What Should Replace It And Why


Mr_Lineberry's picture

agree entirely with not trading with Commies and other evil scum, and fully support the President in his desire to chop the Chinese off at the knees for ripping off America for years. I consider it a black day when the NZ/China free trade agreement was signed (and made a personal submission to the Select Committee against the legislation), and do not purchase goods manufactured in that evil nation.

One of the things which assisted the rapid growth of the NZ economy was being part of the old "Imperial Preference" system of trade throughout the British Empire; sort of kept things in the family for decades with cosy, protected, arrangements for farmers, manufacturers, and others. Nice work if you could get it!
The imperial preference system also left us bereft of export markets when Britain joined the EU, and left our economy inefficient and 3rd world-esque and considerably smaller than it otherwise would have been had we been trading with any Tom, Dick, or Harry for a century.

Anybody suggesting NZ circa. 1983 - when we flogged off most of our exports to Britain - was some kind of long lost golden age which got sacrificed on the altar of free trade agreements in recent times, is engaging in lunacy. They clearly weren't around having to actually endure NZ in 1983! haha!

The notion that "free trade doesn't work" is simply.... preposterous.

Morality First!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Free trade is just the expression of the principle that all adult human interaction should be voluntary.

If the whole world subscribed to that principle, there'd be no need to regulate trade.

But the whole world doesn't. Evil Communist China subsidises and tariffs every which way. Contwawy to Bwook, the pwoper wesponse of a fwee countwy, at minimum, is to subsidise and tawiff in weturn. But I would go beyond that and say there should be no twade with China at all. Or Iwan. Or any of those shit-holes.

Let civilised countries trade freely, and may they exclude all UNcivilised countries from their orbit. Banish the United Nations! Let's have an alliance of civilised sovereign states that exist as such because of their recognition of the sovereignty of the individual: America, Israel, Britain (fading fast), New Zealand (fading fast), Australia (fading fast) etc.. We can trade freely amongst ourselves. Let Marxists, Muslims, Fascists, Sorosian Globalists and Obleftivists go to hell!

No one is surprised

Bruno's picture

No one is surprised by your argument, Mr. Lineberry, which has been stated a million times over already and everyone is familiar with.

Both Trump, your avatar, and the Founding Fathers of the USA, disagree with you.

Sell New Zealand to China, nothing bad will happen, right?

Bruno's picture

"It's worth reviewing, one more tedious time, the inescapable basic logic underlying trade deficits, which makes clear why they can't not matter:

Step 1) Nations engage in trade. Americans sell people in other nations goods and buy goods in return. ("Goods" in this context means not just physical objects but also services.)

Step 2) One cannot get goods for free. So when Americans get goods from foreigners, we have to give them something in return. (These things are represented by tickets called "dollars," but it's ultimately the things we trade.)

Step 3) There are only three things we can give in return:

a) Goods we produce today.
b) Goods we produced yesterday.
c) Goods we will produce tomorrow.

This list is exhaustive. If a fourth alternative exists, then we must be trading with Santa Claus, because we are getting goods for nothing.

Here's what a) - c) above mean concretely:

a) is when we sell foreigners jet airplanes.
b) is when we sell foreigners office buildings in the U.S.
c) is when we go into debt to foreigners.

b) and c) happen when America runs a trade deficit. Because we are not covering the value of our imports with a) the value of our exports, we must make up the difference by either b) selling assets or c) assuming debt.

If either is happening, America is either gradually being sold off to foreigners or gradually sinking into debt to them. Xenophobia is not necessary for this to be a bad thing, only bookkeeping: Americans are poorer simply because we own less and owe more.



Mr_Lineberry's picture

dear - the old chestnut of a "trade deficit" at 20mins 2 secs; will the ignorance surrounding that term ever end?

I have a "trade deficit" with, in no particular order:

1. New World
2. BP
3. Genesis
4. My cleaning lady
5. My favourite restaurant
6. Whitcoulls
7. The butcher
8. The baker
9. The plumber
10. The lawnmowing chappie
11. My tailor
12. My dentist
13. My doctor/s
14. Spark
15. My pool cleaner (yes, we have a pool and no you can't use it)
16. The nanny agency
17. Holden
18. Harvey Norman
19. International art centre
20. House of Travel

In some cases, New World, for instance, that 'trade deficit' is enormous - at nightmare proportions according to the rhetoric - yet somehow I not only manage to survive but am what 99% of the population would term wealthy. Unless you want to tap me up for a loan or something (then I always claim to have lost vast sums on cattle futures).

The fact is that I have a trade deficit with everybody except those businesses who are customers of mine (and all of them are in Sydney). In case anybody is hard of hearing let me repeat that; I have a 'trade deficit' with EVERYBODY - except my business customers.

It may also surprise Mr Fletcher to learn that when Britain dominated World trade in the 1880s; accounted for about 23% of World trade, they ran massive trade deficits actually larger in real terms than America has done in recent years (those rich Victorians didn't care who made the products they bought and consumed). The biggest load of old rubbish ever invented has been all the hand-wringing about trade deficits somehow being a bad thing. This is always done by people who simply have no idea what they are talking about.

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