Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Unilateral Free Trade


The Only International Economic Policy That a Country Needs: "Mind Your Own Business and Set a Good Example."

The international economic scene is dominated by state interventions at all levels. Daily we read of disputes over exchange-rate manipulation, protectionist tariffs followed by retaliatory tariffs, highly regulated free-trade blocs that erect trade barriers to nonbloc nations, bilateral trade agreements, and more. For instance, Great Britain is a member of the European Union (EU) but not of the European Monetary Union (EMU), meaning that it abides by all the regulations and pays all the assessments to remain a member of the EU in order to trade freely with the other members of the 27-country EU. But it does not use the common currency, the euro, which is used by only 17 of the EU members. British industry chafes at the many seemingly meaningless and bizarre regulations that raise the cost of British goods just so Britain can trade freely within the EU. Some regulations are so onerous that some British manufactures will be put out of business. The pro-EU faction in Britain, such as the leadership of the three main parties — the Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats — recognizes the damage but proposes to lobby for special exemptions on a case-by-case basis. The anti-EU faction, led by the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP), wants Britain out of the EU entirely, arguing that the cost of membership is too great and that the loss of sovereignty is unconstitutional. The same debate can be seen within every EU nation to some degree.

The Apocalyptic Vision of The Road


The Road
What is the "means of production" and what significance does it have to society? How is it created, expanded, or merely sustained? What is the relationship between the prevailing moral order of a society and its accumulation of capital?
These are questions that economists and political philosophers have considered throughout the history of economic thought. If you have ever enquired into the differences between capitalism and socialism you will have heard of the means of production, and you will be aware that this is very important to the organization of society. You might have heard of this, but you might not have spent much thought on the relationship between capital and moral order. Indeed, why should ordinary people care about such things? Isn't the means of production just something that one reads about between bong hits in the dorm rooms at university? Or is it perhaps something that is the domain of accountants and corporate managers, concerned with the proper techniques of double-entry bookkeeping? What is its great significance?

Anarchy in the Aachen


Can a community without a central government avoid descending into chaos and rampant criminality? Can its economy grow and thrive without the intervening regulatory hand of the state? Can its disputes be settled without a monopoly on legal judgments? If the strange and little-known case of the condominum of Moresnet — a wedge of disputed territory in northwestern Europe, and arguably Europe's counterpart to America's so-called Wild West — acts as our guide, we must conclude that statelessness is not only possible but beneficial to progress, carrying profound advantages over coercive bureaucracies.
The remarkable experiment that was Moresenet was an indirect consequence of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), which, like all wars, empowered the governments of participating states at the expense of their populations: nationalism grew more fervent; many nations suspended specie payments indefinitely; and a new crop of destitute amputees appeared in streets all across Europe.

The First Execution for Religion on American Soil


The execution of Mary Dyer, June 1, 1660
The first Quakers to arrive in America came to Boston in July 1656. They were two Englishwomen, Ann Austin and Mary Fisher. Although no law had yet been passed in Massachusetts prohibiting the arrival of Quakers, the two women were immediately imprisoned and searched carefully for "witch-marks." Deputy Governor Richard Bellingham sent officers to the ship, searched the ladies' baggage, seized their stock of Quaker literature, and had it summarily burned. The women were imprisoned for five weeks, during which time no one was allowed to visit or speak to them. No light or writing material was allowed in their cell, and the prisoners were almost starved to death. At the end of this ordeal, they were shipped back to Barbados.
Bellingham denounced the two Quakers as heretics, transgressors with "very dangerous, heretical, and blasphemous opinions" and "corrupt, heretical, and blasphemous doctrines." Bellingham's litmus test for deciding if the ladies were Quakers was brusque indeed; one of them happened to say "thee," whereupon Bellingham declared that "he needed no more; now he knew they were Quakers."

Good Fascists and Bad Fascists


[This article is excerpted from chapter 10 of As We Go Marching (1944).]
First let us state our definition of fascism. It is, put briefly, a system of social organization in which the political state is a dictatorship supported by a political elite and in which the economic society is an autarchic capitalism, enclosed and planned, in which the government assumes responsibility for creating adequate purchasing power through the instrumentality of national debt and in which militarism is adopted as a great economic project for creating work as well as a great romantic project in the service of the imperialist state.
Broken down, it includes these devices:

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