Wednesday, November 06, 2002

In response to Radley Balko.
India and China? India didn't allow Pepsi into its market until a couple of years ago. It was India's protectionist policies that bought the economy the time to get up to steam rather than simply be swamped by foreign interests. There was a good piece in the NY Review on China a few weeks ago discussing the same issues. Maybe you should get a subscription. [or perhaps K Friedman amd I should each get ours renewed for free since we're plugging it so much]

Trade between unequal partners is not fair trade. If a country does not have an internal balance, could not function without trade, then controls are necessary. In any crisis, they may be necessary. The Mideast economies run on oil and not much else. Their governments each play the game with only one card in hand. But they own that card. To think that trade in itself will bring the third world out of poverty is absurd, as absurd as arguing that oil wealth leads to democracy. The powerful want materials, not trading partners, and if they can get servants to do the work they'll do that way. More than one American bigshot has commented on how much easier it is to deal with tidy autocracies rather than sloppy republics. Free trade as an ideology is either utopian ideology or criminal hypocrisy. It can not be free trade if you have no choice. You are arguing for economic imperialism and don't have the guts to admit it.
If you want to argue against welfare dependency don't argue that taking away people's independence and putting them in little neighborhoods where they are herded around and told what to do will give them freedom. Social life is concerned with forming and preserving social bonds and community. Your arguments are for the amassing of individual wealth. If you don't understand the conflict between those two ideals, you have no business talking about any of this.

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