2010/07/26 Protectionism

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(I realize this view is controversial. I reserve the right to change my mind if I can manage to see why this way of thinking is wrong, later on. But these are pessimistic times.)

In response to a certain Motley Fool article and the other comments there

samscreek: not only are you right about what's happening for the local jobs, but most companies are outsourcing every job that they can possibly get done outside the country.

I have read the arguments against protectionism, and I think I disagree. As long as the world has poor parts and rich parts, it's not in the best interest of the rich parts to try to "level the playing field" - we will just bring ourselves down to their level. There may not be a surge in hiring of Americans until our wages are competitive with the sum of (wages + outsourcing costs) which those companies have gotten addicted to. (We can be paid more because we work in the company's home office, but only a little.) And the government does nothing at all about that. They are being lobbied hard all the time by those very companies, after all.

We are plenty big enough and have such vast resources and technology and human talent available to us inside this country alone that there is no reason we need to participate in the global economy. Compared to the current malaise, a bit of economic isolation would be like a breath of fresh air. Modern communications technology has made outsourcing too easy, which is why this is more of a pressing problem than it used to be.

We are in a race to the bottom. Statistics make readily apparent the fact that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The middle class is shrinking.

The gov't needs to stop throwing money around and focus on making sure the employment situation is FAIR for American workers. Direct financial meddling is against our principles of freedom, and has too many unintended consequences. Regulating industry, hiring policies, standards of quality, and imports and exports to benefit the people at the expense of conscience-free mechanical corporate entities, seems like the lesser of the evils at this point.

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