Archive for the ‘NAFTA’ Category
69 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have sent Barack Obama a letter expressing their concern that a new international treaty currently being negotiated would essentially ban all “Buy American” laws. This new treaty is known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and it is going to be one of the biggest “free trade” agreements in history. Critics are referring to it as the “NAFTA of the Pacific“, and it would likely cost the U.S. economy even more jobs than NAFTA did. At the moment, the Trans-Pacific Partnership includes Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. Barack Obama is pushing hard to get the United States into the TPP, and Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, Canada, Japan and South Korea are also reportedly interested in joining. But quite a few members of Congress have heard that “Buy American” laws will essentially be banned under this agreement, and this has many of them very concerned. You can read the entire letter that was sent to Obama right here. Unfortunately, the leaders of both major political parties are overwhelmingly in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, so the objections of these 69 members of Congress are likely to fall on deaf ears. The Trans-Pacific Partnership will accelerate the flow of American jobs out of this country, and meanwhile our politicians will continue to insist that they are doing everything that they can to “create jobs”.
There is not much protecting American jobs these days. The “Buy American” laws are one of the last remaining barriers that helps protect against much, much cheaper foreign labor, but now “Buy American” laws are in danger of being banned permanently as a recent article in the Huffington Post explained….
Since the 1930s, the American government has offered preferential treatment to American producers in the awarding of federal contracts. If a domestic producer offers the government a more expensive bid than a foreign producer, it can still be awarded the contract under certain circumstances, but more recent free trade agreements have granted other nations the same negotiating status as domestic firms. The Obama administration is currently pushing to grant the several nations involved in the Trans-Pacific deal the same privileged status, according to the Thursday letter.
The big problem is that foreign companies often have huge advantages over firms based in America.
In the United States, we have minimum-wage laws. On the other side of the globe, it is legal to pay workers less than a dollar an hour with no benefits.
In the United States, we have thousands upon thousands of laws and regulations that businesses must comply with. On the other side of the globe, there is often very little red tape.
The truth is that “free trade” is a really bad deal for the average American worker. In the emerging one world economic system, labor has become a global commodity and U.S. workers must now compete for jobs with people on the other side of the planet.
Since U.S. workers are often 10 to 20 times more expensive than workers on the other side of the world, there has been a massive outflow of jobs from this country. Treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership will accelerate those job losses.
You would think that our politicians would notice that our formerly great manufacturing cities are turning into hellholes.
For example, the following is how James Kunstler described what he saw when he traveled through Gary, Indiana recently….
Between the ghostly remnants of factories stood a score of small cities and neighborhoods where the immigrants settled five generations ago. A lot of it was foreclosed and shuttered. They were places of such stunning, relentless dreariness that you felt depressed just imagining how depressed the remaining denizens of these endless blocks of run-down shoebox houses must feel. Judging from the frequency of taquerias in the 1950s-vintage strip-malls, one inferred that the old Eastern European population had been lately supplanted by a new wave of Mexicans. They had inherited an infrastructure for daily life that was utterly devoid of conscious artistry when it was new, and now had the special patina of supernatural rot over it that only comes from materials not found in nature disintegrating in surprising and unexpected ways, sometimes even sublimely, like the sheen of an oil slick on water at a certain angle to the sun. There was a Chernobyl-like grandeur to it, as of the longed-for end of something enormous that hadn’t worked out well.
The economic guts of this country are being ripped to shreds right in front of our eyes.
Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been shut down since 2001.
That number is so crazy that it is hard to fully grasp.
The truth is that the “free trade” agenda of globalists such as Barack Obama is absolutely devastating our economy.
There are hundreds of statistics which prove this. I don’t have space in this article to reproduce them all, but if you are interested in examining many of them I recommend checking out the following articles….
When you combine a market that has expensive labor with markets that have ultra-cheap labor, it is inevitable that large numbers of jobs will migrate to the areas that have the ultra-cheap labor.
This isn’t rocket science.
That is why “Buy American” laws are such a good thing. They help to protect American jobs.
But even if you do not work in an industry where large numbers of jobs are being sent out of the country, the loss of jobs still affects you. The millions of Americans that are being displaced from jobs that have been sent overseas end up applying for other kinds of jobs. So they become your competition. This increases the demand for the jobs that remain and it keeps wages down.
As I wrote about the other day, 95 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were middle class jobs. Many of those jobs have been replaced by low income jobs, but you can’t support a family on a low income job.
The Obama administration tells us that the unemployment rate is going down, but the truth is that there are now almost 101 million working age Americans that do not have jobs.
Instead of looking at the “unemployment rate” which is manipulated so much, what I prefer to do is to look at the “employment rate“. And sadly, the percentage of Americans with a job has been steadily declining. The following are the percentages of working age Americans with a job during April during the past six years….
April 2007: 63.0%
April 2008: 62.7%
April 2009: 59.8%
April 2010: 58.7%
April 2011: 58.4%
April 2012: 58.4%
Some Americans have decided to escape the lousy job market by going back to school. Others have decided to retire early. Yet others have decided to become full-time dependents of the government, and a shocking number have decided to try to get on to the Social Security disability rolls.
But most Americans that are unemployed just want to get back to work. Many suffer in complete anonymity and many never take a single penny from the government. They just want someone to hire them so that they can put in an honest day of work for an honest day of pay once again.
Even if you still have a good job, it could be gone tomorrow. This point was underscored by a comment that a reader identified as “DaytoDay” left on a recent article….
Well, I can relate to this, I just lost my job Tuesday. I worked for Uhaul and on the DAY that I became eligible for my benefits and 401k they canned me, exactly 90 days.
So, it’s just another reminder that those who work for corporations are nothing more than numbers. It’s sad reality, they don’t care if you have a family to feed, they don’t care about your bills, and they damn sure don’t care about quality…
I was notified while working, and was instantly let go, up until that point, there had been no warnings, no emails, no conferences, nothing… They simply fired me to avoid paying the benefits and 401k that was would have been entitled to.
And to think, this is the reward for being a good hard worker?
Other Americans are not able to find any work at all. This is especially true for young Americans. Millions upon millions of hard working Americans are graduating from college only to find that the “real world” can be very cruel.
For example, just check out the comment that a reader named “Simon” left on one of my recent articles….
I graduated from a top university just after the Collapse of 2008 (Class of ’09). I had already seen the number of customers at my college job go way down in that year. Got my four-year degree, had good grades, good work record. Now I live in south FL and I can’t even get a job in fast food, there is so much competition for minimum-wage jobs. No one wants to hire me to wait tables or bag groceries because I have a prestigious degree. The only thing I got out of college was 10 grand in debt, which is actually quite small (I came from a poor family, so I got a lot of free tuition to bribe me to be part of the university indoctrination). Good thing I defaulted on my loans a year or two ago or I would be in worse trouble. I just throw out all their threatening letters and never answer their calls- my friend told me it would work, and it did. Of course I’m no longer a “good citizen”- I don’t earn money, don’t pay taxes, don’t have health insurance, my credit is horrible, I’ll never buy a home or a new car—but who cares?
Millions of other Americans that have lost their jobs have been forced to take whatever they can get. A reader identified as “Gary2″ recently left a comment on one of my articles describing what his family has been through….
Check this out—I had 12 years as a good worker (regional manager level position) several promotions-steller reviews-which I kept copies of BTW) regular good pay increases heck I even saved a persons life, got a big award plack for it, pictures with everyone etc and 4 months later was downsized–no warning no thanks for helping them pass many JACHO inspections (I was a regional manager for a hospital chain) nothing. Just that we decided to outsource your entire department and that you are no longer needed.
So now I get to be grossly underemployed making 1/2 of what I used to make with NO benefits. My wife is no longer a stay at home raise the kids mom and is also working. Together we still make less than I did on my own. This sucks.
As millions upon millions of Americans suffer deeply month after month, it is creating a volcano of anger and frustration that could absolutely devastate our society at some point. A reader identified as “Cinderella Man” left the following comment on a recent article….
If anyone thinks that almost 50 million Americans on food stamps is a sign of recovery and pardon my language but you have **** for brains. The other day I went shopping and I spent $170 on my ten bags of food and I watched a man and his daughter ring up ten packs of cheap balogna he meekly asked the clerk if those were the 10 for 10 deal and she said yes. Then the Dad said to the daughter “I hope you like it were going to be eating it till we bust!” This is what our world has come to. A man is feeding his kid trying to stretch their meager food stamp budget by eating balogna for several meals. I couldnt help but think of the movie of my namesake Cinderella Man with Russell Crowe when his wife was frying balogna for every meal back during the first Great Depression. Ive seen it all in these past 4 years. From beautiful women in souplines and ****** hotels to living in my car and watching inflation destroy all of our lives. We are all 9 meals from anarchy.
Sadly, thousands upon thousands more good jobs are being lost each and every month.
But our politicians continue to integrate us even more deeply into the emerging one world economic system. Huge numbers of jobs will continue to leave this nation and the standard of living for most American workers will continue to decline.
So have any of you ever had your job shipped out of the country? Feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….
Giant Sucking Sound Part 2? The NAFTA Of The Pacific Will Soon Allow Millions More American Jobs To Be Shipped Overseas
The United States is negotiating one of the biggest free trade agreements in history and there is barely a peep about it on the news. Years ago, Ross Perot warned that if NAFTA was implemented there would be a “giant sucking sound” as millions of jobs left this country. It turns out that he was right. Starting on Tuesday, the next round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (also known as the “NAFTA of the Pacific”) will begin in Chicago. We have already seen the Obama administration push hard for free trade agreements with Panama, South Korea and Colombia and the administration is making the Trans-Pacific Partnership a very high priority. Membership in the “NAFTA of the Pacific” already includes Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. The United States, Australia, Peru, Malaysia and Vietnam are scheduled to join. Canada, Japan and South Korea are also reportedly considering membership. So once this “free trade” agreement is ratified, will we hear another “giant sucking sound” as millions more of our jobs are shipped overseas?
Look, it is not really that complicated. If you are a giant U.S. corporation, you can either make stuff here, or you can make stuff overseas where it is far, far less expensive to do so.
To greedy corporate executives, there are a lot of advantages to moving operations out of the country….
*It is legal to pay slave labor wages in many of these other countries. After all, why pay an American worker 10 or 20 times as much as a worker on the other side of the globe?
*In many of these other countries you do not have to provide any health care for workers.
*In many of these other countries there are virtually no environmental controls to worry about.
*In many of these other countries there are virtually no labor standards to worry about.
*In many of these other countries you only have to deal with a fraction of the “red tape” that you have to deal with in the United States.
By merging our economies with the economies of societies that are far different from our own, we have created a “race to the bottom” that is incredibly destructive to the U.S. economy.
In Vietnam, one dollar an hour is considered to be a very good wage.
So how do you plan to compete against that?
These “free trade agreements” are direct assaults on the big, juicy paychecks of American workers.
If you do not know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, you need to get educated.
The following is a basic introduction to the TPP from Wikipedia….
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), also known as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, is a multilateral free trade agreement that aims to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region; specifically, Article 1.1.3 notes: “The Parties seek to support the wider liberalisation process in APEC consistent with its goals of free and open trade and investment.” The original agreement between the countries of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore was signed on June 3, 2005, and entered into force on May 28, 2006. Five additional countries – Australia, Malaysia, Peru, United States, and Vietnam – are negotiating to join the group.
Apparently, one of the goals of the TPP is to reduce all trade tariffs among member nations to zero by the year 2015. The proponents of “free trade” are absolutely thrilled.
We have all enjoyed the flood of cheap products from overseas. It is nice to pay a little bit less for things.
But these cheap prices have come at a very high cost. We are literally destroying the American economy. If you walk into just about any store today and you start turning over products, you will find that almost all of them are made out of the country.
If our middle class jobs keep getting shipped overseas, our prosperity is going to vanish. If the American people allow this to continue, the standard of living of American workers is going to continue to fall toward the level of workers in third world countries.
Arthur Stamoulis, the executive director of Citizen Trade Campaign recently had the following to say about why he is opposed to this new free trade agreement….
“They’ve shipped our jobs overseas. They’ve reduced the tax base, they’ve driven down the wages and benefits for the jobs that are left. We’ve had enough”
As you can see from the chart below, we have seen a massive decline in manufacturing jobs in the United States over the last few decades….
It is absolutely amazing that the Obama administration continues to tout more “free trade” agreements as a way to increase employment in the United States.
Sadly, nearly half the country is still going to run out and vote for the guy in the next election.
Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.
So the answer is to ship even more of our jobs overseas?
Apparently the Obama administration actually believes that we don’t want those jobs. The following is what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post recently….
Let’s increase our competitiveness… the reality is about half of our imports, our trade deficit is because of how much oil [we import], so you take that out of the equation, you look at what percentage of it are things that frankly, we don’t want to make in America, you know, cheaper products, low-skill jobs that frankly college kids that are graduating from, you know, UC Cal and Hastings [don't want], but what we do want is to capture those next generation jobs and build on our investments in our young people, our education infrastructure.
Can you believe that nonsense? He believes that there are things that “we don’t want to make in America”?
Why is nobody calling for him to resign immediately?
Manufacturing jobs have traditionally been high paying jobs that can support middle class families.
But now we are losing millions of those jobs and the Obama administration simply does not care.
Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.
America is being deindustrialized at warp speed and most Americans don’t even understand what is happening.
Look, even if U.S. firms wanted to stay in the United States and try to compete, they face almost insurmountable obstacles….
*Many foreign nations deeply and directly subsidize national industries and the U.S. government lets them get away with it. That puts our industries at a vast disadvantage.
*The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. That puts our corporations at a vast disadvantage.
*Many foreign nations do not require businesses to provide health care for their employees. That puts our businesses at a vast disadvantage.
*Many foreign nations impose very little regulation on businesses. That puts businesses in the United States at a vast disadvantage. In the U.S., we have some of the most restrictive regulations in the world.
The truth is that even the “next generation jobs” and the “green jobs” that Obama keeps talking about are rapidly leaving the country.
For example, the third-largest producer of solar panels in the United States, Evergreen Solar, is leaving America.
Evergreen is shutting down its factory in Massachusetts, laying off 800 American workers and moving production over to China.
A recent New York Times article explained why Evergreen is making this move….
Evergreen, in announcing its move to China, was unusually candid about its motives. Michael El-Hillow, the chief executive, said in a statement that his company had decided to close the Massachusetts factory in response to plunging prices for solar panels. World prices have fallen as much as two-thirds in the last three years — including a drop of 10 percent during last year’s fourth quarter alone.
Chinese manufacturers, Mr. El-Hillow said in the statement, have been able to push prices down sharply because they receive considerable help from the Chinese government and state-owned banks, and because manufacturing costs are generally lower in China.
We are losing the “jobs of the future” and Obama is doing nothing about it.
Last year, more than half of all the solar panels in the world were made in China.
China is absolutely killing us on the global economic stage and Obama does not even seem to think that it is a problem.
The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.
Not only that, the United States now spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.
So don’t listen to any of the nonsense that Obama is spouting about creating jobs.
Not that most of the Republicans are putting forward any good ideas either.
The reality is that our politicians have lied to us. Globalism is absolutely destroying our economy.
Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe? Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.
We are losing ground in almost every industry that you could name. Even the “jobs of tomorrow” are mostly being created overseas.
Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, says that our advanced technology companies are creating far more jobs overseas than they are in the United States….
Some 250,000 Foxconn employees in southern China produce Apple’s products. Apple, meanwhile, has about 25,000 employees in the U.S. That means for every Apple worker in the U.S. there are 10 people in China working on iMacs, iPods, and iPhones. The same roughly 10-to-1 relationship holds for Dell, disk-drive maker Seagate Technology (STX), and other U.S. tech companies.
When is someone going to wake up America? If we are even losing “advanced technology” jobs, then what kind of jobs are going to be left?
In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world. In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.
Needless to say, that is not a good trend.
Our politicians promised us that the “global economy” would mean more jobs and more prosperity for us.
Well, that was obviously a giant lie.
Today, if you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would make up the 68th largest country in the world.
If we allow all of this “free trade” nonsense to continue, our unemployment nightmare is going to continue to get worse and even more of our formerly great cities will end up looking like total hellholes just like Detroit does.
Sadly, virtually all of our politicians in both political parties are in favor of these “free trade” agreements. In fact, most of them are pushing these kinds of agreements as one of the “solutions” to our problems.
The U.S. economy is being dismantled and deindustrialized right in front of your eyes.
If you plan on speaking out, you better do it now because it is almost too late to stop what is being done.
It is up to you America.
Perot is famous (among other things) for his statement during the 1992 presidential campaign that if NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was not a two way street would create a “giant sucking sound” of jobs going south to the cheap labor markets of Mexico.
Both of Perot’s opponents (George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton) argued that NAFTA would create jobs in the U.S. because of business expansion.
However, the goods balance of trade for the U.S. with Mexico has been negative and steadily growing over the years. In 2010 it amounted to $61.6 billion, which was 9.5% of the total goods trade deficit last year.
So Perot has been vindicated in his opinion; expanded free trade has not been accompanied by an increase in jobs in the U.S. relative to the vast numbers of jobs created in the rest of the world as NAFTA became just a stepping stone on the pathway to global commerce.
Just how much the giant vacuum has been collecting has been calculated at GEI Analysis. The results are shown in the following two graphs. The first shows manufacturing jobs lost each year starting with 1992 that are equivalent to the U.S. goods trade deficits over the past 19 years. The second shows the cumulative job loss, amounting to almost 29 million jobs by the end of 2010.
The full analysis and data details are available at GEI Analysis.
The title is a reference to the culturally significant film, Dr. Strangelove, a satire on the fear of nuclear war that was so integral to the post war generation in the US.
If one reads this carefully, the BIS is really referencing a devaluation of about 22% which is hardly ‘a collapse.’ Here are some examples of post WW II currency collapses.
It depends on the timeframe, specifically the rate and extent with which the devaluation occurs. Also, it matters about what the devaluation has been against. Is it a relationship primarily to a reference point like the US dollar, largely affecting a narrow band of imports, or is it a true and general devaluation marked by soaring prices and monetary inflation domestically.
As I recall, China devalued the yuan by about 33% in the 1990′s, and then pegged to the dollar, while ‘persuading’ first Bill Clinton (remember the Chinese campaign contributions scandal) and then George W. (whose family has a long history of supporting tyrannies for personal economic preferences) to allow them to maintain favored nation status, with the dispensation of 44% import tariffs, even while maintaining an artificially devalued currency, under full currency controls, and that fixed in a peg to the dollar.
“I am moving, therefore, to de-link human rights from the annual extension of Most Favored Nation trading status for China.” –President Bill Clinton, announcing MFN status for China, White House, 5-26-94.
1994, Jan. 1 – China unifies its dual exchange rates by bringing the official and swap centre rates into line, officially devaluing the yuan by 33 percent overnight to 8.7 to the dollar as part of reforms to embrace a “socialist market economy”.
As you may recall, in 1994 Bill Clinton also pushed through the NAFTA agreement which, in his words, would ‘level the playing field’ for American, Canadian, and Mexican workers. Only a few really understood the inherent danger in leveling the field without a thorough integration. The current Greek dilemma is a good example of a halfway done scheme in which monetary policy does not match up well with fiscal policy and national temperament.
When one uses globalization of trade to ‘knock down barriers,’ among the barriers that are placed at risk are things like the Constitutional safeguards which a free people enjoy in their own domestic method of organization, such as healthcare, the right to organize, freedom from indentured servitude, child labor, individual rights, and so forth.
These are the very barriers against the tyranny and despotism of the few on which the country was founded in a dramatically historical rebellion of the common people against the injustice of autocrats and empires. This was the rationale for the great Wars. Well, the one world government types play the long game, and if at first you do not succeed…
So yes, in this case China was able to export their structural employment problems largely to the US, which gutted its manufacturing sector primarily for the benefit of the Banks, who were able to cash in on the ‘strong dollar’ and the decline of government protection for its citizens from criminal control fraud.
Personally I think that high tariffs on Chinese goods would work much better for the US than a general currency devaluation per se given its position as a net importer, The downside would be that in the short term there would be less of a market for the export driven debts incurred by supporting the development of a non-democratic country engaged in blatant currency manipulation and mercantilism.
But do not fear, enough palms have been crossed so that one would never expect a simple solution to occur. Political and financial fraud dwells in the realms of artificial complexity. And the competitive but managed devaluations of currencies will serve to transfer more wealth from the many to the few quite well, a sort of hidden tax on the mob, while the wealthy continue to benefit.
But then again, the BIS may just be priming us for a crisis to come, which is consistent with the steady but quiet migration into gold by the wealthy, despite the propaganda they might put out for the masses to hear. As Pliny the Elder observed, “Ruinis inminentibus musculi praemigrant:” When collapse is imminent, the little rodents flee.
As an aside, here is a fairly good example of a man’s thinking. Notice how Keynes changed his views of globalization from the euphoria of the British empire expressed the famous passage in “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” in 1920 which sounds like an Ode to the British Empire:
“What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man that age was which came to an end in August, 1914! The greater part of the population, it is true, worked hard and lived at a low standard of comfort, yet were, to all appearances, reasonably contented with this lot. But escape was possible, for any man of capacity or character at all exceeding the average, into the middle and upper classes, for whom life offered, at a low cost and with the least trouble, conveniences, comforts, and amenities beyond the compass of the richest and most powerful monarchs of other ages. The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, in such quantity as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep; he could at the same moment and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world, and share, without exertion or even trouble, in their prospective fruits and advantages; or he could decide to couple the security of his fortunes with the good faith of the townspeople of any substantial municipality in any continent that fancy or information might recommend. He could secure forthwith, if he wished it, cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate without passport or other formality, could despatch his servant to the neighboring office of a bank for such supply of the precious metals as might seem convenient, and could then proceed abroad to foreign quarters, without knowledge of their religion, language, or customs, bearing coined wealth upon his person, and would consider himself greatly aggrieved and much surprised at the least interference. But, most important of all, he regarded this state of affairs as normal, certain, and permanent, except in the direction of further improvement, and any deviation from it as aberrant, scandalous, and avoidable. The projects and politics of militarism and imperialism, of racial and cultural rivalries, of monopolies, restrictions, and exclusion, which were to play the serpent to this paradise, were little more than the amusements of his daily newspaper, and appeared to exercise almost no influence at all on the ordinary course of social and economic life, the internationalization of which was nearly complete in practice.”
After a period of years we can see his shift in thinking, albeit reluctantly and with many caveats, towards practical National Self-sufficiency in 1933.
“I was brought up, like most Englishmen, to respect free trade not only as an economic doctrine which a rational and instructed person could not doubt, but almost as a part of the moral law. I regarded ordinary departures from it as being at the same time an imbecility and an outrage. I thought England’s unshakable free trade convictions, maintained for nearly a hundred years, to be both the explanation before man and the justification before Heaven of her economic supremacy. As lately as 1923 I was writing that free trade was based on fundamental “truths” which, stated with their due qualifications, no one can dispute who is capable of understanding the meaning of the words…It is a long business to shuffle out of the mental habits of the prewar nineteenth-century world. It is astonishing what a bundle of obsolete habiliments one’s mind drags round even after the centre of consciousness has been shifted. But to-day at last, one-third of the way through the twentieth century, we are most of us escaping from the nineteenth; and by the time we reach its mid point, it may be that our habits of mind and what we care about will be as different from nineteenth-century methods and values as each other century’s has been from its predecessor’s…For these strong reasons, therefore, I am inclined to the belief that, after the transition is accomplished, a greater measure of national self-sufficiency and economic isolation among countries than existed in 1914 may tend to serve the cause of peace, rather than otherwise. At any rate, the age of economic internationalism was not particularly successful in avoiding war; and if its friends retort, that the imperfection of its success never gave it a fair chance, it is reasonable to point out that a greater success is scarcely probable in the coming years…I sympathize, therefore, with those who would minimize, rather than with those who would maximize, economic entanglement among nations. Ideas, knowledge, science, hospitality, travel–these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible, and, above all, let finance be primarily national. Yet, at the same time, those who seek to disembarrass a country of its entanglements should be very slow and wary. It should not be a matter of tearing up roots but of slowly training a plant to grow in a different direction.”
I wonder if he lived today Keyens would agree that globalization leads inevitably towards restraints among nations, and a bias towards one world government. I think he would, and he would not be favorable towards it. Make no mistake, some view this favorably as the final solution to managing the unruly masses, and preventing the wastefulness of war and sub-optimization of individual choice by those who they consider and portray as unfit to rule themselves. The shift in Keynes thought is unmistakable, and I admire the self-knowledge he portrays in analyzing, examining, and understanding his own prejudices. It takes a great mind to rise above oneself and their own age.
Quite frankly I do not expect the Fed and Treasury to ever let go willingly of the reins of the economy, or reign if you will, through its aggressive financial engineering in partnership with the Banks. A return to normal will not be achieved without a significant amount of effort, conflict and most likely, pain. It appears to be unavoidable. The customary price of freedom will be paid, as always.
Currency Collapse May Stimulate Economic Expansion, BIS Says
By Matthew Brown
June 14 (Bloomberg) — Currency collapses tend to spur a resumption of economic growth rather than fueling a decline in gross domestic product, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
Currency collapses are associated with permanent output losses of about 6 percent of GDP, on average, though the drop tends to appear beforehand, the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS said in its quarterly review yesterday.
“This suggests that it may not be the currency collapse that reduces output, but rather the factors that led to the depreciation,” Camilo E. Tovar wrote in the study. “To gain a full understanding of the implications of currency collapses on economic activity it is important to carefully examine the full circle of events surrounding the episode.” (How about the utter destruction of savings and the impoverishment of millions? That has a dampening effect as I recall from the stories that my grandparents told. – Jesse)
The positive effects of a weaker currency on GDP, including making local products cheaper than imported goods, may outweigh the negative ones, such as rising inflation. Currency collapses occur when the annual exchange rate drops by about 22 percent, according to the BIS, which identified 79 such episodes, “more commonly in Africa than in Asia or Latin America,” since 1960, Tovar said.
“They also occurred under all types of currency regimes, except possible floating-exchange-rate regimes, where there are simply too few observations to obtain meaningful estimates,” the BIS said.
The euro tumbled about 20 percent against the dollar between Nov. 25, 2009, and last week as investor concern over record budget deficits in countries including Greece spurred speculation the 16-nation currency union may split. The European Union in May crafted a 750 billion-euro ($908 billion) rescue package to stem the crisis.
Greece’s economy will contract 3.9 percent this year and 1.2 percent in 2011, after shrinking 2 percent in 2009, according to the median of eight economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The euro-region will expand by 1.1 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2011, after falling 4.1 percent last year, median forecasts show.
Hans-Werner Sinn, president of Germany’s Ifo economic institute, said on June 3 that it would be best for Greece to leave the euro instead of implementing an austerity program to reduce its deficit. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou pledged budget cuts worth almost 14 percent of GDP to bring the deficit within the EU limit of 3 percent by the end of 2014.
“The real solution for Greece would be to leave the euro followed by a depreciation” of the new currency, Sinn said in an interview at a conference in Interlaken, Switzerland.
Growth May ‘Dominate’
European Central Bank Executive Board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi said on May 28 that there are “no alternatives” for Greece beyond following the austerity program.
“Before drawing policy conclusions we should emphasise that these results are subject to a number of caveats,” the BIS said in the report. “Most importantly, the analysis does not address the reasons why currency collapses occur in the first place. Our analysis also has little to say about the mechanisms involved after the currency collapse takes place. While we cannot disentangle the various factors, our results do suggest that expansionary mechanisms tend to dominate.”