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    05-26-2024, 07:40 AM
    The problem with tariffs is not tariffs; it is the paranoid, avaricious, rotten little human beings who make the conditions that lead some to believe them necessary. Depending on the way one looks at it all, they become necessary under certain conditions. We've discussed this before, but let's do it again via real example. Free market economic theory rests on several pillars, one of which is called "competitive advantage". When an inventor develops a disruptive technology, this is one form of competetive advantage. Another comes with reductions in labor costs. China enjoys a strong competitive advantage in labor costs, which was the primary reason American manufacturing fled our shores to live with the communists. The naive and/or morally bereft consumer assesses this based on shelf prices. "Oh YAY... look at this! I can get a ten trillion BTU air conditioner for only $1.99. But the competent and diligent analyst digs just a mite more deeply, and what does he find? China pays maybe two percent of the American equivalent labor rate. He knows that the large majority of the cost to produce is sunk into labor, which explains to him why Walmart can sell a ten trillion BTU window A/C unit for $1.99. The diligent analyst then asks the question: how are the Chinese able to affect so vast a disparity in labor costs? A little more digging and he finds his answer: effective slave labor. Also, were the people morally and educationally intact, they would be aware of this situation and would refuse to buy anything from China. In that case, Paine's "invisible hand" would be evident in the right ways and the incentive for China would be to stop being a raft of royal pricks. But no, price drives all and so once again the corruption of men sets the conditions of quality of life. It's quite pathological and I would maintain as yet that all evidence points to the wired-in need for humanity to self-correct via mutual destruction, rather than through the intelligent use of the brains God presumably gave everyone, yet most choose to employ as mere hat racks. We remain our own worst enemies, verily and truly. The notion of competitive advantage is tacitly laced with that of "fair play". That which is tantamount to slave labor is not even on the same planet as fair play. Inventing a robot system capable of replacing all human labor in a given sector, while highly disruptive of those immediately affected, is nonetheless an example of a valid advantage which, all else equal, should lead the inventor to vast profits for a time. Forcing people to work under conditions such that when they ask for a five-cent raise per day ends them up in a reeducation camp for ten years, is not valid no matter how twisted-up one's moral outlook may have otherwise become. People do shitty things.
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