June 3, 2017

Nationalist environmentalism

There's a lot to discuss about Trump withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

First, the timing and context was his return from the False Song of Globalism Tour that he was forced into by the Pentagon to reassure the globalist elites of "US commitment to world leadership" etc., after promising and initially trying to withdraw America from foreign intrigue that has minimal upside and infinite downside, before the Pentagon boarding party hijacked immigration and foreign policy in April.

Coming back to American soil, speaking to the American people rather than its multicultural elites, and posing a basic clash between American and globalist goals, served to reinvigorate the nationalist spirit after getting sapped by partying with jihadists in Saudi Arabia, and not getting to tell NATO how obsolete they are.

At the same time, this open rejection of globalism shows the limits within which nationalism can proceed -- only when there is a fundamentally economic angle to the tension between the core nation and the empire. Trump's only leverage, as an unconnected hostile outsider in DC, is the size of his supporter base that he can mobilize, and in particular the Rust Belt voters who he is uniquely able to deliver on election day, and win rather than lose the White House for Republicans.

The main power group controlling the GOP is the Pentagon (Wall Street controls the Democrats), and they are globalists intent on propping up the bloated and flaccid empire, rather than making the American core nation great again. Where the global commitments are not economic in nature, such as the military alliances with jihadists in the Middle East, Trump has no leverage to push back against the Pentagon.

But if it comes down to protecting American workers, such as exiting the Paris climate accord, then the Pentagon has to yield to him -- otherwise the GOP will never win the executive branch ever again, and the Pentagon will be left out in the cold like they were under Clinton and Obama, compared to Reagan and the two Bushes.

This is why the Establishment had to yield to Trump on exiting the TPP, re-negotiating NAFTA, and potentially on work-related visas that would bring in more immigrants. But on foreign policy and immigration in general, the economic factor is less straightforward and not so keenly felt in the Rust Belt, so the Pentagon junta (Generals Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly) can block Trump's nationalist ambitions without worrying too much about losing the White House.

It's odd to see our expectations inverted in this way: we thought we were going to get nationalism for sure, and populism maybe. Now it's clear that we're only getting concessions where those two domains intersect, namely economic nationalism. (Broad populism would include a new Glass-Steagall, blocked by Wall Streeter Sec Treasury Mnuchin, or single-payer healthcare, blocked by the GOP Establishment in Congress, who are bought off by Big Pharma. Broad nationalism would include only alliances with high upside and minimal downside, and strong borders and deportation squads.)

As an aside, you might be wondering if the Pentagon even cares about airy-fairy crap like climate change deals. Mike Cernovich tweeted that the NSC Advisor and Pentagon boarding party member General McMaster was furious at Trump about leaving the accord, and was trash-talking him at the Bilderberg conference where he was mingling with other high-ranking globalists (such as General Petraeus and former CIA Director Brennan).


Staying or leaving the deal has no direct effect on military policy, but that may mean that McMaster's concern was with an over-arching aim of maintaining globalist alliances in general and keeping other world leaders happy. If the Pentagon wants compliant clients around the world, without using military force, they will have to go along with other concessions like supporting a climate change deal that they'd otherwise have no interest in, and whose costs will not be borne by them anyway.

As for the role of environmentalism in the new nationalist-populist age, notice what Trump's speech did not say -- anything that played into the liberal vs. conservative culture wars, which are dead in this new era of materialist focus, on both the Bernie Left and the Trump Right. That's how Trump handled the issue before -- during a blizzard, snarking about how "It sure would be nice to have some of that global warming that they all assure us is happening," and expressing disbelief that the aerosols from his hairspray could leave his apartment and enter the atmosphere. In his speech, he avoided using climate change as a way to troll liberals.

At the same time, he did not just adopt the "white guilt" liberal framing on climate change -- calling for Americans to atone for their sins, and cleanse the pollution they have caused to Mother Earth, etc. Trump came right out and said that the Third World is the problem, which it is. Everyone knows what a festering polluted shithole India is, and how the Chinese cheat at everything and adulterate anything in the pursuit of cost-cutting. With well over 1 billion people apiece, and both having reached industrial status, those two ought to be the main targets in limiting pollution and protecting against global warming.

He could have put further blame on the Third World for clearing out the rainforests, which could have absorbed some of the carbon dioxide. People in tropical climates make a living by horticulture, or small-scale gardening, rather than large-scale intensive agriculture. The environment is so fertile that you just plant a tuber at a shallow depth, and the next day it's sprung up and ready to eat. Since there's so much fertile soil in all directions, there is no incentive to care for and steward a limited garden plot -- when you've torn up one area, you just move on to another. In the tropics, that requires you to "slash and burn" a new area from the forests.

People who are adapted to annual harvesting of crops are better at stewarding an area to make sure it doesn't get over-exploited too soon, or there will be no crops at all next year. Ditto for transhumance pastoralists, who drive their flocks along routes from valleys in the winter to hills and mountains in the summer. If they allow over-grazing of these common spaces, then nobody's flocks will feed next season. Northwestern Europe has relied on a mix of harvesting crops and herding livestock, making them uniquely environmentally conscious and most capable of stewarding the planet. And of course, where did the environmental movement come from? Not China, not India, not tropical climates.

If we're looking for global partners to further the protection of the environment, it should be seasonally mobile herders -- or sedentary people who are descended from them -- who are predominantly from the hilly and mountainous regions of the Middle East. The friendliest country toward us now is Lebanon, although Iran is far larger and more powerful.

Nomadic pastoralists from the desert are a different thing: their environment is so barren that they have the incentive to exploit any scrap they find, and to move around in all directions, like tropical horticulturalists. Nomadic pastoralists of the Steppe are similar for the opposite reason: grasslands are so abundant all around, that they cannot be easily over-grazed.

Only where the environment is intermediate in fertility will the people's actions make much of a difference on its future fertility, and therefore only people adapted to such environments will have a stewardship mindset. No matter what tropical people do, it'll stay fertile (at their local scale of perception). No matter what desert people do, it'll stay barren. A mountain pasture, however, depends on what the people do -- if they steward it, it remains, and if not, it will be over-grazed and disappear.

Just another way in which the Pentagon is going to get in the way by shackling us to the Saudis rather than letting us make deals with the Iranians.

But stewardship rather than exploitation is only one side of the solution. Economic nationalism seeks a higher standard of living for each citizen, and that will not happen even if we have cleaner energy forms, if we get sucked into the economists' plans to ramp up population size as high as possible. In their minds, if the energy industry finds a way to cut the average person's carbon emissions to just one-tenth of what they were, that means we can have tens times the population size!

Environmentalism can never frame the problem as "coping with scarcity," or it will fail to resonate with people enough to get implemented. It should accept the opposite end of the trade-off spectrum -- not a more energy efficient and larger population, but a population that shrinks to one-tenth in size, which still uses the old energy source that is ten times more polluting. (There is no disagreement that the worst case is large and wasteful, and that the best case is small and clean.) With populations as gigantic as they are in the industrialized world, nobody can raise any serious objections about turning China or India into nations of "only" 100 million instead of 1 billion, or Nigeria from 200 to 20 million.

How do we accomplish that? Simple: stop sending, and take back all of the material goodies we have given those countries. Foreign aid is mostly stolen by local elites, and the rest just serves to boost population growth in already poor nations, reducing the standard of living (wealth per capita) for those below the elites.

Far more important, though, has been the industrialization of the Third World -- we must de-industrialize them for the good of the planet, as well as our own economic national interests once those manufacturing jobs return to American workers. We have proven to be better stewards of industrial processes, and we invented industrialization and are entitled to control who else gets to enjoy it.

That means cracking down on investors who are nominally American yet invest primarily in China, India, Brazil, etc. Get serious about that 35% or 50% tariff on anything they manufacture abroad, and force them to invest in factories right here in America. The stockholders will make lower profit margins, but American workers will earn higher wages, and the environmental regulations will be much more effective -- benefiting everyone around the world who values clean air and lower rather than higher volatility in temperature.

Perhaps Third Worlders would prefer to sacrifice worldwide environmental benefits in return for having higher wages with the factories being located in their countries. Well, then it's time for the West to spiritually enlighten the tropical people, and teach them the value of protecting nature even if it means giving up on some material toys. In the long-term, though, even those people will enjoy a higher standard of living than now -- it will just come the old-fashioned way from de-population rather than industrialization.

The Paris climate accord was going to be nothing other than a wealth transfer from the working and middle classes in the First World to the elites in the Third World -- taxes here used to fund "government programs" over there, which would in reality get stuffed right into their corrupt bank accounts. Breaking with this deal was more about resisting the integration of globalist elites into a single policy apparatus.

But when it comes to actually doing what's needed to save the environment, the main solution is also economic nationalism -- that will claw back all of those factories in the Third World, and then we won't even have to worry about incentivizing them to pollute less or plant more trees. Our Western governments will have regulatory power over the factories when they are located on Western soil, obviating the need for global governance, and putting them under the control of more stewardship-minded people anyway.

It is unlikely to be a coincidence that the sharp rise in global temperatures since the 1980s and '90s has accompanied the de-industrialization of the West, and the re-location of those industries to the Third World. I would attribute the temperature rise during the 1930s to the industrialization of the Soviet Union. And of course it all kicked off with the Industrial Revolution in the West.

Some of those people, though, are better able to control and regulate what happens after initially industrializing, so they should be the only ones allowed to run industries. Since most of the industrialization of the irresponsible and wasteful places in the world was not organic endogenous growth, but transplanted industries from the First World, we can claw them back without worrying too much that the industries will just spring up on their own all over again.

20 comments:

  1. Some really good thoughts. Always a pleasure to read your blog.

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  2. There are a couple of big issues with your larger proposals, although your analysis of the current political situation seems solid.

    While the idea of reclaiming manufacturing back from the third world at their expense and letting their populations decline is a good one if we are truly serious about reducing pollution and CO2, the sad fact is that this would be impossible to do purely through economic means. In theory, Trump could deliberately try to start massive trade wars with all these polluting countries to force companies to relocate, but there are big issues with that. First off, most of those countries would adapt and sell to other countries instead of totally closing up shop, which keeps those countries polluting. Second, America isn't in that strong of a position to pick all those fights economically. We don't have the manufacturing capacity and we aren't energy independent. Third, and most importantly, doing so would seriously harm the global economy and would guarantee Trump wouldn't win reelection. While I would be willing to wait through several years of economic contraction to reorient manufacturing towards the US and to help the environment and reduce third world populations, most people wouldn't and can't. Every missing product and raised price would be blamed on Trump, and there would be plenty. Banks and multinationals would conspire against him openly to screw the effort over. Also. once the multinationals and the stocks take a beating from the effort, it would be highly likely that the free-trade zealot GOPers would align with the Dems to impeach him.

    To accomplish your goal would require direct military involvement against those who recklessly pollute and to protect important natural CO2-capturing areas like rainforests and oceans. Either we threaten them and bully them into drastic cutbacks and direct protection of forests and rivers that lead to an ocean to ensure cleanliness (which would naturally increase the ability for the world to capture CO2) or we destroy them. If the end goal is drastic reductions in polluting countries of quality of life and total population, it is much quicker and more likely to succeed to just go to actual war instead of just a trade war. We could sell a war for saving the environment without a huge amount of difficulty, what with lefties determined to do anything to stop climate change and righties determined to flex our military muscle whenever possible. The goals being to punish and forcibly suppress nations or societies that pollute needlessly, to take over and protect important environmental areas by driving out the idiot natives, and by suppressing or starving out many of the inhabitants of these areas. It would be profoundly ugly in the details, but it could be done if the will was there, with China being the only huge difficulty to deal with. Hopefully they could be dealt with diplomatically.

    Would the Pentagon be interested in that? Who knows.

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  3. LOL, no one is going to vote for putting Captain Planet in charge of the Pentagon.

    Trade war is a million times easier than a real war, plus is a one-time only thing -- de-industrialize the Third World -- as opposed to the continual monitoring and intervention needed if we let them keep the factories.

    And no, China et al will not be able to "adapt and sell to other countries" since most of the so-called trade is not actual trade -- it's the off-shoring of labor for American corporations, and the finished goods are sold back into the American market. These transactions cross national borders and are classified as trade -- but they are wholly internal to the operation of the single multinational firm who off-shored the labor and will get the profits when the products are sold back into America.

    There are few "other countries" that are playing the off-shoring game in China (or wherever), since America has always been in the lead in manufacturing. They had the most to send out, and indeed most of that work is now being done on behalf of US multinationals.

    So once America takes its factories back, there's almost nothing left in China.

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    1. Here's the problem: the physical assets themselves are located in China. At some point the Chinese government is going to start forcefully nationalizing these factories before they've been totally stripped of their industrial capacity.

      The Chinese have also been aggressively building their own engineering base and acquiring the technological know-how to design and develop things on their own. There's no unteaching them how to do things.

      Russia is the greatest case study for de-industrializing a country, with 80-90% of its productive assets being stripped and sold off during the Yeltsin years. The Russian example gives us a look both at what is required to do this as well as its limitations.

      Deindustrialization of a country requires a compliant government, either a puppet regime imposed by victory in war or else a parasitical elite that sells its own country's interests out completely for self-enrichment. We've seen that Russia was able to put a halt to the loss of its industries as soon as a patriotic government came to power, and to begin the very slow process of reconstruction.

      We also saw the limitations of what could be done. Russia's military-industrial complex survived the Yeltsin calamity, in spite of major contractions. Russia retained the ability to produce motor vehicles, aircraft, ships, rockets, nuclear reactors, and advanced electronics.

      The US can certainly recapture a great share of its lost industries from China, but the idea that we're going to put them back in the year 1936 with a few tariffs is a ludicrous fantasy.

      China is a fellow great power now and nothing short of total nuclear destruction is going to change that for the foreseeable future.

      A sensible grand bargain would involve the US according the Chinese an appropriate economic sphere of influence in Asia and Africa (and in their own regional seas) in return for a restoration of a sane trade policy on our part and a substantial repatriation of offshored US industry.

      A bargain that allows the Chinese to keep face and maintain a future as a great power will offer a stable path for the US to peacefully restore its own economic sovereignty; a total economic war with the goal of completely de-industrializing China will provoke a massive nationalization of US factories in China - and even if the Chinese can't keep them open through loss of access to the US markets, it means we're not getting them back either.

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  4. Hating on the Paris accord was another example of Bernie-Trump convergence. What little reaction I saw on the materialist Left said, "Big deal -- it was a phony corrupt agreement anyway."

    Just like with TPP and NAFTA. Both the Bernie Left and the Trump Right sensed that this was not really about climate change -- only the culture warriors looked at it that way -- but about something material, like a wealth transfer to the corrupt elites of China, India, etc., who would have gone on to do absolutely nothing about the environment.

    Only difference was in focus -- Bernie people emphasizing the transfer from lower classes to elites, and Trump people emphasizing transfer from America to culturally alien nations.

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  5. Very good points... but as is usual with most good points, they'll go unheeded until it's too late

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  6. "if we let them keep the factories" is where you get things totally backwards. With a trade war, it's practically guaranteed that these countries keep the factories running. Even if it were true that all these factories are actually owned by Americans (which is ridiculously false) the fact remains that's they are built and ran in China by Chinese. When America puts up the trade barriers with intent to destroy, China will just nationalize those factories (who could stop them?) and create new companies to use them. Doing so would be completely in line with China's current practice of heavy handed staterun capitalism, and other countries would follow suit. While they would be shut out of America, and any true high end as a result, they would still have plenty of markets to sell lower and middle end products to. The economic world doesn't revolve entirely around America and Western Europe like it used to.

    If you seriously think that some of the largest and currently most experienced manufacturing countries in the world would just let their high tech factories and experienced workers sit idle as their country declines, then I think you really need to revisit your ridiculously low opinion of these countries.

    All of this would be fine with me economically, as I don't think free trade works well for wealthy countries, but the core point of this post was that it would be beneficial environmentally because their factories would just go unused, which is laughably unlikely. To actually prevent these societies from industrializing and polluting in the reckless manner they are, an economic response would be inadequate, which is where the entire idea of a military solution comes into play. A military solution would not only take care of the factories for sure, it would also deal with the issues of the native populations over consuming vital natural resources and recklessly polluting vital areas. A purely economic approach wouldn't deal with this at all and would exacerbate it in some respects, as an easy way to make a quick buck is by overfishing, overgrazing, and harvesting rainforests.

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  7. China would have nowhere to go if the West cut it off, because the Third World is still dirt poor:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_trading_partners_of_China

    The only arms we would have to twist would be Japan and South Korea -- whose military defense we just happen to provide for nothing.

    With much of the rest of the world not buying its junk, aggregate income among the Chinese would plummet and dry up a lot of domestic demand for Chinese products.

    Would that eliminate 100% of the demand for Chinese crap? No -- only 95%. Good enough to save the environment.

    "When America puts up the trade barriers with intent to destroy, China will just nationalize those factories (who could stop them?) and create new companies to use them."

    Wrong. They're contract manufacturers, i.e. the ones who do outsourced / off-shored labor for Western companies. Such as Foxconn making things for Apple. With Apple cut off from Chinese contract manufacturers, who is Foxconn or its nationalized successor going to make stuff for? Generalize from Apple to Western electronics companies, and there goes Foxconn.

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  8. You're stupider than you sound if you think China would not sit idly by if we waged a trade war, but if we waged a literal war, they'd just roll over and we wouldn't face any pushback.

    That would easily be in the tens of trillions, if the Iraq War against a far punier enemy cost in the trillions. Not to mention far more dead, and direct attacks on our own soil.

    Say, that's exactly the kind of destabilizing plan that would be floated by one of those spooks that the CIA just assigned to comment sections of Trump supporters. Don't bother leaving further comments, they'll be blocked.

    Pro-tip: the Trump hardcore is anti-militarist. We're not braindead Boomers who treat foreign policy like a spectator bloodsport to cheer on Team America. So pushing a preposterous military solution is bound to go over like a lead balloon -- not that they pay you guys for being successful anyway. How are Evan McMullin's butt buddies in ISIS doing these days? Such genius-level spycraft.

    I think the only military solution we'd all be on board with is dropping a couple nukes on Riyadh in revenge for 9/11, and then taking their oil... maybe let the Shia in the Gulf Coast keep theirs, since they're not the bad ones. But the Saudis from the desert can go get fucked once the Boomers are no longer in control of the Pentagon.

    (Contrary to their pathetic self-image, they are not going to live forever, and will die sooner than earlier generations that were not degenerate like they are.)

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  9. Off-topic: A sign of cocooning?

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-05/why-aren-t-american-teenagers-working-anymore

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  10. OT:

    Validating Ag's observation that culture is downstream from politics, they're bringing Bocephus back!

    Lord have mercy, if there could be a living personification of the irredeemable Deplorable, it's Hank Williams Jr.
    When people think Donald Trump is a belligerent a**hole, something has completely gone awry! Remember, he was let go for likening Obama to Hitler.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cQNkIrg-Tk
    We need more of this attitude, and these guys frankly

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2GBQqSKl8w
    Fun and take no prisoners Hank

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  11. Another thing Ag needs to re-up is his big post about how losing elections spawns conspiracy theorists due to growing mentally incoherent as a result of trying to soothe cognitive dissonance...

    This Reality Winner chick is the most mind-blowing thing I've yet to see since Trump won! What's coming out...

    We don't know why she supported Hillary over Trump and was disappointed, it seemed she is just simply a liberal, but since the election she
    *believed Trump had a strong animus towards Iran, very black/white (not crazy, and most benign, but where her drift downward seems to begin right after the election; thoughts on Saudi Arabia, differing factions within Nat Sec aren't known, if they were mentioned)
    *black/white thinking on Trump gets extended to other areas. Becomes more hysterical.
    *weights poorly the value of the documents she comes across; it isn't a bombshell.
    *POORLY executes the leaking of these documents. I mean, she was *NOT* thinking!
    *chooses VERY POORLY whom she leaks to: The Intercept (!!!)
    Not to cast aspersions on the Intercept, saying that they outed her, how were they to know she had been so stupid?, but The Intercept would *not* give this the propaganda value she was after that, say, the Washington Post would have.
    *Everyone* knows this, but Reality Winner did not.

    On the last point, it looks like she felt warmly to the Bernie-philiacs since she had been one, but was blind to their views on National Security and American Empire. Willfully blind because Greenwald, et al., have broadcast their views loudly and clearly...
    But at each and every step, our girl demonstrated not being in complete possession of her faculties. She was incapable of seeing the entire picture and seeing it clearly. And each misstep brought her into a new reality which she had to evaluate and for which she was less able to do so than before.

    The result of all this is she ended up committing a serious crime in pursuit of bringing down Drumphf!, and catching her was shooting fish in a barrel. Oh, and Trump will have suffered not a wit from her evil plans.

    If we keep envisioning Trump as the Road Runner and his enemies as Wile E. Coyote, this is why.

    Finally, the comments in this thread about the failed Edward Snowden are illuminating: a non-crazy person followed by crazy people. The convolutions the people, mostly middle-aged women, go through make my head hurt.
    Why Schindler differs from them in not being crazy is that *they are looking to soothe their cognitive dissonance* over someone they strongly supported, losing. You can practically *feel* their anguish: "Make it go away! She really did win!! Rigged. Hacked." Schindler, in contrast, has a world view, ideology, and beliefs about Russia which is all he's interested in ruminating over. He's not dealing with an ego-crushing election loss. When one reads Schindler, though one may disagree, he's coherent. At worst, he may get hysterical, but he's not going to make your head hurt.
    https://twitter.com/20committee/status/871869724229074944

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  12. That CIA thing is true, pretty interesting stuff. I wonder if Archon really was from the government.

    "According to RT news, agents have up to “10 fake shill accounts” used to troll and create the illusion of having a genuine network of friends.

    “They will defend current administration decisions with relentless irrational stubbornness that one can only be paid to do.”

    Are you chatting with a CIA Agent on-line? It’s possible you may already have.

    Abby Martin, from RT’s “Breaking the Set,” reported on an up to date Operation Mockingbird with the sole purpose of misleading the public on-line."

    https://redice.tv/news/cia-agents-to-troll-alternative-media-sites-in-huge-propaganda-program

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  13. "a total economic war with the goal of completely de-industrializing China will provoke a massive nationalization of US factories in China - and even if the Chinese can't keep them open through loss of access to the US markets, it means we're not getting them back either."

    It does mean that because they are not independent firms -- they contract to American companies to fulfill cheap labor, cheap materials, cheap regulatory costs, cheap environmental costs, and cheap everything.

    If the Chinese nationalize an American plant, and tough American laws prevent such a plant from contracting to American companies to do manufacturing, then guess who is going to do the manufacturing instead for these American firms who now find themselves out of a Chinese cheap labor solution? Americans.

    So, "who is 'we' kemosabe?" American workers, and managers and professionals below the elite level, will benefit from repatriated plants. Who "will not get the factories back"? -- the American *stockholders* who invested overseas instead of at home.

    As for them, I favor not bailing out any American company whose assets get nationalized by the Chinese -- that's the risk of doing dirty business with a bunch of infamously cheating foreigners. You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in!

    It will be tough painful medicine that American stockholders will need to swallow in order to cure them of their delusion that they can just shove the costs of their greed onto the bottom 90% -- off-shoring the plants as long as that's profitable, and if there's a yuge blow-up like the foreigners nationalize their assets, American taxpayers bail them out back home in the nation that the stockholders impoverished by off-shoring.

    Sorry, the elites in this country need another Great Depression. The main effect of that was to decapitate the top -- the working classes didn't do much worse, and the end result was narrowing inequality. After that, the elites decided to rein in their greed for their own good, if it was going to lead to another Russian Revolution / Great Depression environment.

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    1. Nationalization means the physical infrastructure of the factories is lost to us - the assembly lines, the machinery, etc. will have to be rebuilt from scratch or ordered anew, when they could have been disassembled and shipped back at a fraction of the cost.

      Throw in the massive losses from seized assets on top of the fact that you've already assumed total chaos in the stock market, and where exactly are these new factories going to spring up from? Who's paying for them?

      The commentariat here was just ridiculing boomers for their failure to understand the concept of restraint, for their "I have to have everything I want right now" and "anyone who messes us with will get totally destroyed" mentality.

      Stop thinking with this boomer mindset. Reindustrializing America is not going to be done in a quick, one-step Great Leap Forward. The US did not first industrialize itself overnight, it was a process that took decades to unfold, as it did in Meiji Japan, Imperial Germany, and anywhere else that it happened successfully. Deng Xiaoping didn't suddenly change a few laws and turn China into a manufacturing powerhouse in a year or two, it took decades for them to get where they are today.

      If we want this to work, we are going to need to exercise some patience and some prudence, and our focus has to be on positive results for us, not negative results for them.

      Yes, there will be a great deal of overlap in those two - but we can get back what we need without making China a permanent enemy, if it's clear that we're just acting in our own national interests again, and not deliberately seeking to destroy them out of spite.

      Side note: why is everyone here assuming a Europe that acts in unison with the US on China trade policy? Most of the continent just went and signed itself up for China's Asian Development Bank against the wishes of DC. So that's a major market staying open to China until we get nationalist governments in place in all the major European countries.

      When exactly do you see the Tories dropping globalism or an AfD leader becoming the Chancellor? Trump will probably be dead of natural causes before either of these things happen.

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  14. Chinese culture emerged in the north china plain which is like the midwest in climate. Even the southern parts of China are more sub-tropical like the gulf coast in the U S. The Chinese are not a tropical people. And their long history is one of agriculture, not nomadic pastoralism. So you need another explanation rather than 'easy food climate' for their apparent lack of stewardship. The more mundane explanation is probably just that they are earlier in the industrialization process and just cant afford it.

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  15. The Russian example is not apropos because they were producing mostly for the Soviet Union and its satellites, not the world market including the First World, as Chinese is now doing.

    The USSR was not the destination of off-shoring by rich countries looking for arbitrage in labor, materials, and regulations. So there was no leverage that rich nations had to claw back their manufacturing from the Soviets -- they had to resort to outright purchasing the assets, and just waiting for the best time to buy low.

    On the other side, we did not need to declare war against Britain in order to industrialize. We simply threw up strong tariff walls, and suddenly Britain could no longer sell its stuff here, and American firms grew into their place.

    At any rate, the point is that China is not like either case -- they are not an independent producing nation who we trade with, but a destination for cheap labor / materials / regulations sought by American firms, who then sell the Chinese-contracted goods back into the American market.

    It's no different from bringing a bunch of Chinese here, legally or illegally, to work in plants on American soil -- complete with Chinese workers, managers, and so on.

    Just because the cost-cutting happens to make raw materials and finished goods cross national borders, does not make it trade or a "trade war" to claw them back. It is simply denying American companies the privilege of contracting out their production to cheap work forces, whether abroad through off-shoring or at home through illegal immigration or legal cheap worker visas.

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  16. "So you need another explanation rather than 'easy food climate' for their apparent lack of stewardship."

    No, I said they are less steward-minded than Europeans, who have a mix of agriculture and transhumance pastoralism, the latter making people adapt to prevent literal over-grazing of common spaces.

    Obviously the Chinese are more steward-minded than tropical people or nomads.

    That may become a moot point sooner rather than later anyway, with the trend toward industrializing the tropical places rather than SK and China, where people are getting used to higher and higher wages. That dictates a move from China to Vietnam, or Indian to Bangladesh, or SK to the Philippines, or northern Mexico to Guatemala, with all that entails for production by tropical peoples.

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  17. "Reindustrializing America is not going to be done in a quick, one-step Great Leap Forward."

    You're confusing the nature of the changes with the timetable that they'll unfold under.

    Industrializing the US did not happen overnight -- but it did happen by shutting out Britain with stiff tariffs, not going to war with them, and not by buying them out.

    We're addressing the nature of the changes that need to be made, not how fast they'll happen.

    You're also getting too literal with "nationalization" -- Foxconn is not owned by Apple or any other American company. It is a publicly traded company that contracts to make products for Apple. Their infrastructure was never Apple's to begin with.

    They are "owned" by Apple in the sense that without Apple and similar companies outsourcing production to Foxconn, Foxconn does not exist.

    So the main task is not preventing nationalization of American assets, but closing off the destinations for outsourcing that American companies use to avoid hiring Americans and using American materials. The simple way to do that is a stiff tariff.

    Once that tariff is in place, American companies will have no choice but to build plants here. If it's cheaper to build anew, they'll do that. If it's cheaper to buy the now un-used capital that Foxconn is now looking to liquidate, they'll do that.

    We can use threats of tariff on unrelated Chinese products and services as leverage to get favorable terms on what we really want -- the manufacturing capital. Suppose we want to buy the under-utilized machines at Foxconn for dirt cheap -- we impose a stiff tariff on some "Plan B" export of China, not part of electronics or manufacturing (rice, say). Then we let them know we would be open to moderating the tariff on the non-manufacturing export, in exchange for getting the Chinese government to lean on Foxconn so that we get good rates on buying up their soon-to-be-shuttered factory equipment.

    Trump has always said we need to act like brutal vicious killers in order to claw our manufacturing back -- it's time we start.

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  18. BTW, I'm not sure how much Chinese-made equipment we'd want anyway -- long-term at least. Maybe get some of their machines to get production going here right away, with better raw materials from America and better labor and oversight from Americans.

    The machines themselves would still be made in China holdovers, though.

    So have the government pay to help manufacturers upgrade to American-machined machines.

    Our attitude toward business owners should be helping them grow in America, not bailing them out of foreign failures.

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