Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The face of unemployment

Globalization is presented in a very sterile manner.  That's because the people who benefit from it are the Intellectual Class - the Harvard Business School types, the Banksters, the Intellectual Class hangers on.  Lots of dusty figures and graphs.  It's left to the artists - in this case, a latter day Woodie Guthrie - to give it a human face.

When I was a lad, Woodie Guthrie was a hero of the Left, a man who stuck up for the Little Guy who was oppressed by the Powers That Be.  Nowadays, this is right wing hate music.  Just because.

Quite frankly, there's nothing that more clearly demonstrates the decadence of the Left.  And nothing that more clearly demonstrates why I hold them in contempt.  It's all upper middle class SWPL self-interest, and I say this as someone who's been sort of upper middle class for a long time.  The people in this video are our neighbors.  Where, o where is Hollywood and the Left?  The World wonders.

Actually, we don't.  That's where the contempt springs from.

UPDATE 18 September 2013 21:09: The plant in the video was the Goodyear factory in Union City, TN.  It closed in 2011.


Stephen said...

Best friggin post I've read on any blog in many months. I very much enjoyed the video too. Thank you, and I agree.

Borepatch said...

Stephen, while I firmly consider the GOP to be the Stupid Party, this is the reason why I think that the Democrats are the Evil Party.

Yeah, the hypocrisy stinks, but the Democrats have sold the Middle Class. I'm quite angry over this.

But thanks for your comment - it means a lot.

William Newman said...

Globalization (like e.g. "deregulation") is sometimes distorted unrecognizably (e.g., "deregulation" of CA electricity referring to a regulatory system of, among other things, price controls). So maybe we're not talking about the same thing. But...

"Globalization" presumably includes trade in goods. Free trade doesn't only help "the Intellectual Class". It doesn't help every non-intellectual all the time; e.g., US free trade in sugar would impact people with sugar-producing businesses and occupations they like. But free trade tends to produce a lot of value on net. Trade distortions don't just transfer wealth, they introduce various kinds of deadweight loss. This can be a really big deal, not just for intellectuals.

It adds up to quite a big deal in practice even in policy regimes that people think of as reasonable and are willing to defend even in hindsight, such as the EU's array of interventions vs. US level of interventions. Note e.g. grocery and gas prices in . You don't need to be a heartless intellectual like the US prices, or to estimate that cost to EU public considerably exceeds benefit to EU farmers and other producers. And anecdotally from here in TX, similar price differences help drive migration from CA, and those migrants aren't drawn from some rarefied intellectual class.)

Governmental power can easily impose trade restrictions to raise prices or wages Paul can charge, but the cost is not just that Peter needs to pay the complementary cost on every transaction, it's that some transactions are simply shut down. E.g., a business isn't started because even though under free exchange it's efficient, under the artificially high price for delivery vehicles it's a nonstarter. That way lies the EU, and beyond that Argentina and the Great Depression and the Permit Raj of India. This can be a big deal, not just for intellectuals.

Globalization isn't a panacea. But like speculation, or specialization in general, or particularly specialization into finance and middlemen businesses, free trade is a form of free exchange that commonly gets demonized despite net good effects. (Such forms of free exchange have political liabilities which aren't externalities: typically public choice issues, Bastiat's seen-vs.-unseen pattern, and/or association with resented foreigners and with resented commercially successful demographic groups.) The effects of those forms of free exchange tend to be jumbled together, and none is necessarily individually huge, perhaps 8% increase in GDP here and 15% increase in GDP there. (Or, especially for free trade, what's most important may be not changed "GDP" but decreased prices, thus "PPP-adjusted GDP".) But the total tends to be multiple tens of percent, so allowing these activities is rather big deal, and not just for intellectuals.

Or, if my long-windedness above is unconvincing, consider the mighty Smoot-Hawley initiative against globalization: ca. 60% tariffs. I myself think the Depression's unemployment owed more to labor and tax policy, and the depth and esp. length of the Depression's economic slump owed more to tax and cartel and monetary and banking and finance policy. (I'm no fan of S-H, but I'd guesstimate its isolated effect as a 5-10% reduction in PPP-adjusted GDP, plus some initial shock.) But if you see trade policy as driving employment outcomes in such a simple overwhelmingly important causal way that advocates can easily pick the effect out from other known fluctuations (i.e., the way that CO2 drives climate:-), then please remember the aftermath of the S-H tariff as a useful cautionary tale. Epic tariffs, then epic unemployment, ZOMGQED!!

Anonymous said...

Who has described the video as "right wing hate music?" Where? When? In what context.

You do realize, right that Woody Guthrie is STILL a hero of the left?

Borepatch said...

paft, it's country music. That flyover country stuff.

Funny, I remember back when Country Music used to be the working man's music. Different world, then, before Wall Street, Hollywood, and the Faculty Lounge took over the Democratic Party.

Anonymous said...

In other words, no, nobody accused Ronnie Dunn of purveying "right wing hate music."

You were just making stuff up.