Wow! I mean, seriously, wow! I have read some incredible loads of old shit over the last few years (and I've written a few), but I think that this Conservative Home article by Tony "Commander" Makara might actually be the single most stupid piece of crap that I have ever read.
Well, for a start we in Britain should stop importing goods that we can produce for ourselves. Why are we importing microwave ovens from Russia, radios from China? We can make such items here, the production of such items would create jobs, that would mean the people rotting away on benefit would no longer be on benefit, they would be working and actually contributing to the nation through tax rather than taking from the nation by being on benefit. They would also be earning money which they would spend to buy other British made goods and the wealth generated would stay in Britain rather than flowing out of the country to benefit another nation.
Already we can see that producing for our domestic market, that is having a home-market economic policy, has many advantages. The cheap Chinese radio may no longer be available but in its place we have people working, people no longer on benefit, people spending money that stays in Britain, money that British producers can use to re-invest.
Timmy explains why at The Globalisation Institute.
Now indeed, it is true that if we were to reduce significantly imports we could both reduce unemployment and increase home production. At first, that is. But if we were to do so then we would also start to get second order effects: like fewer foreigners buying our own products and thus raising unemployment again, this happening simply because we are sending fewer pounds out there into the global economy for them to buy such products with. It also seems perilously close to the idea that production is the reason and justification for production, which it isn't. As Adam Smith pointed out, the argument in favour of all production is consumption. The unavaibility of that Chinese radio and its replacement by a more expensive British one does indeed raise home production, but it lowers consumption, which isn't the point of the process at all.
Two more points, the first historical. It was precisely this line of thinking which created the trade crisis of the 1930s, when nation after nation placed tit for tat punishing tariffs on the exports of other countries. Now Makara's plan would require the UK to place heavy such tariffs upon imports, for the individual consumer would rationally be looking to buy the cheaper, foreign made goods. This would invite retaliation (however silly it would be) and make the entire world poorer. I would hope that no one puts forward the 1930s as an economic model to emulate, rather than the correct usage of that history, as one to avoid?
The second is by analogy. Again, as Adam Smith put it, as goes household economy, so that of the nation. It makes sense for the household to purchase those things from outside it that are cheaper than they can be produced within the household. My favourite example is wheat: we all have at least a windowbox, if not a lawn. We could grow some, if not all of our own wheat, thresh it, mill it and then bake our own bread or make our own pasta (for those on the healthier diets). But even to state it in these terms is to show how ridiculous the idea is: we all know that it is vastly cheaper to pay the supermarket a pound or two for bread each day than it is to go through that year long backbreaking labour, even if we do have the half acre of lawn that can be ploughed to feed the household. To pay for our imports from the supermarket we export from the household, almost all of us our labour.
And yes, we could have all of the children throwing stones at the rats, mother could be occupied with the spinning wheel all day and long into the evening to clothe the family: we could indeed make certain that not a moment of household time is not used in labour to support that household. Yet it's usually taken as a sign of civilisation, of our wealth, that we don't in fact have to do that, that we import such things into the household from outside it.
If we accept this line of reasoning about the household (and I agree that there are certain deep green types who don't actually accept this line of thought at all: they're the ones clothed in knitted tofu and chowing down on home made yurts), that it is the imports which make us rich, then we must also accept it for the nation.
For once you've accepted the idea of voluntary exchange (and the consequent beneficial effects of the division and specialisation of labour) then the only thing left to do is to define the extent of the market. And there's absolutely nothing, nothing at all, which says that the limit should be the household, town, county, tribe, nation, region or continent.
As Timmy points out, our only current natural trading limit is the entire globe. As transport costs have become cheaper and more available, we have traded more and more across thousands of miles. We call this process globalisation and it is steadily making us all richer.
And what is "Commander" Makara's response to Worstall? [Emphasis mine.]
Tim Worstall, you know perfectly well that the economic conditions of the 1930s were a unique phenomena and bear no relation to today. Furthermore the economic strategy I advocate would benefit all nations. Self-sufficency is a good thing and leads to greater economic security. You have to understand that the era of globalization is about to end. Many in the United States are now openly questioning the globalist ideology and this sentiment can only grow.
That's right, chaps; despite the fact that travel has become cheaper and easier than ever before, despite the fact that communications are more integrated and comprehensive than ever before, "the era of globalisation is about to end".
Tony Makara: you are a fucking moron.
The only thing that is likely to end the "era of globalisation" is if we deliberately attempt to do so through ridiculous and pointless caps on carbon emissions. That would fuck us up pretty badly but we are, in this case, our own worst enemy.
The only people in the US who have doubts about globalisation are those who, like Tony Makara, still inhabit a deeply-outdated mercantilist mind-set. That there are total fucking morons inhabiting the US as well as Conservative Home doesn't mean that we have to give them a platform.
Apart from anything else, Makara argues that benefits cost us money. Well, yes, social security payments cost some £120 billion every year. But our GDP—which is value added to our economy—is over a trillion pounds a year.
Essentially, Tony Makara is advocating that we wind our entire economic system back to the fucking Dark Ages in order to suit the least productive in our society. That's unbelievably stupid.