Petey Mandelson writes a reasonable piece on trade and globalisation. I add something in the comments. Wonder how many will get the point?
The mind boggles at some of these responses (and yes, it also boggles at reading a sensible piece from Mandy but that\’s another matter).
We know what it is that creates wealth: voluntary exchange. When an asset moves from a lower value use to a higher this is the very definition of wealth creation. This is true whether it is you and I swapping my surplus apples for your surplus pears over the back fence or whether it\’s swapping the banking services of the City of London for the manufacturing products of Shenzen.
Along with such voluntary exchange which itself creates wealth come two further things: the division of labour and the specialisation of labour. Think Adam Smith and his pin factory here. These two together create further wealth as because of them labour becomes more productive.
It\’s possible to dislike those latter (there\’s a Marxist argument about the alienation of labour for example) but it\’s not possible to argue that they don\’t create wealth.
Now this logic, these processes, work whether we talk at the level of the household, the town, city, county, region, country, continent or globe. Once we\’ve accepted (which I assume everyone does) the wealth creating possibilities of voluntary exchange then there\’s no reason in logic at all to limit it to one area or another. The natural size of the market in which we exchange is the global one.
Note that so far there\’s been no mention of capitalism: for the logic above is about methods of exchange. Capitalism (and the various other possible different methods of ownership of assets) is a different matter. The logic of trade holds whether assets are owned by individuals, collectively, by the State, by the workers themselves…..it doesn\’t matter a damn for the purposes of this argument whether we are a capitalist, socialist, communist, fascist or whatever else economy….it is still true that voluntary exchange, the division of labour and its specialisation create wealth.
That\’s the bit that boggles the mind. Those who confuse the two….the structure of ownership with the simple realities of trade. The globalisation of trade we definitely want: the other stuff we can still argue about.
Hmm, not sure if that comment actually went through or not.