Nick Timothy and economics

China has abused liberal trading rules by over-producing goods and dumping them on other markets.

To put that the correct way around, companies in China have increased our real wage.

‘N’ the next time Nick Timothy wants to tell us something about economics he can fuck off ‘n’ all.

And it has abused the openness of other economies to undercut rival businesses

It means we need to overcome our adherence to free market ideology

Why do we want to make ourselves poorer?

Yes, that’s the point of having a market based system idioto.

This requires a different approach to economic policy and, in particular, a new form of industrial strategy.

Why would we hand over the crafting of economic policy to someone clearly entirely ignorant of economics?

Similarly, one of the reasons Germany is so far ahead of Britain in its testing strategy is, ministers explain, that the Germans have Roche, one of the world’s biggest diagnostic companies.

Roche is Swiss you ignorant, ignorant, dingbat.

Together with our allies, we need to wean ourselves off our over-dependence on China, with more manufacturing production and assembly work shifting to other Asian countries, such as Vietnam, lower-cost European countries, such as Poland and Portugal, and back home in Britain.

We already tried Triumph Motorcycles (Meriden) Ltd.

We can lead the creation of new institutions to ensure peaceful economic competition between East and West.

But that peaceful economic competition is what you’re whining about!

Jeez, how’d this bloke ever get hired by a Tory?

65 thoughts on “Nick Timothy and economics”

  1. Jeez, how’d this bloke ever get hired by a Tory?

    He wasn’t and the reason is that there aren’t many Tories left.

  2. I dunno, Tim, this doesn’t seem like a particularly good time to be making ideological economics points with reference to China.

    On this Nick Timothy, and President Trump, are correct. You can’t pretend to have normal trading relationships with countries who are using those to undermine your national security. More than that, we should be doing everything we can to fuck those countries up.

    If even these times are not enough to make you reconsider your globalist touchy feelies, I’ll have to conclude you’ve replaced your original religious faith with another.

  3. “Similarly, one of the reasons Germany is so far ahead of Britain in its testing strategy is, ministers explain, that the Germans have Roche, one of the world’s biggest diagnostic companies.”

    Also, total and utter bollocks. It’s that Public Health England rejected offers from smaller, private laboratories to do testing and Germany didn’t. Something something insurance based, non-stalinist healthcare system.

    https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-national-coronavirus-testing-centre-only-conducting-1500-tests-a-day-11971991

    Even in terms of industry size, Germany isn’t that much bigger. Around $40bn compared to around $30bn, and if you measure that per capita, it shouldn’t make that much difference.

  4. Agree with PJF.

    Isn’t our embrace of China specifically funding their reckless military expansionism in the South China sea, and more. Shouldn’t we looking at the bigger picture on some of these issues.

    Maybe, instead of a “Fair Tax” Mark, someone will come up with a “Not China” mark for goods, as it can be increasingly difficult to know with products made all over…..

  5. “I dunno, Tim, this doesn’t seem like a particularly good time to be making ideological economics points with reference to China.

    On this Nick Timothy, and President Trump, are correct. You can’t pretend to have normal trading relationships with countries who are using those to undermine your national security. More than that, we should be doing everything we can to fuck those countries up.”

    We barely traded globally in 1918 and millions died across the world from Spanish Flu. And this time, it wasn’t carried by iPhones and USB leads, but migrant workers. It makes no sense trying to stop movements of goods because of a problem caused by movements of people.

  6. Is all the wealth we gain from trade with China worth the baggage that comes with it? A pandemic that knocks 25% or whatever off our GDP every 20 years or so? Their obvious coopting of international bodies that are meant to protect us? Their theft of our IP? Their nefarious influence in our domestic organisations? Their expansion into the entire South China Sea? Do we want a world order where the CCP make the rules?

    I’ve done alright personally out of China being allowed to join the rest of the world but I’ve come to believe that it’s been for the detriment of humanity. Time to decouple asap in my opinion.

  7. Roche Diagnostics is German. In Mannheim, mostly. It used to be one half of the Boehringer empire until they sold to Roche oh, at least 10 years ago. Despite the Rotkreuz HQ, the company is definitely, culturally, geographically, German.

    /pendant

  8. Just listening to an audiobook called “War – What is it good for?” by Ian Morris. He argues that, over the long term, war has been a very good thing for peace, security and prosperity. Essentially, between last Ice Age and beginning of farming, when people were organised in families or small groups or families, level of violence was very high (10% to 20% died violent deaths). Then, due to farming, people settled in larger groups, with greater order and security within the group as the “state” (or equivalent) has sufficient power to suppress intragroup violence. Process continues to successively larger groups with violence falling along the way. Eventually some form of very large scale hegemony is established with a “globo-cop” in charge of maintaining security, obviously mainly for its own benefit but it also helps all those within its charge. Violence is down by an order of magnitude cf pre-farming, (relative) peace and prosperity reign. The Roman, Han and British Empires are examples.

    Until…at some point whatever the group, nation or empire has to do to increase its prosperity undermines its standing relative to its competitors. For example, to improve the prosperity of British people within the British Empire, it made sense to export the knowledge and expertise which had made Britain pre-eminent so there were wealthy countries for Britain to trade with. But doing so made these other countries stronger than they had been and their growth was such that, although Britain became absolutely wealthier, it relatively declined.

    When the BE lost its hegemony, among the results was WWI and the emergence of the US as “globo-cop”. It may be that the US is currently losing its hegemony for similar reasons to those that ended the BE. It seems unlikely that the US will quietly accept its fate.

  9. Dongguan,

    As long as we remain religiously committed to the pure ideology of total unfettered free trade, then letting the CCP increasingly dictate our way of life is surely a tiny price to pay?

    /irony

  10. As another example, a Britain “self-sufficient” in food (in a world where all countries aimed for self-sufficiency) would probably turn out to be more vulnerable to food-supply disruption than a Britain that relies on a web of global trade links for food… because while a bad harvest in the UK is bound to happen every few years, and in “self-sufficiency” world will hit your entire source of food, it’s usually offset by some countries having good harvests while others have bad, so in “trade-link” world you just do more business with whoever’s running a good surplus and able to sell it to you cheapest (once transport costs are included, but for a lot of bulk goods like grains that’s surprisingly cheap even over thousands of miles). So complete autarky doesn’t guarantee security either. On the other hand you do reduce risks if at least a certain proportion of your needs can be home-grown.

    There is a lot of the world’s industrial production outsourced to a relatively small geographical area and the equivalent of a “bad harvest” there could cause problems for all the rest of us. Whether that’s disruption due to disease, natural disaster, nuclear accident or something more political like enforced Taiwanese reunification or a Sino-Indian border clash, the world’s new industrial heartland could take a very sharp dip without much warning. In the sense this adds a large degree of systemic risk that isn’t reflected in their usual output prices, you could reasonably argue that eg Chinese-made PPE or medication is underpriced.

    Just as a risk management issue, it would be preferable if critical supplies can be sourced from locations where supply shocks are likely to be as uncorrelated as possible. Far apart enough not to be both taken out by the same hurricane or earthquake, perhaps in different cultural/economic/political blocs (the concentration of oil supply in Arab countries was to cause regret to Western countries in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War). The problem is how you coordinate that. At least with autarky you might be able to persuade your own country’s population that they should put up with the economic pain of autarky because it’s patriotic to buy British and anyway it’s making them safer. How do you persuade them it’s in the UK’s interest to somehow, in conjunction with other countries (who’ll also need persuading) to try by some means (what would the mechanism even be?) to get global pharmaceutical supply chains to “double up” or “triple up” with parallel alternatives to the Chinese/Indian route being fostered in say South Africa and Latin America? Those might be places which can’t compete with the incumbents on costs, so just how would they be made viable and who would have to shoulder the burden the “added costs” in the “costs vs security” trade-off?

    I think the incentives problem is very tough and maybe precludes a workable solution, but as a matter of policy we surely should be trying to rely less on a single region.

  11. Tim – Even Adam Smith allowed for special measures against determined mercantilist powers. And free trade admits of degree. So it’s prudent not to depend on an ideologically hostile power for your manufactures.

  12. ‘Together with our allies, we need to wean ourselves off our over-dependence on China, with more manufacturing production and assembly work shifting’

    Your fvcking government drove the work off shore.

    ‘This requires a different approach to economic policy and, in particular, a new form of industrial strategy.’

    Getting rid of the Climate Change Act would be a good start. Fascist control of the economy has consequences.

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  13. SA

    The UK > US – similar values and principles (and family / cousins more or less), and probably not a shot fired in anger (during the handover), we remained allies. That was a big win for our value systems (loosely). It looked like a substantial shift, but perhaps wasn’t really?

    The US’s solution, in “accepting its fate”, is presumably more alliances, rather than trying to resist the tide? Ie more NATO and similar not less. It’s not then US hegemony, but a wider European and Anglosphere (the broader “West”). Isn’t that roughly the strategy? The 5 eyes alliance / Trump wanting the West generally to shoulder more of the effort / etc…

  14. @PF

    “The UK > US – similar values and principles (and family / cousins more or less), and probably not a shot fired in anger (during the handover), we remained allies. That was a big win for our value systems (loosely). It looked like a substantial shift, but perhaps wasn’t really?”

    That’s an interesting point. The UK > US handover was of course partially accomplished by others (principally Germany via WWI and WWII) undermining Britain’s position and allowing the US to supplant it peacefully.

    In another of Ian Morris’s books – “Why the West rules – for now”, he views history as essentially a contest/cooperation between two “core” areas, western and eastern. The Western core is a very flexible entity as it’s centred, at various times, in Rome, Assyria, Baghdad, Persia, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Northern Europe and, now, the US. The centre of the Eastern core also moves around China as various dynasties and Mongol hordes come and go. But the basic idea is that each of the two cores had much closer interactions with the other parts of its civilisation than with the other core so they can be considered as separate entities.

    In this view, the handover of “globo-cop” role from the British Empire to the US is a transfer within the western core rather than the more radical move from West to East.

    Incidentally, on IM’s calculations (he has an “index of development” which combines various factors to compare West and East), the West led from ~14,000 BC to ~100 AD, then the East until the end of C18th when the West moved ahead. IM extrapolates to the East regaining the lead in 2103 but the “prediction” is based on continued exponential growth for everyone so the entire world is ~10x more “developed” in 2103 than it is now. IM’s description of what such a level of development might mean in practice understandably gets a bit woolly.

  15. Simon Anthony.

    “Just listening to an audiobook called “War – What is it good for?” by Ian Morris. He argues that, over the long term, war has been a very good thing for peace, security and prosperity. ”

    I don’t think it’s a “good thing”. It’s generally the result of things like technology changing how we live, and that changes the balance of power between people and territories. Like, the printing press started to spread protestant ideas around Europe, which was a threat to the established order, so they went to war on protestant countries like England.

    But it isn’t inevitable. Britain didn’t have wars with Jamaica and India. We recognised that change was coming and to let them go, while France lost in Algeria and Vietnam by thinking they could resist.

  16. MBE,

    “As another example, a Britain “self-sufficient” in food (in a world where all countries aimed for self-sufficiency) would probably turn out to be more vulnerable to food-supply disruption than a Britain that relies on a web of global trade links for food… because while a bad harvest in the UK is bound to happen every few years, and in “self-sufficiency” world will hit your entire source of food, it’s usually offset by some countries having good harvests while others have bad, so in “trade-link” world you just do more business with whoever’s running a good surplus and able to sell it to you cheapest (once transport costs are included, but for a lot of bulk goods like grains that’s surprisingly cheap even over thousands of miles). So complete autarky doesn’t guarantee security either. On the other hand you do reduce risks if at least a certain proportion of your needs can be home-grown.”

    There’s a bit of “that which is unseen” here, isn’t there? If we had blocked trade with China, stuck a load of tariffs on them, would we all have the cheap laptops, phones and internet routers allowing us to have some semblance of life?

  17. @ Gamecock
    Tony Blair’s National Minimum Wage was the largest single driver of “off-shoring”, but it wasn’t just the government: unions, equal pay for unequal work enforced by courts that deliberately ignored reality, regulations that only the UK obeyed …

  18. Tim, we do lots of things that make us poorer, like going to a restaurant rather than cooking at home, like buying a book rather than going to the library. We look at the downsides as well as the upsides. And now we’re experiencing the downsides of letting China make everything. And one more point; it’s noticeable how many people who champion free trade do jobs that aren’t threatened by it.

  19. @BiUK
    Yes a fair point too. Trying to cut ourselves completely adrift means being not just poorer but also more technologically backwards than the counterfactual.

    But in the years when disaster doesn’t strike, there’s also an unseen element to the risk of disruption that we have got away with that year. Because eventually we don’t get lucky, disaster followed by disruption strikes, and only then – when we can least afford it – does the cost of overreliance become visible.

    What bothers me is that the optimal solution probably isn’t just “bring everything back onshore” but rather ensuring those critical things we do import have a sufficient diversity of suppliers whose risks of disruption are, to whatever extent is possible, uncorrelated. What I’m struggling with is a practical solution to ensure this…

  20. James, it depends on your measurement system. It might cost more to go to a restaurant but you might enjoy a meal you could never cook for yourself. Economists call it “utility”. I am suffering from not being able to hear live music. Yes, all the music I like is available online or in my collection but there is something missing

  21. “it’s noticeable how many people who champion free trade do jobs that aren’t threatened by it.”

    Just for the avoidance of doubt I’d like to point out that this particular champion of free trade is hugely threatened by it. Anyone with an internet connections and a vague grasp of the English language (a number larger than the entire population of the UK by a long way) can now and does bid on freelance writing. That’s why the low end of the market is now $5 and $10 per thousand words, rates which only make sense in a poor country. Plus the higher end of the market – UK newspapers etc – hasn’t seen a raise in pay rates in 20 years.

    But unadulterated and unilateral free trade is still an excellent idea, still what we should be doing.

    BTW for those who would say we need to restrict trade for this or that reason. OK – who decides? And what are they going to decide, for the reason quoted or for their own interests?

  22. PJF + 100

    The Chinee ambassador to Sweden recently boasted/threatened: “We treat our friends with fine wine, but for our enemies we have shotguns.”

    Expecting China to ever play by civilised rules is like trusting an apple salesman who also happens to be a talking snake.

    Re: cheap plastic grot. There are literally hundreds of other third world countries we can get low cost labour from that aren’t nightmarish Orwellian regimes and don’t harbour strategic ambitions to fuck us up.

  23. Free trade is fine, as long as we account for the costs. The problem is that the cost of buying cheap shit from China is not properly accounted for. Firm X buys widgets for half the cost of producing them in the UK, however that saving is overwhelmed by the cost of buying from a nation which fucks the environment, uses its position to work against us, uses unfair subsidies, fucks the world economy every now and then due to lax hygiene.

    We don’t need Timothy’a 1960s Blue Labour fantasies, we need to buy shit from nations that can be trusted or at least buy from a diverse enough range of suppliers that we don’t need to worry too much about trusting the nation they come from.

  24. @BoM4

    “I don’t think it’s [war’s] a “good thing””

    Sorry, I should have explained more clearly. IM doesn’t think it’s a good thing for those involved, or quite likely their immediate descendants. But “productive war” is a good thing for later descendants in the sense of leading to a significantly more peaceful, stable, prosperous situation for the inhabitants of the victor’s territory than the conquered people had beforehand. He distinguishes between productive and destructive wars. The former lead to the establishment of larger, more stable “hegemons” (eg Roman Empire, Han Empire, British Empire). The latter lead to the decay and eventual destruction of hegemons (eg the Hun/Mongol destruction of Roman and Song Empires) without their being replaced by a still more powerful hegemon.

    Productive wars include the Roman conquests around the Med and Europe, European conquests of America and Africa, British conquest of e.g. India (I guess you say that Britain didn’t have a war with India because you’re thinking of the exit from Empire rather than its expansion). The claim in all these cases is that the level of violence (in the sense of the likelihood of violent death) in the conquered society fell by a factor of~2 to ~5 as a result of the conquest.

    WWI, WWII and the Cold War were also productive in that they led to the recent decades of Pax Americana with more stable international relations and longest period of peace between major powers in history.

    Another of IM’s claims is that, with one exception, no people has ever voluntarily given up their freedom in exchange for the security offered by being part of a larger entity. Hence the growth of peace and security has only come at the expense of war.

    The single exception IM suggests might be that of countries joining the EU. But I haven’t finished listening yet and he says he’ll come back to that.

  25. “Just listened to “War – What is it Good For,” Edwin Starr – 1968.” Great music. I always wonder if anyone ever said to him “It freed your ancestors, for one thing, pal.”

  26. “But unadulterated and unilateral free trade with countries that aren’t lying world domination seeking cunts is still an excellent idea, still what we should be doing”

    Fixed it for you.

    I suppose you think we should have outsourced the supply of Spitfires to Messerschmitt in 1938, because they were cheaper……..

  27. If the Chinese wanted to undermine and destabilise our country then they couldnt have pursued a better strategy.
    Undercut our companies, buy them out, take their IP, or outright steal it. Send hordes of Chinese to our Universities where we literally sell them our technological advantages.
    Make sure we run continuous trade deficits to impoverish ourselves purchasing cheap tat, whilst we become wholly dependent upon them.
    Would we truly be worse off if instead we had protected British companies, nurtured them into becoming world leading multinationals? We may have ended up less far along the developement curve than we are currently, but at least we would be giving our children a future instead of selling them into debt slavery.

  28. Well, actually, we did outsource the supply of tungsten to Portugal then given that the costs of extracting from the Cornish tin mines were just too damn high .

  29. Would anyone trade with an entity that produced shoddy goods and regularly defrauded its customers. Someone who might not deliver what they promised? Thought not.
    The West was gradually pulling out of China anyway as western companies realised how China actually operates and also that cheaper labour is available elsewhere. Trump accelerated the process, especially wrt. State procurement. Covid will accelerate the process further.
    It’s not really about the principle of free trade. It’s about trading with trustworthy people. And China under Xi ain’t trustworthy.

  30. Certainly free trade has made us richer, but is it worth pursuing at any cost?
    We no longer have a steel industry like we had. What about the speciality steels needed for our army or navy. Without the manufacturing being on home soil we lose the know how and technical knowledge for further developement. We also lose the manufacturing capability which is now in the hands of those whom we are competing with.
    In many fields the Chinese have caught up with us technologically. For a nation that has pivoted from manufacturing to a service economy, we need to maintain or extend our lead there, but how long is that going to last?

  31. BTW for those who would say we need to restrict trade for this or that reason. OK – who decides? And what are they going to decide, for the reason quoted or for their own interests?

    Take an extreme example. We should not trade at all with a nation with which we are at war. Work backwards. We should not have unrestricted trade with a nation that has direct hostile intentions toward us. We should not have unrestricted trade with a nation whose ideology leads them to have inherent hostility to us. Our elected government decides. Any members of the government abusing trade restriction powers for their own benefit are charged with high crimes, including treason.

    Free trade with Sweden. Restricted trade with Vietnam + coaxing. Restricted trade with China + regime change policy. Highly restricted trade with Iran + active regime change. War with France.

  32. Whether you agree with free trade or not, and count me in favor, I suspect we’re entering into a period of years when great effort will be made to impose tariffs and otherwise restrict trade, particularly with China. There will be general popular support for this. And we will probably be poorer for it.

  33. “What I’m struggling with is a practical solution to ensure this…”

    Leave your companies alone. They’ll handle it automatically.

    Your fascist state caused this. The only solution is to rid yourself of a fascist state. I mentioned CCA. John77 mentioned National Minimum Wage.

    You are fixing to rid yourself of some fascist control by the EU.

    The U.S. government will not report the total number of pages in the U.S. Federal Register. They are too embarrassed. Probably over a million. The U.S. Tax Code alone is 75,000 pages. Congress and its agencies (600 of them)work hard on telling us how to live our lives.

    Each regulation has a cost. We reached a point where businesses making make-or-buy decisions started realizing off-shoring would be better for many things.

    China isn’t your problem; you are. China is happy to clean up your mess.

  34. As a matter of the good of the entire world –as well as our own self interest–the Chinese Communist Party must be destroyed. It is very likely , in the sheer scale of its evil, the worst and most murderous shower of shite EVER to afflict mankind. It must be ended.

    It will not be easy as the cunts have–so far at least , despite their criminal horrorshow, got the Chinesec people to invest patriotic feelings in a China led by these Marxian offal.

    Which means the clowns that “lead” us are not up to the job of taking them down.

  35. TD

    I would be happy to include in my measure of poor more than simply the price of a few products. Even assuming that what you say does turn out to be accurate (purely in the money sense) – Steve makes the perfectly valid point that there are bucket loads of other countries that may be perfectly good substitutes for China, hence there is plenty to help mitigate.

  36. Jeez, how’d this bloke ever get hired by a Tory?
    He wasn’t. He worked for that May creature.

  37. No idea if it’s true, but at school I was taught that the Grande Armee marched to Moscow in greatcoats made in Manchester.

  38. We likely will be poorer on a financial basis if we start imposing tariffs on Chinese goods, just as Brexit is likely to make us slightly poorer.
    But if the trade off is that we have a freer, more just, more sustainable economy, then that is a price I’m inclined to pay.
    We live in a world dominated by high tech, for our transport, for our energy needs, for our communications etc. Offshoreing all that to China has a long term negative impact.
    You only need to see how America and Europe are dependent on Chinese and Indian pharmaceuticals to see that putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea.

  39. John77

    “Tony Blair’s National Minimum Wage was the largest single driver of “off-shoring”, but it wasn’t just the government: unions, equal pay for unequal work enforced by courts that deliberately ignored reality, regulations that only the UK obeyed …”

    So how do you explain Germany’s export success? The NMW had some effect on employment, but not a huge one.

    Tim

    “BTW for those who would say we need to restrict trade for this or that reason. OK – who decides? And what are they going to decide, for the reason quoted or for their own interests?”

    Restricting trade with China is not abandoning free trade, which admits of degree. Our elected representatives will decide what if anything we buy from China – as with 5G (a decision that I hope will be re-visited soon). Security of supply of important technologies and equipment requires diversity of suppliers.

    Ecksy

    “The Chinese Communist Party must be destroyed…It must be ended. It will not be easy…”

    When the CCP hears you are on their case, I am sure they will be quaking in their boots. By the way, your pronunciamentos increasingly resemble Spud’s.

  40. I’m on surer footing if I ask why Nick Timothy has two first names…

    Maybe the first is an instruction.

  41. “Steve makes the perfectly valid point that there are bucket loads of other countries that may be perfectly good substitutes for China, hence there is plenty to help mitigate.”

    Outsourcing to someone nicer is still outsourcing.

    Y’all attack symptoms, not the problem.

  42. Tim
    “BTW for those who would say we need to restrict trade for this or that reason. OK – who decides? And what are they going to decide, for the reason quoted or for their own interests?”

    Restricting trade with China is not abandoning free trade, which admits of degree. Our elected representatives will decide what if anything we buy from China – as with 5G (a decision that I hope will be re-visited soon). Security of supply of important technologies and equipment requires diversity of suppliers.

    Our elected representatives will so determine what we can buy from abroad based on the fierce lobbying and the promised benefits to such officials by those who would benefit or lose from their decisions, whether it be so crass outright bribes or perhaps wonderful “career opportunities” once they leave office.

  43. Well Blokeinbrum, I’m not happy to have a more “sustainable” economy. Firstly, any system that keeps on going through wars and plagues is clearly sustainable. What the weasel word usually means is smaller and poorer. I don’t want an economy like Cuba’s so that Greta is happy.

    The idea that a country can not interlink in the modern world is ridiculous. Bringing back steel to the UK wouldn’t help the UK defence industry. There’s steel and steel, for a start. But are you suggesting Tungsten, Copper and Neodymium mining in the UK to go alongside it?

    Modern machines are far too complicated for that. The US gets round it by having a strategic reserve in key materials. That’s far more effective.

    Isolating China isn’t a good idea anyway. Currently it can’t declare war on the West because it’s own economy would collapse, and we’d take all their investments off them. They’d be screwed.

    The Soviet Union was a danger precisely because it was not integrated.

    For all the talk of not buying Chinese to protect local industry, we all know that when you buy your next phone or computer you aren’t paying twice the price to do so. Your virtue needs to be based on deeds. Everyone is a saint, right up to the moment hard decisions have to be made.

  44. “So how do you explain Germany’s export success? ”

    We make the machines with which China destroys western manufacturing jobs.

  45. Simon Anthony,

    “WWI, WWII and the Cold War were also productive in that they led to the recent decades of Pax Americana with more stable international relations and longest period of peace between major powers in history.”

    I don’t agree with that at all. America was already growing fast. Even before WW2, it was one of the dominant global powers.

    Regarding peace, most of that is down to improved agriculture, roughly from the 1920s to the 1940s. Replacing horses with tractors. Greater use of fertilisers. Yields went up, costs went down, and it wasn’t worth the blood and treasure of invading your neighbour for.

  46. “… running a good surplus and able to sell it to you cheapest…”

    Tim will come and educate you about comparative advantage, the bit that’s neither obvious nor trivial (from the title of the blog).

    The theory is that you can somehow still sell shit that you are less productive at than someone else, charging a higher price for a crappier product. To the extent it ever did work for Portuguese linen in exchange for English wine, or whatever the non-obvious example which I have never really understood was, it definitely doesn’t work in a world with a global hegemon intent on world domination via mercantilist overload, and which increasingly has the capacity to do that. The People’s Republic does not play by open, free-trading, liberal, individuals-trading-with-individuals rules. It is a dictatorship that wants to exploit its population to gain total power over every aspect of everyone’s lives, in the entire world. Even more than any of the assholes currently running western countries.

    China’s capital is in Taipei. We’d do well to do the right thing in the west and acknowledge that.

  47. Chester, please don’t mistake me for some hippy eco-warrior.
    When I talk about sustainable I mean in the sense that I don’t want my children to inherit a country in which they are burdened with an enormous debt to various unsavoury States and foreign multinationals with no loyalty to us.
    Take a look at the rivalry between America and China in the South China Seas.
    America has only just come to realize that if things start to get sporty down there, they are well and truly screwed. A great many of the components that they use to build and maintain their war – fighting capability is sourced now only from the Chinese. The Americans have lost the manufacturing capability and the know how and the supply chain for them.
    As for the Germans, a great number of their “Mittelstand” companies are still family owned or at least German owned. I deal with a German machine tool manufacturer that has been around for over a hundred years. They supply our Laser Cutting machinery. That company (Trumpf) has a turnover in the billions, a very substantial R&D division which is expanding their business into new areas all the time.
    Where are the equivalent British companies doing the same?

  48. I’m not arguing against trade, I’m just saying that unilateral free trade is not an automatic positive and that maybe being a little more circumspect with who we trade with and what terms,may be to our longer term advantage.

  49. “The Americans have lost the manufacturing capability and the know how and the supply chain for them.”

    US manufacturing output is near all time highs, or at least it was until this coronavirus situation – probably down this month. American manufacturing does tend to be for higher end items and is also highly automated. Automation has really done more to reduce manufacturing jobs than has China.

  50. Nick Timothy: he who was “Conservative Party” PM Theresa May’s chief advisor

    Is he now advising mop head Anneliese “Crystal and Alistair” Dodds?

    As for his Germany & Roche faux-pas, UK Smith & Nephew sell more Med stuff to USA than all of EU

    @Bloke on M4 April 12, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    +1 NHS/PHE do not want and obstructing private sector encroaching on their territory for fear Gov & Public will demand it’s permanent

    I reported on this last Sunday. It’s same in USA with CDC, FDA, FEMA etc
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8188751/Ministers-furious-NHS-bosses-failure-solve-testing-shortages.html

    At last; alas not ful use and MoS Journo is OrangeManBad type:
    “controversial, contentious, unproven, might, could harm” FFS it’s been in use for 75 years and even uneducated in Africa, Asia use it
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8211717/Malaria-drug-championed-Donald-Trump-used-coronavirus-patients-NHS-wards.html
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8211333/The-French-doctor-Trumps-favorite-coronavirus-treatment.html

    1980s Private Sector at work – Fast 24/7 work, completed on time (Trump’s ‘mum’ was PM)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUURpBzttrA

  51. @Simon Anthony

    When the BE lost its hegemony, among the results was WWI and the emergence of the US as “globo-cop”

    BE lost its hegemony as USA threatened a war if we didn’t pull out of East Asia, France also pulled out. USA didn’t want us/anyone selling oil to Japan. At start of WWII RN was much superior to USN

    @Gamecock April 12, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    +1 Gov surrendering to Green and H&S zealots, Unions etc have driven businesses out of UK

    @BlokeInBrum

    See above – in your part of UK Unions & Labour destroyed industry, then Blair nailed coffin shut. Steel, see above, Left destroyed

    Leave your companies alone. They’ll handle it automatically. (Gamecock)

    Manufacturing:
    How UK F1 is Fighting Back Against Coronavirus
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTYW7TDFSu

    Impressive response and impressive large factories – all that size and equipment for Two cars per team

    Mercedes F1 now producing 1,000 positive pressure breathing devices per day in engine production block

  52. Theo–The CCP certainly don’t need to worry about a BluLabour stooge like you being on their case. If Green Shield Stamps were still a thing a couple of books would buy you. Like that other Tory shill Heath. After all what’s a 100 million killings–nothing to discourage types like you–they were nobody’s anyway-not a public schoolboy among ’em.

    However still looking forward to the coming boom via “pent up demand”–USA now has several more millions on the dole than at the height of the Depression . But the stock market has done a lovely dead cat–and a clever lad like you can’t be wrong. We’ll be able to defeat them Chicoms out of petty cash.

  53. BoM4

    I think Ian Morris’s main point is that historically what you think could have happened (you mention the US becoming global superpower without war and agriculture becoming established peaceably) aren’t historically what actually happened. The US became the global superpower via WWI, WWII and the Cold War; farmers moved hunter-gatherers off their land by force and acquired more farming land from their neighbours in the same way.

    IM argues that, while one might imagine – from the vantage point of seeing what’s happened – that a more peaceful and prosperous end state could be reached by other means, in practice it’s only ever been achieved via warfare.

    He does a much better job of explaining his views and arguments than I can. There are lots of videos of his talks on YouTube e.g https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebRpquKFSEw (for “War – What is it Good For?”) or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnqS7G3LmMo (for “Why the West Rules – For Now”). If you’re interested in the audiobook of WWITGF, that’s also available on YouTube. It’s quite long – ~17 hours – but if you’re at a loose end for a few weeks, worth listening to.

    BTW, IM is quite aware that many people find his arguments uncomfortable or even unacceptable. But he’s good-humoured about it and builds a persuasive case.

  54. As everybody here would agree, I think, that there’s no such thing as magic dirt, why not bring China to the West? Identify some piece of real estate, an island ideally, safely in the heart of the West and China rules apply?

  55. Edward Lud said:
    “No idea if it’s true, but at school I was taught that the Grande Armee marched to Moscow in greatcoats made in Manchester.”

    As a Mancunian I would love that to be true, but I doubt it. Army greatcoats were woolen (particularly if you’re trying to invade Russia), but Manchester had switched from wool to cotton fifty years before Napoleon. Bradford seems more likely; Yorkshire didn’t really do change.

  56. Jim
    April 12, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    I suppose you think we should have outsourced the supply of Spitfires to Messerschmitt in 1938, because they were cheaper……..

    Milo Minderbinder would have arranged that (See catch 22).

  57. BlokeInBrum
    Good point, although I did suggest an island. Bonus question. If they were making masks there, would they belong to the Chinese or Italians?

  58. I seem to remember much what’s being said about China was said about Japan, not so long ago. Whatever happened to that?
    China may be in a dominant position at the moment but the world turns and genuinely free trade gives every part of it a shot.

  59. bloke in spain said:
    “I seem to remember much what’s being said about China was said about Japan, not so long ago. Whatever happened to that?”

    Agreed. The same sort of people who worry about China used to worry about Japan. The same sort of people who say that every child should be made to learn Chinese used to say they should all learn Japanese. Before that it was German.

  60. Japan is not a threat for the same reason Germany is not. It plays by the rules, more or less. Like Germany, Japan is a highly functional democracy that had the world-domination shit thoroughly and comprehensively kicked out of it relatively recently.

    China has never lost, has a persecution complex (century of humiliation), and is run by madmen who would shame the Taliban, with nukes, advanced technology, a bottomless pit of money, and the desire to use it to achieve total control.

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