The logic here seems sound

President Trump’s trade policies, or perhaps the tariff parts of them, have turned out just like every economist but one predicted: They’re terrible. Unfortunately, the one economist who says otherwise is Peter Navarro, Trump’s main adviser on trade issues. I’m not even exaggerating that he’s the only one: A New Yorker reporter wrote about Navarro’s trade policies that “even with his assistance, I was unable to find another economist who fully agrees with them.” And that’s precisely because those policies are just plain wrong.
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It is true that sometimes an entire science is wrong. It happened to chemistry with phlogiston, geology with continental drift, and even economics in thinking that planned economies worked better. However, it’s still the way to bet that if one single member of a science or profession is entirely at odds with everything everyone else says and believes, then it’s the odd man out that is, well, odd. So it is with Peter Navarro and thus Trump’s trade policies.

20 thoughts on “The logic here seems sound”

  1. Similar logic, of course, applies to global warming—-oops climate change. It’ll be interesting to see how things work out in both cases.

  2. Also over what time scale?

    Politics interfering in economics is bad but frequently necessary in short and medium term.

  3. The book One Hundred Authors Against Einstein did not make the 100 right and Einstein wrong due to weight of numbers.

  4. @Doc… Wasn’t Einstein supposed to have said “If I was wrong they would only have needed one…”?

  5. Ulcers + Australian Doc
    Childbirth + washing hands
    Galileo + Geocentricity
    .. repeat

    History is awash with examples of one person being right and the consensus wrong. It’s almost a sure indicator: if 97% say summat, they are guaranteed to have stayed bought.

  6. TIm the coder

    Sort of…
    the real problem is that you can’t tell if your loner is an Einstein/Galileo or a fruitloop. Could go either way. What we do know is where you really have got an Einstein, the other 99% will kick and scream and protect their cash. If they didn’t, it would probably be easier to identify which one was which.

  7. Why no link? Why no “Timmy Elsewhere” heading?

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/trumps-failed-tariffs-have-no-justification-whatsoever?_amp=true

    The economic logic of the anti-tariff argument may or may not be sound, but that’s not relevant in this case as you appear to have assumed that Trump has a primarily economic motivation. If instead you look at Trump’s behaviour as being a response to overall hostile Chinese communist intent, then the tariff use makes sense. There is no logic in normal trade with a bad actor.

    It might be economically logical to make easy profit flogging anti-Trump pieces to US news media in the run up to the election. Unless they assist a Democrat win. Then the short term benefit will quickly evaporate.

  8. ‘ However, it’s still the way to bet that if one single member of a science or profession is entirely at odds with everything everyone else says and believes, then it’s the odd man out that is, well, odd.’

    Except as Einstein pointed out 100 experiments do not prove a theory correct, but it only takes one to prove it wrong.

    Einstein himself was ‘the odd man out’ with his Theory of Relativity as it encroached on Newtonian movement of the Planets and the Holy Scientific Consensus. But he was right… well so far until maybe another ‘odd man out’ comes along.

    Not suggesting Trump’s trade policy is anything other than wrong, but his is the same as St Barry of Obama’s, Dubya’s and the magnificent EU.

    That notion of ‘the Consensus’ is why all dissenting and challenging voices against the Religion of Climatism are silenced, declared heretic and anathema.

  9. ‘ However, it’s still the way to bet that if one single member of a science or profession is entirely at odds with everything everyone else says and believes, then it’s the odd man out that is, well, odd.’

    Except as Einstein pointed out 100 experiments do not prove a theory correct, but it only takes one to prove it wrong.

    You guys are counting the hits and ignoring the misses here.

    For every Einstein there’s a hundred Bob Lazars and Otis Rays.

  10. Agree that it’s only wrong depending on which goals you are looking at. Trump seems to be just using them as a negotiation tool, a means to an end rather than end itself
    As we can currently see trusting the experts that they are right on a narrow set of circumstances can have disastrous global impact.
    Look at the guy who came up with parallel universe theory, discouraged by the scorn of other physicists he ended his physics career after completing his PhD. Although disregarded in his lifetime, the theory received more credibility with the discovery of quantum decoherence in the 1970s and has received increased attention in recent decades, becoming one of the mainstream interpretations of quantum mechanics alongside Copenhagen, pilot wave theories, and consistent histories.
    One lone guy rejected by his peers and whose work languished undiscovered for decades

  11. The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton*, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

    Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

    * Robert Fulton – designer of the first practical steamboat and submarine

  12. “Robert Fulton – designer of the first practical steamboat …”: not even close; the first practical steamboat was the Charlotte Dundas. Fulton had actually turned up to watch her trials.

    For the first ever you could count Papin’s: “In 1705, Papin constructed a ship powered by his steam engine, which was mechanically linked to paddles. This made him the first to construct a steam-powered boat (or vehicle of any kind).”

    There are others you could pick at but none of them Fulton’s.

  13. P.S. They laughed at Columbus because he had got the diameter of the Earth badly wrong (which was inexcusable) and – it turned out – the size of Eurasia wrong too. Was his first journey the most successful cock-up in history?

  14. There’s an open letter from around 21st March 2020 from 2300 Swedish academics that their government’s pandemic policy is wrong.

  15. ‘the diameter of the Earth badly wrong (which was inexcusable) and – it turned out – the size of Eurasia wrong too’.

    deareime: I’d always assumed the above was a deliberate lie to persuade Isabella to finance him. Or maybe he was just an early climate changer, fooling himself into believing what he wanted.

  16. Bloke in North Dorset

    I was listening to a podcast on peer review and Covid and how laymen have been finding errors in papers and this story about Einstein and peer eview cames up. Its told in a number pf places around the web:

    It was only after Einstein came to the US in 1935 that he came face to face with the peer review process. He and his younger colleague, Nathan Rosen, sent a paper on gravitational waves to Physical Review, a journal which had established its reputation as the premier physics journal in the US. The paper had the potential to be highly controversial as it challenged the idea that gravitation was a wave.

    John Tate, the editor of the journal, hesitated over Einstein’s paper for a month. He then send it to a reviewer for comments – his selected reviewer was probably the famously gossipy Howard Percy Robertson, one of Einstein’s colleagues at Princeton. The reviewer returned ten pages of comments which cast doubt on many of the central claims in the paper. The editor returned these comments to Einstein, asked him to consider the issues, and make any changes he saw necessary. Here is how Einstein reacted:

    We (Mr. Rosen and I) had sent you our manuscript for publication and had not authorised you to show it to specialists before it is printed. I see no reason to address the – in any case erroneous – comments of your anonymous expert. On the basis of this incident I prefer to publish the paper elsewhere.

    The podcast for those interested.

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