Acton Institute Powerblog

Work Is Not About You: How Theology Can Save Us from Trade Protectionism

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It’s become rather predictable to hear progressives promote protectionist rhetoric on trade and globalization. What’s surprising is when it spills from the lips of the leading Republican candidate.

Donald Trump has made opposition to free trade a hallmark of his campaign, a hole that his competitors have been slow to exploit. In the most recent CNN debate, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich each echoed their own agreement in varying degrees, voicing slight critiques on tariffs but mostly affirming Trump’s ambiguous platitudes about trade that is “free but fair.”

Why so much silence?

Unfortunately, as Tim Carney details at length, voters are biting and swallowing what Trump is peddling, and conservatives are struggling to find solutions that sell. “Conservatives may scoff at this Made in America mindset as economically illiterate,” he writes. “But politically, it seems to be a winner.”

As for why such positions are harmful, Joe Carter has written at length on the issue, outlining why so-called “trade deficits” are not what they seem and how the typical protectionist responses end up hurting the American worker and global economy (similar, no doubt, to the same approaches to labor and immigration). Academic studies bear this out from every corner of the ideological spectrum. As Carney aptly summarizes, “Paul Krugman, Milton Friedman and every economist in between has concluded that open international trade improves the welfare of all countries involved.”

But alas, despite the weight of the economic evidence, the cultural backlash from everyday Americans has roots that go a bit deeper. For most Americans, economic policy is not about the long-term prosperity of America or global humanity. It’s about security and self-preservation, plain and simple.

In a series at The Stream (Part 1, Part 2), I highlight this reality, and the response it requires, noting how the temporal, materialistic promises of protectionism can only be countered by appealing to the true and transcendent.

It’s one thing to see the hockey stick graphs on global prosperity and shout “hooray.” It’s another to be willing and ready to take the punches and make sacrifices when economic progress bumps your preferred resume and retirement plan in the wrong direction. To be prepared for that you need to have healthy understanding of what work is actually for and why we’re spinning our wheels in the first place.

Supporting free trade doesn’t just require a tweak in our macroeconomic theorizing. It demands a full-scale adjustment of our attitudes and imaginations. Which is why the failure of modern conservatism to combat trade protectionism is not just a failure to communicate economics; it’s a failure to promote a holistic philosophy of life and a healthy theology of work, one that’s oriented not toward a self-constructed “American dream,” but toward an authentic pursuit of full-scale freedom, good stewardship and human flourishing. Conservatives have been talking for so long about tax cuts and entrepreneurship and trade as paths to prosperity that we seem to have forgotten the purpose of the work itself.

As Lester DeKoster reminds us, work is ultimately about “service to others and thus to God,” and thus, expanded channels for distribution bring tremendous potential, whether as nonbelieving creators seeking to create or as Christians seeking to love our neighbors and glorify God.

“Work restores the broken family of humankind,” DeKoster continues. “Through work that serves others, we also serve God, and he in exchange weaves the work of others into a culture that makes our work easier and more rewarding … As seed multiplies into a harvest under the wings of the Holy Spirit, so work multiplies into a civilization under the intricate hand of the same Spirit.”

It may seem like a small shift, but it matters a great deal in how we respond to things like trade policy and economic freedom:

Though it will pain many Americans to hear it, and contrary to the nationalistic whispers of Trumpian protectionism or the materialistic voodoo of #FeeltheBern mercantilism, work is not ultimately about you…

If work is about service to others, no longer should Foreigner X or Migrant Worker Y or Unskilled Laborer Z be viewed as “stealing your job,” though the frustration will surely persist. Instead, we should realize that they, like us, are finally able to participate in the global economy, offering their own forms of service and their own unique gifts and talents in new and efficient ways. They are participating in God’s grand design for work.

Through this lens, the prospect of job loss is no longer an occasion to mope about what was or wasn’t an “American job” in years gone by. The pain and nostalgia will likely endure, but we can remain hopeful and confident in knowing our work is not done. In these cases, job loss is simply a signal of how we might best use our time on behalf of others. It’s an opportunity to adapt and retool, to serve the community in new and better ways, as uncomfortable and inconvenient as it may be. That’s going to require an entire shift in the imagination of America, but it’s one that will revive and replenish far more than surface-level economic growth.

As I conclude, America is not insulated from its competitors, whether we pretend to be or not. We are closer to our neighbors, and that is a good and beautiful and promising thing if we respond accordingly, reorienting our hands and our hearts from a work that secures and accrues to one that serves and sustains.

Read the full series at The Stream: Part 1, Part 2

Joseph Sunde is an associate editor and writer for the Acton Institute. His work has appeared in venues such as The Federalist, First Things, The City, The Christian Post, The Stream, Charisma News, Juicy Ecumenism, Ethika Politika, Made to Flourish, and the Center for Faith and Work. Joseph resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and four children.


  • Alice Blue

    You haven’t answered the question: what difference does it make how cheap the shirts are at Walmart once your income goes to zero?

    • Joseph Sunde

      You’re right, because that’s not a question I’m asking.

      • AndRebecca

        You seem to be misquoting the Bible with your work and service statements. The Bible isn’t about Socialism.

        • Exactly! The Torah set up a government without an executive branch or legislative branch. It had no taxes, no standing army or police. It had only judges and the law. The Torah sanctified private property. The scholars of Salamanca used the Torah to devise the principles of capitalism.

          • AndRebecca

            The Protestants, starting with Calvin invented capitalism, according to history including Marxist history. The Spanish and Portuguese have not practiced capitalism as we know it.

          • Max Weber fabricated that nonsense. Catholic priests, the scholars of Salamanca distilled the basic economic concepts in the 16th century. Unfortunately, Catholic countries would not listen to them. Only Protestant countries implemented their idea, beginning with the Dutch Republic, then England and the US.

          • AndRebecca

            Every Protestant writer out there has made ethical statements on work. Max Weber didn’t invent anything. Charles Spurgeon in his book “Being God’s Friend,” pg. 48-49 said this about work, ” We should obey God’s Word in regard to continuing in honest industry. “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called” (1 Corinthians 7:20) ” Many people in the present trying financial crisis are half-ready to resign from their work or run away from their businesses because they have toiled all night and have nothing to show for it”…”Christians must not leave their posts’…”Provide things honest in the sight of all men (Romans 12:17)”…”If I am speaking to any out of work just now, searching for some place where they can provide bread for themselves and their families, as is their duty, let them hear and consider this: If any man does not do his best to provide for his own household, he does not come under a Gospel blessing but is said to be worse than a heathen and a publican (1 Timothy 5:8) It is the duty of all of us to work at something honorable so that we may have enough to give to the needy as well as to those dependent on us.”…Do you see what the “Protestant Ethic” means now? Capitalism was a consequence of it, not the ethic itself. As far as the Dutch Republic, the people who built America from the ground up, knew all about the hero William of Orange and wrote about him. William Bradford commented on the University of Leiden and did not have nice things to say about the people there (ex-Salamancan priests?). So, please, the protestant Ethic has nothing to do with the creation of Capitalism, except the people with the ethics used capitalism the right way and grew countries out of it. The Salamanca thing seems to be a fairly recent “discovery” from what I’ve read on the net and had some part in capitalism. Technology comes before science. The invention of a thing, such as metallurgy, comes before the scientific explanation of how it works. The works come before theories on the works. So, Catholics from Spain did not invent capitalism.

    • If your income goes to zero, get a job! Oh, wait, you can’t because the high taxes and destructive regulations have destroyed businesses’ ability to create jobs, just as they did in every socialist nation for the past 150 years.

      • Alice Blue

        Surely you’ve heard of the “jobless recovery”? Surely you’ve heard how we’ve been importing over 100K H-1bs, L-1s, and other alphabet soup visas every year to take whatever jobs remain? Surely you’ve heard of how working Americans are rounded up in profitable companies and introduced to their foreign replacements they are expected to train (you might want to read Computerworld)? Surely you’ve heard of offshore outsourcing? Good luck turning America into a gigantic replica of Thunderdome, thankfully most Americans are rejecting this vision for our country.

        • You are suffering from the illusion that the US is a free market nation. We have not been such since FDR became president and we are more socialist today than then. I agree that the US suffers from all of the problems you mention. But the problem isn’t free trade because we don’t have free trade and haven’t for almost a century.

          In every socialist country for the past 150 years, socialist blamed the failure of their policies on the free market or free trade and they’re doing it today. Most Americans are drinking the Kool-Aid because they are so gullible thanks to our poor educational system.

          As I wrote above, free trade and immigration were no problem at all in the golden years between the Civil War and WWI because we had truly free markets. We had freer trade with the world, massive immigration much greater than today, with low unemployment and rapidly growing wages. Socialists like you destroyed it.

  • Joseph Sunde

    As I write in the full article, work is partly for self-sustenance and self-provision (hearth and home), but thanks to the global economy, it can now be in service of much more. But if that work ceases to be sustainable in the actual economy (meaning the economy not manipulated by the government), and it needs to be artificially protected with walls and tariffs and subsidies and trade wars, and if it wouldn’t constitute a “living wage” without all that, it’s probably time to find new work. I’m not sure how local communities can actually, fully thrive when they’re being sustained by fantasies and nostalgia, enabled by restrictionist trade policies that will, at some time, inevitably fail.

    I’m not telling working Americans that they should “willingly” lose their jobs in order to help foreign workers. I’m telling working Americans they should work hard to contribute to their communities, and if the market starts telling them their work is worth Value X, and that number is not good enough for them, they should either increase their value somehow or adjust vocations in a way that actually serves people. I myself have been laid off due to globalization. It hurt. But I don’t believe my response should’ve been, “If only the government had protected me from those meanies who are offering more value for the work.” When those pressures come, our response should be to re-think and re-tool.

    If true conservatives are for authentic, thriving, and flourishing communities (and I believe we are), I cannot fathom a conservative argument for artificially propping up communities via trade trickery by the federal government. That is “fake it till you make it” progressivism (which is why Bernie Sanders holds the same position as Trump). To think that barriers and subsidies in the service of old factories and dying industries are going to be the medicine the community needs is to be a materialist, not a conservative concerned with the transcendent. To ask for the federal government to artificially intrude on free exchange and stifle your competition on behalf of “what’s yours” is nothing more than territorialism, rent seeking and crony capitalism with faux communitarian frosting.

    • RCPreader

      Thanks for your reply.

      I see several big problems here:

      1) Repeated references to the “artificial” vs. “actual economy.” This is a fundamental error that reflects a misunderstanding of economies and governments. All economies are a function of the legal, cultural, physical etc. frameworks in which they operate. There are no “artificial” vs. “actual” economies. Different government policies — they can be as small as changes in accounting rules — yield different economies. There is no such thing as an economy not “manipulated by the government.”

      (For the record, I don’t support quotas or other ‘choosing winners’ approaches, which in practice turn into cronyism. I would support a uniform system of tariffs reflecting SOME of the difference between the US and other countries in terms of wages, worker protections, environmental protections, etc. I would also support responses to currency manipulations by other countries.) (Hey, if China manipulates its currency to make its exports more competitive and imports from us non-competitive, wouldn’t that qualify as ‘artificial’ in your book? But you maintain that a response to this would also be ‘artificial’ and, hence, we just have to suck it up and live with it?)

      2) I see no response to my remark about immigration, probably because there is none to be made. Do we have nation-states or don’t we? If we do, we need to think in terms of them and about the well-being of people in ours. If we don’t, better be prepared to have a global median life (both economically and politically). Or, at least, to condemn other Americans to one.

      3) As for telling people to ‘increase their value somehow’ or ‘shift vocations’ or ‘re-think and re-tool’, if this worked well we wouldn’t be in the state we’re in. I can imagine how flippant this sounds to people in these situations. It’s time to step out from behind abstract ideology and look at the facts on the ground.

      4) It is so outrageous to claim that a person who supports trade barriers is a “materialist” while a person who wants no trade barriers is concerned with the “transcendent” that I don’t even know how to reply, other than to note that this offers a vivid, in-your-face confirmation of my very worst suspicions re Acton.

      • “There is no such thing as an economy not “manipulated by the government.”

        Yes, there is and the US enjoyed it until FDR. The state has a role to play in protecting people from the threats to life, liberty and property. Free marketeers have always insisted on that role. But the state has no right or authority to prevent people freely trading with foreigners.

        “I would support a uniform system of tariffs reflecting SOME of the difference between the US and other countries in terms of wages, worker protections, environmental protections, etc. I would also support responses to currency manipulations by other countries”

        You make a distinction between what you like and don’t like, but there is no difference. The things you support are the very things that cause corruption. BTW, no one on this planet manipulates its currency more than the US.

        “…if this worked well we wouldn’t be in the state we’re in.”

        I have to agree with you there. ‘Increase their value somehow’ or ‘shift vocations’ or ‘re-think and re-tool’ only work in a free market, which we don’t have. In fact, nothing works in a socialist economy. History proves that socialism dramatically impoverishes people and nothing alleviates the suffering other than returning to a free market.

    • AndRebecca

      We survived very well with restrictive trade policies going clear back to colonial days. You need to read the “New World Order,” by H.G. Wells before supporting it.

  • Joseph Sunde

    That’s not the argument I’m making. Have a nice day.

  • Your description of conservatism makes it very little different from socialism.

    Yes, protectionism is economically illiterate because econ looks at the effects on everyone for the long run and not just on the short run. Yes, some businesses get hurt with free trade. No one has ever denied that. What econ proves, however, is that the benefits to the entire nation for the long run are much higher than the trivial costs to those who lose their jobs and can get jobs in other businesses.

    • RCPreader

      Your description of conservatism makes it sound identical to classical liberalism or economic libertarianism, with which it has always existed in tension. (And no, what I am talking about is nothing like socialism. Unless you believe that most countries, including the US for much of its history, were once socialist, which requires a very odd definition of socialism.)

      Economics does not remotely prove that the benefits to a nation from trade are much greater than the losses. Not remotely! This is a complete fiction. Economics shows that trade yields a NET benefit across both (or all) nations involved. Some nations may experience a net benefit and others a net loss. (This does not require irrationality because particular parties within a nation experience a benefit from trade and hence engage in it, even if it yields a net loss to their nation as a whole.) Virtually all honest economists today recognize that trade has resulted, in the US, in a redistribution of income from the working class and middle class to elites, but not a net benefit to the US as a whole.

      • Yes, you are promoting socialist principles. The fact that you don’t know it only advertises your ignorance of socialism. BTW, I don’t try to define socialism; I merely use the definition given by leading socialist thinkers, which has changed over time.

        Yes, economics does “prove that the benefits to a nation from trade are much greater than the losses.” Again, claiming it doesn’t only advertises your ignorance of the field.

        By “honest economists” I assume you mean socialist economists, such as Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz or Robert Reich. Krugman promoted free trade in his books and has only recently opposed it, but he and the other know that their socialism contradicts everything learned in economics for the past 300 years. That doesn’t make them honest. Find a survey of members of the AEA and you’ll discover that all but a few hard core socialists favor unlimited free trade.

        Krugman, Stiglitz and Reich intend to destroy the credibility of the field of economics that gave them the authority they enjoy.

      • AndRebecca

        Right the benefits have gone to the elites in a larger proportion than the original capitalists would have wanted.

        • I agree, but that is because we have been socialist since FDR. Elites would have no advantage under capitalism. There are two reasons the elites and large corps get almost all of the gains from growth: 1) Federal reserve inflation policy and 2) rent seeking, which means that the large corps bribe Congress for hand outs and favors.

    • AndRebecca

      We’ve had foreign trade in America since colonial times. Americans aren’t worried about normal free trade.

      • Not true. Hoover’s Smoot-Hawley tariff in the early 1930s destroyed international trade and it didn’t achieve previous levels until about 2000.

        What is abnormal free trade?

  • There were no “robber barons” of the gilded age. That has been proven to be socialist propaganda by dozens of authors. The Morgans and Rockefellers were honest business people who helped make the US rich and powerful.

  • From the Civil War to WWI the US enjoyed the freest international trade and most open immigration in its history according to many historians, but especially Robert Higgs. At the same time, employment grew at records rates as did wages and standards of living. The US has never seen such good economic growth since then. What changed?

    Raging socialism since FDR has destroyed the market’s ability to create jobs. Socialism destroys jobs, but socialists blame capitalism, free trade, foreigners and immigration. If we had capitalism in the US, no one would complain about trade and immigration because businesses couldn’t find enough workers and would pay high wages.

    Opposition to free trade and free, totally open immigration, came from the socialists of Europe before WWI because their stupid policies destroyed job creation. Those who oppose open immigration and free trade are demonstrating their endorsement of socialist principles even as they claim not to be socialists. It’s all a terrible indictment of our educational system.

    • AndRebecca

      You are way off on this. “Protectionism tells consumers they are criminals?” Huh?

      • Try importing something that is banned and see if Uncle Same doesn’t treat you as as criminal. Or try getting around high tariffs and see if you can stay out of jail.

      • Try importing more sugar than the federal quota allows and see if you can stay out of jail!

    • AndRebecca

      We stopped immigration in the 1920s due to the very bad behavior of the immigrants. We need to do it again.

      • No, we stopped immigration because socialists had convinced people that jobs were limited and immigrant would take them. Opposition to immigration started with socialists and socialists promote it to this day in order to take the focus off their failed policies.

  • AndRebecca

    Actually the robber barons didn’t invent the Protestant Work Ethic. Try reading the Marxists before you have a problem with America in days gone by, and read a few Protestants as well. America has always had the highest standard of living for workers and bosses alike. Today, with crony capitalism and socialism ruling the country, we have economic divides we’ve never seen before, and they are on purpose. We are being turned into a third world country. Christian liberty out, Leftism in.

  • The posts opposing this article demonstrate a sad ignorance of economics. No economist at any time any where has said that countries compete on wages. They don’t. They compete on total labor costs, which account for productivity and quality. Even today, the total labor costs of American workers is much lower than in most countries, even China because of our high productivity and quality. Anyone who has taken an intro to Econ class knows this.

    The only sectors in which US labor competes strictly on wages is textiles and toys because those sectors are labor intensive, but those jobs left the US immediately after WWII. No American could afford to buy textiles and toys made with the high wages in the US. Textiles and toys are low productivity sectors because they are difficult to automate and so require huge amounts of manual labor.

  • If you want more than Congress allows, yes you would have to smuggle it in.

    • AndRebecca

      I have a problem with the government only allowing certain bakers to make all of the bread in the super-markets. They favor certain companies over others. I have the same problem with all the other products. I have a problem with the nasty music played overhead when I shop, and I have a problem with the selection of women’s magazines, which promote whatever the latest government propaganda is… Although, very recently they’ve been promoting having children. I really question their motives on that one, though.

  • Well that just shows how stupid the left if. You should check out the post on the scholars of Salamanca on Wikipedia as as good start. But the Acton Institute has published the best book on it by Alejandro Chaufen, “Faith and Liberty: The Economic Thought of the Late Scholastics.”

    The Puritans were way off on their economics until the early 17th century when they came around to the Late Scholastic thinking.

    • AndRebecca

      Please, you don’t think what the Spanish and Portuguese have done is capitalism. The people in Middle Europe had been using some capitalistic ideas for profit before Calvin. They were the merchants and artisans and inventors who came before their descendants started the Industrial Revolution. The modern world was started by people other than the Spanish and Portuguese, and certainly not by Austrian Libertarians.

      • As I wrote, the Catholic nations never followed the advice or principles of their best scholars. No, no one had capitalism before the Dutch Republic. Capitalism is far more than business for profit or double entry book keeping. Capitalism is a set of institutions that protect property and promote business. It requires manufacturing for the masses, honest police and courts and limited government. It also requires individualism and respect for business, which didn’t exist before the Salamancan scholars, especially in the Church.

        Besides, socialism has merchants and artisans and inventors. Capitalism is so much more, but the opposite of what we have today in the US.

        You must not be reading my posts because you keep repeating something about the Portuguese and Spanish. The Salamancan scholars who distilled the principles of capitalism lived in Spain and Portugal, but those nations never implemented their ideas. They stuck with the medieval economy. One of the last scholars promoting the ideas of the Salamancan scholars was Lessius who taught in the Dutch Republic. The Dutch Protestants embraced those capitalist ideas and created the first capitalist nation. That’s why Weber was fooled into thinking Protestantism invented capitalism..

        • AndRebecca

          We were talking about the start of capitalism which happened along with modern civilization in only parts of four major countries in the world: England, France, Germany and America. There were smaller countries like the Dutch Republic and Switzerland involved as well. These countries traded with each other and they had trade routes to the orient before the Turks cut them off in 1453. I’m sure the Spanish Inquisition had something to do with a transfer of knowledge to the Protestants, also. Many Protestants like Paul Revere Anglicized their names after leaving Spain and France. The Protestants used every bit of knowledge they acquired, including writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans. They also required reading Greek and Latin in their universities and pushed science. When modern medicine was started here in the U.S., the Hippocratic Oath was revived with good effect. Now, along with getting rid of Christianity in America, we have gotten rid of classes on reason and logic as well. I’m think I’m reading you right. You said capitalism was started in a Protestant country, but Protestants didn’t start capitalism. Kinda strange. Besides, the capitalistic system started in more than one place and key elements were added all the time. Anyone who reads the Puritans like William Perkins’ “Treatise of the Vocations,” will understand why Weber said what he did. Plus, Washington used capitalism to start America by selling off British lands and using the capital for projects.

          • Well first you have to define capitalism. You seem to hold to a socialist definition. You should check out the capitalist definition. Start with Adam Smith. Smith makes it clear that his system, which became known as capitalism, began in the Dutch Republic of the 17th century. Germany never had capitalism and France was marginally capitalist for a short time. Germany under Prussian domination was a military dictatorship which included state control of the economy. It adopted socialism then under Bismarck in the late 19th century.

            You have socialist propaganda well memorized. You ought to at least consider reading something from a capitalist viewpoint. And educated person has to understand both sides of any argument.

            What is so hard to understand about Catholic scholars distilling the principles of capitalism but Catholic governments rejecting it. Protestant countries embraced the principles because they didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. They could see that the principles developed by the Catholic scholars fit well with the Bible’s teachings.

            I’m only guessing, but I think Protestants were prepared to accept radically new ideas on economics because they had already embraced radically new ones in theology and government. Catholic nations, on the other hand, were all about preserving the status quo and that was anti-business and anti-free markets.

          • AndRebecca

            Are you the troll in residence? You are all over the place in your opinions. Why would I say Washington used capitalism to start America, if I had a socialist definition of capitalism? To your credit, your history is starting to come together a little, though. Germany had the “Thirty Years” War” and got rid of the Calvinists, and so caused 200 years of depression in that part of Europe. Try reading about it… The Calvinists in that area came to America, with the help of their brethren in England and Europe and prospered. You are right, I really have a hard time believing Catholics started capitalism in the Protestant countries of Europe! That idea has to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in years.

  • The original tariffs were for taxation to finance the government. Under FDR they became a tool of central planning to reward and punish businesses.

    You seem to be of the school of thought that capitalism consists only of small companies. It’s not, but large corps are among the greatest enemies of capitalism because of their control of regulatory agencies through donations to Congressmen. The US favors monopolies because FDR created cartels of large corporations in the style of fascism. He admired fascism and tried to remake the US in Mussolini’s image. We still have a form of fascism, which is a version of socialism, through the regulatory agencies that are controlled by corps. They see to it that most regulations do nothing but reduce competition from smaller firms, even though every single regulation they claim is for health and safety.

    • AndRebecca

      America was founded by people who knew about (fascist) socialism, and thought people would be crazy to want it. The problem from the beginning was how to keep the country in the hands of the citizens and not start a new ruling class with “a president, a senate, and congress instead of a king, lords and commons run by moneyed monopolists, land-jobbers, and heartless politicians” to paraphrase William Lyon Mackenzie’s prediction made in 1840. The crony capitalists of today, are all for themselves running everything through monopolies and other corrupt means.

      • Well fascism didn’t come along until Mussolini in the 1930s, but you’re right that evil people have taken over the country. But they’re not capitalists, crony or otherwise. They’re socialists. Anyone familiar with economic history knows that monopolies are impossible in a free market. Look around you. All the monopolies you see have been created by the government. Every single one.

        • AndRebecca

          The government and big business are both in on monopolies…Lenin called the NAZIs “right wing socialists” and was on the side of Germany even before WWI. He sent people over here to sabotage our war effort. Then Russia was on the side of the Germans before WWII… We’ve had forms of both socialism and communism even before Marx. The radicals in England in the 1640s were called levelers, or levellers. And, Marx had a few communists here in America before 1848. Some of the fanatics before the 1930s no doubt had nationalistic tendencies and so could be called NAZIs.

          • Big businesses can achieve monopolies only buy buying them from the government, which has nothing to do with capitalism. It’s fascism. In a free market, even the largest corporations cannot achieve monopolies except for very short periods. It’s simply not possible. As soon as they start earning excess profits they attract competition and end their monopolies. Lasting monopolies are only possible by state edict.

            There is a big difference between having advocates of socialism that are a tiny minority in your country and having a state organized on the principles of socialism. Germany under Bismarck was the world’s first nation organized on socialist principles. Germany was first before WWI, then Russia, Italy and the US after WWI, then France, the UK after WWII.

          • AndRebecca

            Try reading my comment before you comment. You should also try reading history sometime. Everyone but you, believes France was the first socialist country, and that our socialist woes came from there.

  • I beg to differ. You’re as ignorant of both as any man on the street. I have a masters degree in economics and teach it at the college level. You clearly don’t even know what intro textbooks say about trade. I have used five different econ textbooks and read many more and all of them state affirmatively that the “benefits to a nation from trade are much greater than the losses.” If you have a textbook that says something different it was written by a socialist.

  • Guy Garofano

    What concerns many of us is not opening up markets per se – its all the other regulations, etc that go beyond trade (on the enviroment, labor, etc) which could (or do) supersede our Constitution – in other words supersedes our sovereignty as the United States Of America. The EU began as a free-trade bloc, and has become a political super-state in many ways.

    • I didn’t understand half the problem until I read Phil Hamburger’s (Columbia U Law) book “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?” I have thought the US has been socialist since FDR, but I didn’t know how bad it really is. Hamburger shows how much freedom we have lost through administrative law and how nearly absolute the executive branch’s control of business is. Very shocking and sad!

  • All you’r doing is regurgitating the excuses of the age for limiting immigration. They can’t have thought that immigrants suddenly became unruly or a different racial/ethnic makeup. That has always been the case with immigrants. Why didn’t people complain before? The real reason for the anti-immigration policies was that the US was desperately trying to imitate socialist Germany and they had resurrected hatred of immigrants because socialist policies had destroyed their economy. Socialists in the US feared the same thing happening here.

    No one in the US opposed immigration during the golden age of the economy between the Civil War and WWI. That’s because we had truly free markets and free trade so the economy generated more jobs than even massive immigration could fill. And wages soared even as the population tripled through immigration. But beginning with the socialist Wilson, the US government began destroying jobs and raising fears of unemployment. Also, the vanguard of socialism in the US, the unions, feared competition from immigrants.

    BTW, the American Economic Association was began in the 1880s by Americans who studied economics under the socialists in Germany and wanted to replicate Germany’s socialism in the US.

    • AndRebecca

      Your reply is really ignorant. We have had limited immigration during all periods of our country, in order to protect the people already here. It was not until the 1960s that the Leftists in this country started opening up immigration to just about anyone and now Obama has really opened it up. It is to increase Leftist thinking in this country. Many Libertarians are for open borders as well, due to their agreement with the Left that anarchy is a good thing, and drugs and prostitution are great as well.

  • Peter Stevens

    The first law ever passed by the Federal government of the United States was a tariff and the protectionist policies only escalated from there. The American Gilded Age was a period of the fastest economic growth in the known history of mankind and occurred within the context of very protectionist policies. Corroborate your free trade fanaticism with empirical evidence and historical examples if you want to be taken seriously.