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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mini Fisk-Trading With the Enemy

After I argued that trade with China is a security risk to this country and ideally should be banned, anonymous replied with this comment. Here is a mini fisk.

Once againg you leave behind free markets for conservative rubbish. You argue that the Left knew that boycotting South Africa would be a good thing, etc. But in fact that helped keep the Nationalists in power in SA longer.

Marxists orchestrated the ostracism of South Africa for many years. Eventually the Afrikaner/National party elite tossed the towel, freed Mandela and abolished Apartheid. How the hell did the ostracism in any way extend the Apartheid era?

Free trade is the best means of changing regimes not trade boycotts --- of course we see how well that worked in Cuba where the US boycott is now almost half a century old and Castro still lingers on.

Free trade really stopped Hitler in his tracks didn't it. Hitler's war machine was helped significantly by Western nations trading with Germany in the '30s. I'll bet many of the athletes who went to the '36 Olympics naively thought they were aiding world peace. Instead they aided the German propaganda machine.

Why is there now general agreement that Chamberlain's appeasement policy towards Hitler was a cowardly failure, but Western appeasement of the despicable tyrant, Hu Jintao is somehow praiseworthy? Had the Nazis been ostracised in the mid '30s, WW2 may never have occurred.

Sure the US boycott of Cuba has not toppled Castro, but is has sure slowed him down. Had Canada, Latin America and Western Europe also shown the same resolve, Castro would have been hung by his heels from a lamp post long ago.

Banning trade or restricting trade is not liberalism, it is not libertarianism, it is not free markets. It is socialist interventionism.

Here's a hypothetical question for you anon. You are Minister of Defence in the 2017 ACT/Libz coalition government. Tasmania is run by a fundamentalist Old Testament cult and is on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon. They have made threatening noises about bringing on Armageddon and are suspected of sinking several NZ fishing
vessels.

The SIS informs you that an NZ company is supplying vital computer technology which the Tasmanian leaders need to complete their nuclear weapons programme.

Do you

A Let the sales proceed because to stop them would be interfering with free trade and would be unlibertarian?

B Ban trade in the said technology because you believe that the state's obligation to protect all of its citizens from attack far outweighs the right of a company to aid and trade with an enemy power?

Remember anon, I am a libertarian, NOT an anarchist. I believe the state's chief role is national defence. That the state has an obligation to stop trade in certain products, or with certain powers if that trade creates a security problem is a perfectly libertarian proposition.

Would you, as a libertarian Minister of Defence stop trade in any circumstances? Would you for instance allow an NZ company to sell ammunition to a country we were formally at war with?

If not, why not?

If so, would you then front up to the mum's and widow's of dead kiwi soldiers and explain that the NZ made bullets that killed their loved ones were sold to uphold the principles of unconditional free trade?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not the same Anonymous person who made those comments.

I personally think that neither free trade nor trade embargos with China are a good idea.

With the embargos on Iraq, Saddam's regime was weakened relative to other countries but strengthened within the country. Embargos on countries with plenty of fertile land and a large population base do far less of either.

Free trade with China would result in some NZ firms collapsing and local jobs lost based purely on the unethical practices allowed in China. Wages in China are pushed down by allowing sweat shop conditions to exist, having unionists shot and having no environmental regulation. Thousands of political prisoners are used as slaves. Poor people aren't compensated when their houses get knocked down to build factories or Olympic stadiums. Tariffs could be used to prevent the cost of these morally abhorrent policies from spilling over into the local economy. I do think that the trade of weapons or other dangerous goods with China should be banned. I also think that Chinese firms should be prevented from buying up local productive assets.

Fortunately the people in China are starting rise up against the Communist party. There have been reports that many anti-government riots have happened recently.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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7:15 AM  
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6:22 PM  

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