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A modest proposal on economic policy

By Larry Eubank
web posted June 20, 2011 

I have a great idea for an industrial policy for the United States: Let's quit making anything.

That's been our policy so far, so let's just carry it to its logical conclusion. Let's quit manufacturing anything at all – let's quit making any tangible goods whatsoever. Other countries can do that far cheaper than we can – especially those countries with third-world wage rates and a peasant economy.

Let's take our remaining machinery, factories, production equipment, and everything, ship them all to China or Indonesia or Mexico or any other nation that can produce goods cheaper than we can.

Let's also take the productive, investment capital we would otherwise have spent here, on infrastructure, labor, jobs, rents, taxes, and all other production expenses, and send all that capital abroad. Let's disinvest from the U.S. economy, and invest in foreign economies – because we want to build the wealth and productive capacity of China, Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia; we don't care any longer about building our own economy.

In short, let's make nothing. From now on, let's refuse to produce and only consume. Of course, we won't be able to keep that up indefinitely – the imbalance in that strategy is obvious. But like Scarlett O'Hara, let's think about that tomorrow; that's soon enough to consider the question of what to do when we go absolutely, totally bankrupt. Let's spend now, and worry later.

If anybody challenges the wisdom of such a policy, let's excoriate them and call them names – like "Luddite," "protectionist," "reactionary." Let's yell "Smoot-Hawley Tariff" over and over at the top of our lungs, until everybody has stopped listening and run away. We'll throw in the term "beggar-thy-neighbor policy," and chortle moronically about how "They're making things for us cheaper than we can make them ourselves, haw, haw, haw!"

While we're at it, let's give China and other countries advanced, secret technology. Since we're at their mercy, needing them to produce everything we use every day, we can have no secrets from them. Give them everything. Teach their youngsters in our universities – teach them nuclear physics, advanced computer technology, and everything they need to take our place in the world.

 Let's take the superb industrial capacity, which made us a wealthy nation and the "arsenal of democracy," and made possible the highest standard of living in the world for middle-class blue-collar workers, and let's throw it all away like a bunch of idiot children. Let's abandon the source and origin of our prosperity and power; let's throw away the legacy of 200 years of hard work by our ancestors, and convert our economy to one based on taking in one another's laundry.

 In short, let's produce nothing; import everything, go into debt up to our eyebrows to live, and hunker down in ignorance and denial while we wait for the final apocalypse. That's the Wall Street Journal's policy. That's the Democratic Party's policy, and Robert Reich's, and Paul Krugman's, and Barack Obama's. And, if you're an enlightened, big-hearted economic liberal it should be yours too. Après nous, le déluge! ESR

Larry Eubank's web site can be found at http://www.larryeubank.com/ © 2011

 

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