Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Biden: Wow

We still hear from "lefties" (or left-impersonators based in St. Petersberg) who insist that Joe Biden is a corporatist sell-out.


I did not expect to see such a document. Joe Biden is going all-in on populism.

I hope that his pledge to invest heavily in infrastructure gains widespread approval. In truth, what he's saying does not greatly differ from what Trump said in 2016. Of course, Trump lied: He has done nothing about our deteriorating infrastructure, even though this is the one issue on which he would have had strong backing from Democrats. 

Biden's pledge to revive the American auto industry should resonate with many Americans. Revitalization must be a government goal; laissez-faire won't do the job. The brutal logic of unfettered global capitalism is what ruined our auto industry in the first place. We can get those jobs back only if we stop listening to the fucking libertarians.

About ten years ago, Ha-Joon Chang's Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism reminded the world that Toyota would still be making looms (and nothing else) if the Japanese government had not decided that the country would one day become an automotive giant -- a goal which took decades to accomplish. This summary is worth quoting:
Government subsidies helped the company [Toyota] develop their first car. Decades of high import tariffs protected it from foreign competition as it grew into a serious contender. Domestic content laws both made sure the company used parts made within the country, and also guaranteed that domestic competitors would have to, thus building a strong base of domestic companies supportive of an auto industry, from tires to plastic components to precision machine tools and electronics.

In 1939 the country even kicked out both GM and Ford from sales within the country, and the nation's single wholly-owned bank bailed out the struggling textile manufacturer as it moved relentlessly forward in the development of an automobile.

That company, originally known as The Toyoda Automatic Loom Company, is today known as Toyota, and manufactures the infamous Lexus that Tom Friedman mistakenly thought was successful because the world is "flat" and trade is "free." In fact, the success of the Lexus (and the Prius and every other Toyota) is entirely traceable to massive government intervention in the markets by Japan over a fifty-year period that continues to this very day.
Looks like Biden has been reading Ha-Joon Chang.

Granted, Biden's plan is really a list of desiderata; he does not detail how he intends to bell so many cats. If the country falls into a deep recession in 2021 (as I suspect it will), he'll have far fewer resources to accomplish this vision. Still, I draw some encouragement from the fact that Biden's 2020 populist rhetoric mirrors Trump's 2016 populist rhetoric, just as I drew encouragement from the fact that Andrew Yang had fans on both the left and the right. Maybe the American public is finally starting to awaken from its Ayn Randian trance. 

I hope that some of our "woke" young people can appreciate a truly progressive economic vision. Economics is fundamental. Must the entire national dialogue continually be about RACE RACE RACE and SEX SEX SEX? We need to talk about JOBS JOBS JOBS.

We also need to talk about saving the damn planet. Joe's doing that.

1 comment:

joseph said...

Forget a smear, more effective is what Putin just did. Arrest your political rivals.