Heh. Vox Day believes bureaucrats know better than you

So Vox Day belives that he has refuted Gary North’s excellent articles on free trade.  One of the people who still attend to VD’s site queried Mr. North concerning VD’s supposed refutation.  Gary North very graciously responded.

VD also makes the astonishingly silly claim that he has found 13 errors in Henry Hazlitt’s arguments for free trade.

Well, I wonder how he’d handle this argument: “Keep your dang hands off my rightfully purchased Chinese-manufactured goods, you looney Statist!”  Because VD is unwilling or unable to grasp the concept that all trade creates wealth, he had relegated himself to the Economic Nationalist Club, and frets over lost jobs and such.  He doesn’t even seem to grasp the basic principle that, while resources are scarce, human wants are unlimited.  There can never be a “job shortage”, apart from government intervention–intervention for which VD declares his support.  “People are too stupid to make their own decisions” is what his argument boils down to.

He claims that, while the theory of free trade has been “thoroughly demolished”, one can also look to the practical history of free trade to see that free trade “cannot work”.  Sorry, but the vast, internal free trade market that is comprised of the United States (plural, not singular, you buffoon) pretty much demolishes the protectionists arguments.  Hong Kong and Singapore do a bang up job on them, as well.

I’m reading his arguments against Hazlitt, and they carry an obvious presumption of economic nationalism, coupled with the flawed view that trade is “win-lose”.  He thinks that protective tariffs can make workers better off by keeping domestic manufacturers from fleeing to countries that offer lower wages.  Implicit in this argument is that consumers will continue to purchase the higher priced domestically manufactured good as long as the product can’t be procured more cheaply elsewhere.  He doesn’t consider that people might eventually decide that whatever product that company makes (shoes, cars, computers) just isn’t worth the price, and that they’d rather do without than pay the extra $5.  He also doesn’t seem to understand that the workers themselves do double-duty as consumers, and that though a worker might be helped by having a particular job (remember, there is no such thing as a “shortage of jobs” without gov’t intervention), he is hurt in his role as a consumer by higher prices.  The question one must consider is whether the worker has a higher standard of living by keeping his current job with higher prices, or by taking a different job and enjoy lower prices?  In other words, would the worker prefer to buy an American-made TV for $300 and a stack of TV dinners, or a Chinese-made TV for $100 and take his family to the Olive Garden, with money left over for other things?  Which makes him better off?

This guy really needs to lay off Buchanan and take up Bastiat.  Every argument he brings up is refuted by that astounding Frenchman.

Something else I should mention is that the “ilk” (as commentors on his site call themselves) are criticising Mr. North for making an “argument from authority”.  What he is really doing is pointing out that Vox Day’s claim to be a proponent of the Austrian School is fraudulent, since VD must throw out much of Mises’ own writings on economics in order to hold to his protectionist economic nationalism.

Edit: Okay, in his argument #7, he says that workers are also consumers, so I wasn’t correct in my claim he doesn’t understand that point, but he fails to apply it properly.  Also, he fails to see that long-term unemployment is impossible apart from gov’t intervention.  It is not due to trade, free or otherwise, that people “can’t find a job”.  He also seems to have an erroneous grasp of “Say’s Law”, declaring that “supply magically creates its own demand”.  What Say’s law says (as I understand it)  is more along the lines of “one produces something for the purpose of consumption, whether he consumes the product he made or trades it to someone else for something he wants.”


One Response to “Heh. Vox Day believes bureaucrats know better than you”

  1. Yep, I pretty much have been amazed at Vox’s bizarre position on this. Its a strange stance to take for an Austrian libertarian…highly inconsistent.

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