NEW CAMPAIGN! How do you feel about trade restrictions?

MEDIA ALERT: Today, tomorrow, and Thursday Jim Babka guest-hosts a radio talk-show. See details below today’s announcement…
How do you feel about trade restrictions? Register your opinion. #Freetrade #Protectionism Retweet
Good news! We’ve just posted a new polling campaign on the Zero Aggression Project website. This one is about trade restrictions. Please go there and do the following…

  • Register your opinion
  • Be one of the first to sign a petition on this issue
  • Check out the educational resources we’ve created for this subject — our campaign deals with 14 different arguments about this issue.
  • Share this new campaign with others

You can visit the campaign here.
If you like the progress we’re making, please consider fueling our work by making a contribution or starting a monthly pledge. You can do that Zero Aggression Project contribution form.
ZAP The State and have a nice day,
Jim Babka & Perry Willis
Co-creators, the Zero Aggression Project
Today (Monday), tomorrow (Tuesday) and Thursday (August 3, 4, and 6), LIVE on talk radio, Jim Babka will guest-HOST Gary Nolan’s top-rated, radio show. It airs from 9 AM to Noon Central time.
The show broadcasts in Columbia and Jefferson City, MO. You can listen live at http://theeagle939.com/ — click on Listen Live, top right side of the page.

Show Comments 15


  1. “Free trade” with entities like China is equivalent to legalizing slave labor and uncontrolled dumping of pollutants.

    1. Hi Bruce. Is there slavery in China? It seems unlikely given that the Chinese people are growing more prosperous. Some people use words in funny ways, so as to deceive. Slavery means something very specific. It does NOT mean paying someone less than they would earn for the same work in America. Lower pay relative to America is exactly how the Chinese are ending their poverty, and benefiting us with a lower cost of living. This should be encouraged, not stigmatized by using words like slavery in a manipulative way.
      You have a stronger point when it comes to the pollution. But you are currently affluent and live in a cleaner environment precisely because America once did exactly the same thing. We polluted while we were lifting ourselves out of poverty, then cleaned up our act as we got richer. Are the levels of pollution they have in China really necessary today, given all the technology we now have to curtail such pollution? Probably not. But you’re not going to make the Chinese cure that problem by curtailing trade. Agreements that claim to do that really do something else — they protect established American interests from Chinese competition.
      The power you give U.S. politicians to curtail trade for the supposed purpose of ending Chinese “slavery” and pollution cannot be limited to just those purposes. That power will inevitably be used to benefit large established interests at the expense of both the Chinese and the American consumer. It’s a pact with the devil you should be unwilling to make.

      1. Reports are pretty firm that there _are_ numerous prisoners forced to work for government run for profit industries that export to the world market. And that many others are working in such hellish conditions they prefer suicide to continuing to live and work in such conditions.
        I personally feel that ‘Free trade’ as administered by the trade associations is just another format of cronyism.
        True Free Trade needs to be fully reciprocal. For every product we allow in without tariffs or restriction the other country needs to do the same. For every product they restrict we restrict a similar one.
        The same reciprocity needs to apply to em/immigration, environmental law, etc.
        Take Mexico for example publishing pamphlets telling their problematic (poor) classes how to sneak into the USA while forbidding US citizens from holding real estate in fee simple ownership. Should the US do the reverse you can be certain their would be massive outcry from Mexico and much of the global ‘liberal’ media – after all the people running and owning the media need their $3 hour laborers….

        1. HI JJ. Let’s assume for a moment that you’re correct about slavery in China, and correct that “fair trade” is the solution to that problem and others. How then are you going to get the politicians to enact the type of trade you envision? You already agree that the present approach to trade is really cronyism. Why do the politicians prefer that approach rather than your approach? The answer, of course, is that cronyism benefits them. How can we change that? I would submit that we cannot change it so long as politicians have the power the enforce any trade restrictions at all. The moment you give them that power they will use it in ways that benefit themselves and their cronies. Conversely…
          If you left the matter in the hands of consumers an effort could be made to expose products that use slave labor. Such an effort need not wait for politicians to change their spots. It can begin today, and will begin impacting the Chinese immediately. It might be countered that not all consumers will act to punish bad Chinese products in this way, but I don’t think that should be the criteria of analysis. Tariffs are themselves marginal, so you would only need a marginal response from consumers in order to match what could be done with a tariff. You would only need consumers to reject a product such that the resulting cost to the producer equals the cost of the proposed tariff. At that point the two approaches would be equivalent. Now…
          You may counter that what we really need is NOT a marginal tariff, but an outright ban on such products. This returns us to our original problem. How do you get politicians to enact precisely the remedy you want, while prohibiting them from using that same power for cronyistic purposes? The late great Harry Browne called this problem “The Dictator Fallacy.” We envision what we consider to be the perfect solution that we would enact if we were the Dictator. But we are not the Dictator. In fact, we have almost no influence on the process at all. But we nevertheless pretend that somehow the politicians will enact our vision. Alas, they never do. Instead, they do things that benefit themselves.
          In truth, the Voluntary Sector always provides strategies that can begin immediately while the political approach always offers virtual solutions that never actually materialize. This must necessarily be so because giving politicians the power to initiate force creates incentives that guarantee that result.

          1. I agree asking the politicians to engage in creating specific tariffs would not work- they would just become cronyism. Instead any tariff related law should specify the duties or tariffs of other countries as what the tariffs and duties on the products of this country are pinned to. If you tariff our tractors we tariff your cars, etc, etc,
            Preferably without even attaching specific tariffs- just if you have 10 tariffs of 10% on our 10 biggest exports to your nation we do the same to your 10 biggest imports, etc.
            This tit-for-tat is exactly what I think most people want and expect (and think is fair), but given the influence of money in our politics it is more along the lines of “let our biggest campaign donor export to you (don’t worry about tariffing the others who don’t donate enough to our campaigns) and we will reduce our tariffs against your favorites”.

          2. Hi JJ. Tit for tat sounds reasonable, but again, there’s no way to limit politicians to that. Whatever power you give them to do good will also be used to do bad. This is the problem inherent to political government that not even the Bill of Rights has been powerful enough to solve. That’s why we want to entirely remove the power to initiate force. The key to that is ending taxation. Fund government voluntarily. This would give us consumer controlled government. When citizens have the power to deny funding they will then have the complete control over government that voting can never provide. To make that happen we must sell people on the universal applicability of the Zero Aggression Principle. Creating such a social consensus will be difficult, but the first step in that direction is not difficult. That’s why our first goal is simply to make sure every American knows about the Zero Aggression Principle. We hope you decide to join us in this work.

      1. That “Hear, hear!” is for Bruce Hamilton’s comment. I feel that losing over half a trillion USD per year doing business with the rest of the world is very harmful to the US economy and standard of living

  2. I support protectionism. I feel that sending American money, jobs, manufacturing capacity and technology to Red China is a bad idea.

    1. Hi John. If that’s how you feel you should go to our campaign and register your opinion accordingly. You should also take the time to read our pages that deal with your objections. They are all very brief, and you can register your opinion about each argument. We invite disagreement. We also provide a mechanism for you to register your objection. We even provide petitions for you to promote your own view. You can do that here.

  3. I support free trade, but I believe that a lot of the treaties being sold “free trade deals” (such as the current one, TPP) are not that at all. If TPP is passed as it stands, it will seriously worsen the already excessive power copyright owners have, knocking out the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of the “first sale” right.
    Complicated political issues should not be decided by voters whose attention span is one sound bite.

    1. “complicated political issues should not be decided by voters whose attention span is one sound bite”
      Nor should they be decided by politicians who’s thought is on how to put their campaign financiers interests into a sound bite that fools the voters.
      Nor should it be decided by special interests and moneyed lobbyists.
      I guess that mean we need a dictatorship or king then right??? /sarcasm off.
      Seriously though the issue of voters lack of attention and politicians corruption goes hand in hand and their is little good mechanism for countering it at this time on the necessary scales for a true change.

      1. “I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.” –William F. Buckley, Jr.

        1. Hi Bruce. I would rather be governed only by the unanimous verdict of a jury that I had harmed another, than by any politician or any majority of voters.

      2. Hi JJ. It’s not a dictator or king that we need. What we need is consumer controlled government. When citizens have an absolute power to grant or deny funding most of the problems that plague us will be solved. Organizations do not wage war against their customers and donors. Nearly everything that ails our current so-called government will be solved when we create a social consensus in favor of the Zero Aggression Principle.

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