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November 11, 2016


John Jones

I have been an expat for nearly 25yrs and a beneficiary of globalisation. To export to the US is really easy and largely tax free. To Europe /UK is tuffer and attracts duties and VAT. The various govt agencies whilst no necessarily helpful aren't willfully obstructive or corrupt.
Trying to export from the US or Europe to most of Asia is extremely difficult. Govt officials are venal and govt policy is not to encourage imports. Containers rot in ports whilst Catch22 type rules are employed.

Tax avoidance is rife, amongst expats and companies. Worker exploitation is the norm and health and safety either none existent or ignored.
Perhaps 5million UK industrial jobs have been lost since the 1960's many of those are now in in Asia Brexit and Trump are both disasters which have roots in the unfairness inherent in globalisation.

Patrick Kirk


People that lives in the sticks are left out and no longer feel they belong. No amount of economic argument moves them to like that feeling. If you define globalization to mean mass immigration and free trade, people would take a cut in their living standards to get back to their idea of the "good old days."

Squirrel Nutkin

"tuffer"? How long did you say you've been away?

Patrick Kirk


As I said in my earlier post, Trump got votes of people whose standard of living is rising but whose identity/status is threatened. The money quote is:

"The economic woes people communicated to me ... were interlaced with their sense of who they are, who is a part of their community, what their values are, who works hard in society, who is deserving of reward and public support, and how power is distributed in the world."


Patrick Kirk is correct, but also Chris, some of what you list as 'not globalisation' is what can be identified as globalisation; technical change adopted by power structures [and the growth of 'bullshit' jobs], decline of trades unions, financialization.

Or, put another way, if not hand-in-hand with globalisation the last 30-40 years has been a period in which politicians have often justified these moves because of globalisation. See: union reform as a" barrier to being globally competitive", ditto education reform.

It's not a 'paradox' as to why globalisation is the bogeyman, the term is just shorthand for lots of stuff on both sides of the argument.


Slight typo: should be 'see: the politicians justifying union reform as by the need to be globally competitive"...

Luis Enrique

there is work out there that shows pretty large impacts from import competition with China.


and traces the effect to political polarisation


Luis Enrique

this more recent from same authors


This is an economically naive comment, but isn't there a massive expectation problem in the US? For decades the average American could buy gas at 50c a gallon, drive a massive truck, eat out for peanuts... a big binge of consumption that depended on the rest of the world having it much tougher. Similar story in a way in the UK, we used to have an empire, and we lived off the ill-gotten gains for a long time, but that's all used up now.


The problem is not trade but trade imbalance. Lower real interest rates do not increase economic activity and jobs, but are a result of lower activity and fewer jobs. As exports will be lower than otherwise, what jobs there are are in non tradeable areas, and wages will tend to be lower.


«spending $5 on a Chinese T-shirt rather than $10 on a US-made one, you’ve got $5 more to spend on other things. That should increase demand and jobs»

This abuse of "ceteris paribus" seems quite shameful to me, especially as I reckon that our blogger knows well that there is a large distributional impact.

If our blogger were to argue that exporting jobs from the UK's or the USA's rust belts to much poorer countries has made very poor people (and business and property rentiers) much better off that would be a much better argument.


"For one thing, cheap imports should help workers. If you’re spending $5 on a Chinese T-shirt rather than $10 on a US-made one, you’ve got $5 more to spend on other things. That should increase demand and jobs. "

Here's the real problems that your colleagues equations don't take into account.



Real people (not bs equations) used to have real jobs that paid maybe $30-40/hour. Now they can't get a $10/hour job at the local 7/11. What part of saving $5 on a t-shirt is going to make up the difference?


"spending $5 on a Chinese T-shirt rather than $10 on a US-made one, you’ve got $5 more to spend on other things."

Cmon this is bullshit. We all know export led growth reduces demand if not offset. The Chinese are hoarding $s.


"spending $5 on a Chinese T-shirt rather than $10 on a US-made one, you’ve got $5 more to spend on other things."

What I am saying is export-led nations have to constantly provide liquidity into the rest of the world to allow others to buy their goods. Otherwise the rest of the world runs out of the particular money that is needed for the export transaction to complete and the export never happens (US buyers buy Chinese goods with USD, but Chinese workers and taxes are paid in Yuan. The relative shortage of Yuan due to the export differential has to be provided by the Chinese or Chinese goods become, in absurdum, infinitely expensive).


"Here are seven other suspects..."

Oh man, talk about someone completely divorced from reality.

2002: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1806463.stm

2014: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/smallbusiness/article-2714300/Big-leap-small-UK-companies-farming-jobs-workers-overseas.html

2016: http://news.sky.com/story/hsbc-moves-840-uk-jobs-to-overseas-sites-10284577

What part of "I don't have a job anymore because it's been moved overseas" don't you understand?


FL makes a reasonable point. If I can buy things for half the price thanks to free movement of capital and trade flows I am better off from modern arrangements. But this is true only if I have Income which is just as high as in the past when things were all made in the USA. If your income was from a high paying job which now has gone and your income is now from very low paid work or disability benefit etc not so much. Plus for you it is humiliating to be poor in a rust belt state and see once backward nations now making the goods and having the jobs you assumed would be available domestically. Hence your desire to "make America great again."

But this will not do, like Brexit it is all irrational nostalgia. Firstly in reality trump is not going to restore the old times as he is a Capitalist. AS is his party. To reverse the rust belts decline would require economic planning and direction of capital. That is collectivism and is socialism or fascism depending on what methods are used to direct production. Import tariffs only work by changing the return on Capital and Labour and would need to be combined with large subsidies to increase Production capacity. State investment in other words and command of private capital. Unless you adopt this approach just slapping huge taxes on imports will cause retaliation by other countries Capitalist governments and a collapse in world trade.So making eveyone worse off. You could make the USA self dependent on domestic production by totally changing the economic system but that really would be like Germany 1933. Trump can only work within a framework his party would accept and this scenario seems implausible. So it is far more likely we will just get huge tax cuts for the wealthy and cuts and privatisation of public services and transfer payments. Which will give the corrupt far right GOP and its backers lots of profit. But do nothing for the people, certainly not those who are poor, unemployed, disabled or sick. Or just low paid.

On the other hand the actual programme of Ms Clinton involved more redistribution and targeted regulation on the mixed economy model. She might not have been able to actually do it, as a result of GOP obstruction, but her plans are far more realistic, as they work within the constraints of Political economy as it has developed since 1980. By choosing a con man and a dishonest party of con men and women most Americans will be worse off and the poorer they are the worse it will be for them.

The trump administration will be, if it follows Reagan and Bush #2, a bonanza of tax cuts, deregulation, and incompetent greedy corruption. With added racism, sexism and homophobia, and a busy KKK. May be Senator Geoff Sessions will be appointed to the supreme court? That will be one in the eye for Ted Kennedy.( He got the Senate to reject him last time he was proposed for the Bench).

Perhaps Sessions will display his vast legal mind by proving the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution were never valid and all the darkies are still slaves? If Bader Ginsburg is still alive at this point she will probably expire if she has to put up with this crap. Which means another vacancy to be filled on the court. I am sure the evangelical zealots have a long list of unqualified idiots ready to ascend to the highest court eager to reverse the progress of a hundred years. Good Job 'merica...


@ Bob - I take your point that China's trade surplus tends to depress aggregate demand. But this can in principle be offset by expansionary domestic macro policy. The same, FL, applies to those cases where jobs are offshored. So I'll just add an 8th factor to my list - bad macro policy.
@ Blissex - yes, there might well have been a an adverse distributional impact of cheap imports. But that could have been offset by tax and benefit policies.
@ AC - that's not a naive point at all. The mid-20th C US was the best time and place in world history to be an unskilled worker. Many Americans want a return to that; opposition to globalization perhaps stands for wanting to turn back the clock. Whether this can be done is another matter.

The Philosopher

Hello Peterson Institute.

Your trade papers don't take into account real wages would have risen had there not been outsourcing to coolies in Burma who work 20 hour days. You cannot empirically disprove something that would have happened. Supply and demand goes out the window for rationalisation. Voters don't care.

Hello fellow cuckold Institute for Public Policy

Open borders increases government tax revenue. But it also increases government spending. Can you differentiate this function? - Why did you leave out prison spending, national security and police spending in your immigration spending line items. Oh Daddy stop lying to me, I've been a good girl!

La La La, La La La, hey hey hey open borders.

Hello IMF

A recession you say! Deary me! Can't we negotiate a trade agreement on intellectual property rights?! That will stop the recession!

Relax yourself girl, please settle down. Relax yourself girl.

Hello Treasury

Independent analysis suggests closing the border will drain us of minimum wage workers who contribute trillions in revenue to corporations and add trillions of wealth to land owners and subtract trillions from lower and middle income workers through higher prices and lower wages. That is good EXTRACTION policy. Approved.

Whew...finally I got the truth after reading all that Mr Treasury. Boy, I really thought you guys were retarded. Can you imagine doing an economics degree and being retarded and being in a position of influencing the public?

I mean....

That would lead to 30 years of stagnant real incomes, people living with their parents into the 40s despite productivity tripling!!!

Boy thank god.

Thank god our low verbal geniuses are using their best micro-logik to bring symmetry to their sudoku puzzled looks.

The Philosopher

AANNDDD IIIIIIII eeeyy III will always love third worlders OOHH wwooo.

AND IIIII EEE_IIII think, we should

let iiiiinnnn themm allll, cos they will

pay for our pens---ions

evvvveen though they cant

becaussse they don't make enough...

oohhhh wwoo and corporations avoid tax on profits

coooossss they is smarter than autistic economists...

yeahhhhh --eehh - aaahh

The Philosopher

Tina Tuner may be a better economist than Chris.

The Philosopher

Say Chris,

Having read Ricardo, please divulge how the world has changed in 200 years.

Lets start with:



Oligopoly/Monopoly trade models

Status whoring/Relative value purchases

You may make an iphone for $20. But you may sell one for $500.

Customers don't see lower costs on everything.

Nobody cares about t-shirts and asda canned food chris. That is not a major line item for most normal people.


«there might well have been a an adverse distributional impact of cheap imports.»

Well, I would not use "adverse" do describe it here: cheaper imports and cheaper low-end labor have both worked very much to the advantage of business and property rentiers, resulting perhaps in an overall small gain in GDP.

«But that could have been offset by tax and benefit policies.»

Sure but it is not wholly pleasant :-) to see an argument that relies at the same time on a crass abuse of "ceteris paribus" and also on an «offset by tax and benefit policies» (especially when those have not happened as in «could have been»).


«cheaper imports and cheaper low-end labor have both worked very much to the advantage of business and property rentiers»

And for completeness I'll repeat here: also of poor foreign workers, whether immigrants or offshored.


Looking at it more widely, one of the clever sophistries used by some advocates of immigration and offshoring with very poor countries is a confusion between two very different cases:

* Where immigration and offshoring happen among countries with comparable levels of wages, and then it has no impact on domestic wages and happens only when there is a material productivity advantage to it, which is the case considered in the classic "comparative advantage" ricardian argument.

* When there is a significant difference among wage levels, and then the primary result is wage arbitrage resulting in redistribution from workers in a higher-wage country to business and property rentiers in the same country and to workers in lower-wage countries (and usually in lower material productivity overall).

The largely imaginary policy of «offset by tax and benefit policies» is mostly equivalent, if effective, to bringing the level of wages in low-wage countries to a comparable level of that in high-wage countries, and that of course would be far more preferable, and also why it stays imaginary.

Dave Hansell

For "completeness" it would be useful to know whether or not the largest negative impact on jobs/employment/unemployment levels and wage levels reductions/ increases in low wage, zero hour/lump bullshit non jobs in what is considered the more economically developed West has been the result of transferring jobs offshore or from immigration into the country.

Accurately and objectively identifying which of the two represents the larger problem issue on these metrics would then help to make explicit where action needs to be taken as it makes no rational sense, apart from in the fantasy world inhabited by pre-enlightenment self styled philosophers, to focus entirely on the lesser problem (if it is indeed a problem in regard to those metrics) whilst giving a free ride to the larger problem.

The Philosopher

Inductive v Deductive Logic

Deductive logic - Hello my name is Chwis. If you incwease open boda you can get more worker who pay more of de taxes and make every millons people retire, very easy, no charge.

Inductive Logic

Hypothesis: Abolishing the border will increase the labour supply and help pay for pensions as apparently there is no fixed supply of work. So the water's warm baby, let's let in 10m immigrants - Tony Blair, 2000.

The respectable media and political class informs we need to cut pensions and or more recently, end the triple lock 10 years later.


Meta logic - if you're using inductive logic, know what you're testing.

Chwis: "But maybe other things meant we cant pay for the lovely pensions. I have 5 wives backin Nigeria. Can you give me your bank details?".

Productivity, budget deficits and security spending are also effected by open borders. more low IQ labour=less capital spending. More low IQ people = more healthcare spending on obesity/addiction and poor nutrition. More low IQ immigrants = more crime/terrorism.


The Philosopher

Out of interest Dave-O, how do you think interracial marriage would poll with Jefferson, Voltaire, Paine, and co?

'Rac-ism", "Sex-ism", "islampohobia" and so on were invented in the 1940s in Frankfurt. Your ancestors wouldn't even be able to comprehend it. Are they bad people?

Ben Franklin wrote a lot about immigration. Bad boy. I sometimes think we've been forbidden from reading the Enlightenment writers full oeuvre. Better read Franklins immigration pamphlets now before they're burned. Or Paine's meditations on the Musul-man.

Dr Philosopher, centurion of intellectual greatness Martin Luther King's jive talkin replaced his writings of course in national cirricula. King had a degree in sociology from timber yard college and plagiarised his doctorate in theology and as a preacher, was a professional charlatan. Charismatic though, and broke the country club doors open for Zion. Which was his only purpose. Had to get rid of him after he turned communist.

It is not enough to have high verbal intelligence however, Hitchens seems to have spent most of his writings pulling up his dress and virtue signalling Zion whilst hoarily encouraging more gentiles to fight for Zion against the Musul-man for their living space.

The Philosopher

I hope our next 'eternal enemy in the war on theatre terrorism' on Israel's enemies list is Hawaii. I'd like to invade there if you know what I mean!

The Philosopher

Someone needs to make a picture of a boy crying in the rubble of a beach hut viral so we can badfeelz people into invading Hawaii. I can't even remember the last time I fought for freedom and also had a replenishing vacation.

Dave Hansell

Out of interest have you ever thought of trying to count the number of angels you could fit on the end of a pin? The thought did occur that if you need any help you could have consulted Dogberry but it's obvious to a blind man on a galloping horse that you are already an accomplished student of his style.

On the matter of Frankfurt I have to concede I'm all agog. Was it the entire population of Frankfurt which achieved this singular feat? A single denizen of that metropolis? A mutant immigrant who had broken his/her/it's genetic programming, as per your own historically unique interpretation of Darwin? Sigmund Freud? Caligulas horse perhaps?

As for the rest of your tedious evidence free assertions I'm not sure how to break this to you but the sort of material one finds from people like Alex Jones is not exactly the most robust of sources on which to hang ones hat on. Rather than Hawaii I'd set your sights on somewhere more suitable for your own individual needs, but watch out for the Jabberwocky.


"bringing the level of wages in low-wage countries to a comparable level of that in high-wage countries"

The way to speed up that is restrict immigration until they fulfill criteria\targets, as well as gifts of real aid. Of course the closet Tories like Chris hate that.


As for Chris's seven dwarfs:

They are the Horsemen of the global apocalypse.
.i.e Globalisation is a necessary pre-requisite/trigger/enabler of thirty years of Neoliberalism.

First dump billions of desperate workers on the global labour market.

Once you have a few billion desperate extra workers, the existing workforce can be defenstrated, thrown out of a high window, left to fend for themselves.

So the recipe is:

* Outsource/Offshore.
* Destroy Trade Unions (workers have no power)
* Financialization (Workforce - No/Lower income)
* Unskilled work oversupply at home and abroad.
* Even skilled work subject to immigration.
* Power over workers - See above.
* Lower minimum wage - See above
* Meaner welfare benefits - See above
* Productivity - Even machines can't compete with low cost labour.
* Bad Macro-Policy aka Neoliberalism.


I still haven't read the linked to papers but ...

Balance of trade:

China going from an importer of steel to half the global market in ten of fifteen years, has no effect right?


"That’s because some of China’s factories have been pumping out more steel, solar panels, and other goods than the world wants or needs—in order to keep China’s GDP growing and citizens employed."

"Meanwhile, factories in the UK and in Mexico laid off thousands and half of the steel workers in Germany marched to protest China’s dumping. US Steel is firing 25% of its salaried employees."


Lower wages, the steel workers sacked and working as warehouse staff, no change in wage rates just re-employment in low skilled, low paid jobs the sort of jobs impacted by immigration. Wages haven't fallen, just all the good jobs have gone to be replaced by bullshit jobs. See no fall in wages!


The Pakaderm in the room.


""The fact that this narrative has spread to these corners, rather than being confined to the left side of the political spectrum, is itself noteworthy, according to Duncan Weldon, Resolution Group's head of research.

"When people like Deutsche Bank are starting to say, 'maybe capitalism needs a form of reinvention,' maybe that's the time to start listening to that," he said during an interview on BloombergTV. "It's not Bernie Sanders; it's a global investment bank.""

Shoot the Elephant.

"it illustrates how each income group in each country in 1988 fared over the subsequent 20 years. In its shape, the chart looks recognisably elephantine. But the top 1% do markedly less well in this alternative chart than in the more famous one, and even the worst performing groups (now around the 90th percentile) boast income growth of 20% or more over 20 years."

Economists enabled neo-liberalism and will obfuscate it's effects to try and maintain the status quo.

Give generously to the one-percent, they only got half the UKs growth in wealth according to the IMF chart posted by Simon Wren Lewis.


"Duncan Exley, the trust’s director, said: "Inequality, both globally but also in the UK, is now at staggering levels. We know that such a vast gap between the richest and the rest of us is bad for our economy and society. We now need our politicians to wake up and address this dangerous concentration of wealth and power in the hands of so few.""


"For me, this poses the question: to what extent is globalization to blame for the decline in many workers’ real incomes?"

"In contrast, once broadening the income definition to post-tax, post-transfer size-adjusted household cash income, middle class Americans are found to have made substantial gains, and these increases are even larger when including non-cash income such as the ex-ante value of health insurance."


The Philosopher

Economists are mostly barbell neuro profiles Aragon - high quant, low verbal.

Well since Lucas anyway.

So they're socially retarded. That's why Friedman can do 10 years of empirical research and conclude the Great Depression happened cos there weren't enough credit cards.


«For "completeness" it would be useful to know whether or not the largest negative impact on jobs/[ ... ] the result of transferring jobs offshore or from immigration into the country.»

My guess is that the answer is "it depends": by period of time, by industry.

Also there is the influence of technical progress: if there is labour-saving technical progress there are two cases: presumably if labour supply is more constrained most of the benefits go to workers and consumers, if the labour supply is less constrained they go mostly to employers and in part to consumers.

Note: so the arguments that the usual heralds of neoliberalism make that technical progress is the main cause in the stagnation or decline of median and below wages is in effect clever dissembling.

As to empirical assessment one could look at those developed countries that have had relatively more immigration versus those that have had relatively more offshoring, but my impression is that countries like the UK and USA have had large amounts of *both*, which suggests a political common cause: that when the establishment wants to push down wage "inflation", they go for both immigration and offshoring at the same time.


«post-tax, post-transfer size-adjusted household cash income,»

Interesting metric! That «size-adjusted household» is not that relevant, as we are talking *wages* ideally median wage per hour, not household income.

But «post-tax, post-transfer» is entirely ridiculous and misleading in a discussion on wages. It is just a less shameless prevaricarication than looking just at consumption.

«even larger when including non-cash income such as the ex-ante value of health insurance»

Ah I have read a few clever dissemblings that total compensation, wage plus benefits, has been rising, for example here:


But those dissemblings are ridiculous on two grounds:

* The argument is that a larger and ever larger part of compensation is the costs of benefits. But if this is true this means galloping inflation in a large component of GDP for decades, because the increasing spending of benefits has not bought increased benefits. But everybody tells us that the CPI has been falling for the same decades.

* There is quite a difference between average compensation and median. In the paper I link to above the first graph of percent increases per year shows large rates of increase in periods of rising stockmarket prices and in particular, tellingly, rising faster post-1995, when the great stockmarket serial bubbles started. That "average" probably includes stock options and bonuses for executives and traders, and skews it significantly: http://www.bls.gov/lpc/faqs.htm#Q05


If you have a $20 an hour job making tee shirts and lose that job and wind up in a $10 an hour job doing something else, the fact that you can buy a tee shirt for $5 as opposed to $10 is meaningless. It is meaningless at the micro level since people only buy so many tee shirts, but it is also meaningless at the macro level. That $10 an hour difference comes out of aggregate demand.

If you were making $20 an hour, odds are you spent all of it. In theory, that $10 an hour decrease in the aggregate labor bill could turn into higher spending by executives, owners and shareholders. In practice, those people are fairly well off, so they are not going to buy a lot more consumer goods or services.

They might invest in new production facilities, but there is now less money to be spent by those making less than $20 an hour since they are now being paid half of that. Investments would have a lower return. Alternatively, they could bid up low labor content items, symbolic things, like Manhattan penthouses, classical art work and ownership of land and corporations. When one buys 10,000 shares of some company, 1,000 acres of land or $1M of US debt (during austerity), one are not generating much in the way of wages.

The free trade argument only makes sense if it were possible for people at the lower end of the income scale to live on imports, but they can't live in imported houses built on imported land. Rent is the biggest single expense in most low end households. Now one could argue for deflation in which the prices of rents and everything else spiral downwards so that a $10 an hour wage provides the same or better ability to command goods and services as a $20 an hour wage once did, but this has a lot of nasty effects that are best avoided.


I mostly agree with "Kaleberg", as I wrote «large distributional impact» earlier. Some details:

«The free trade argument only makes sense if it were possible for people at the lower end of the income scale to live on imports, but they can't live in imported houses built on imported land.»

It's much worse than that: in theory asset prices are dependent on the general income level in a country, so if general incomes fall in real terms because of foreign competition, that should be reflected in lower (but not as much) asset prices and rents. This has indeed happened in regions like the USA rustbelt and the UK north were the economy has collapsed, but overall in the USA and UK asset prices and rents have been zooming up thanks to government policy.

«argue for deflation»

It is not «argue», but a natural consequence of a lower level of general incomes: if offshoring and immigration result in redistribution, in lower overall workers incomes and higher overall rentier incomes, the prices of stuff that wages buy should fall, and the prices of stuff that rentiers buy should rise whether one argues for that or not.

«in which the prices of rents and everything else spiral downwards [ ... ] but this has a lot of nasty effects that are best avoided.»

Yet this has happened in the regions of the USA and UK where governments have sought to destroy the unions by offshoring the jobs on which the unions depended.

It has not happened in the regions of the USA and UK that have consistently voted to the right, where governments have sought to push up asset prices and rents regardless with a phenomenal expansion of leverage and also of subsidized jobs.

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