Global Trade: Where Do Things Come From?
By Boyd White
There is a lot of tension between the two ideologies of “Globalism” and “Global Trade”. There are many life, religious, and governing philosophies around the world that are incompatible with one another; to put us all under one single way of life would not work very well. Yet, the global trade of resources and products enriches our lives to the point shutting down this enterprise is a vain proposition.
To shut down global trade would mean to deny people in wooden sailing ships can circumnavigate Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and South America’s Cape Horn. Let alone the modern short-cuts of the Panama Canal and the Suez Canal; with the prospects of the Northwest Passage becoming a major shipping route if the globe warms up enough.
Trade, by extension Global Trade, is supposed to be a great wellspring of cooperation. Of course, if one side of the trade is based on money it goes without saying that honest money will engender amity while flakey dishonest money will engender bitterness; but that is a topic for another article.
There are exceptions to the invisible hand of cooperation. Consider if Nixon had not arranged Trade deals with Communist China in the early 1970’s. The USA had a valuable marketplace and had we not dealt with China our marketplace would still be valuable. True, we would not have “benefited” from the influx of cheap Chinese Products from the 1970’s ‘til now; however, neither would Communist China have had such a great market to direct their economy towards. And it is doubtful they would have progressed as they have without the USA’s willingness to do business. If a person brought this up a Chinese official would probably laugh at our naiveté, saying, “This is a grown up world. If you did not think Communist China would take every advantage of such trade you should not have done business with us.” That is true, China, that is true.
Yes, there are other bad aspects of Global Trade: invasive species, spread of infectious diseases, modern pollution and questionable labor practices.
However, People want things; to the point they will suffer the bad in order to acquire the goods. And they will go a long hard way to get those things; even to the point of breaking laws (e.g. Black Markets).
Exampled by Anti-Importation and Anti-Consumption Acts; which were attempted during the American Revolution. Those are very good ideas to penalize enemy countries and companies. Alas, those attempts were largely ineffective due to people circumnavigating those acts in order to acquire the goods.
Global Trade has been going on for centuries. And the consequences have been both positive and negative. Consider this quote about India from a British newspaper; does this not sound like something that might be said about China from a United States newspaper in 2021?
“’Tis said too, that the trade of this company (East-India Company) may be enlarged; I suppose they mean, by bringing in more India manufactures, to the ruin of our own.” – “The Cato Letters”, NO. 9. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1720. Against the projected Union of the Three Great Companies; and against remitting to the South-Sea Company any Part of their Debt to the Publick. (Trenchard)
These intricacies of Trade can be found much further back in history as well. Roman circa 160 A.D. was very concerned about the amount of money leaving their empire to purchase silk products from the Parthians, who were their on-again-off-again foes. The Romans could not produce silk and the Parthians were getting the silk from Chinese traders.
Since shipping commenced, wow, does Global Trade bring in a lot of things. Consider this short list from the Import Act of 1842:
Twenty-Seventh Congress. Sess II, Ch 270 (1842)
Chapter CCLXX – “An Act to provide revenue from imports and to change and modify existing laws imposing duties on imports and for other purposes”
“Wool unmanufactured and manufactured, carpets, blankets, silk, yarn, mits, gloves, caps, hemp, jute, clothe, oil clothe, aprons, iron bars, wire, cable, chains, muskets, axes, adzes, hatchets, knives, spaded, shovels, wood screws, Japanese wares, brass, copper, pewter, tin, coal, glass, candlesticks, lamps, vials, bottles, Porcelain, leather, boots, tanned skins, feathers, artificial flowers, jewelry, table tops, wood manufacturers, marble, paper, books, sugar, chocolate, spices, olive oil, tallow, beeswax, grease, salt-petre, sausages, corn, wine, brandy, paintings, engravings, carvings…and much more.”
Contemplate the trickle down effects of all these imports brought in by wooden sailing ships. People during the 1840’s were probably benefiting from imports enriching their lives; with the sad qualification that slaves most likely did not really experience this trickle down availability of imports. And all these imports were being brought in before the Mexican War, the Civil War and steam powered ocean-liners.
The opening of shortcuts facilitated the transportation of global trade, with the Suez Canal opening in November, 1869 through which today 30% of world’s trade passes every day and the opening of the Panama Canal in August 1914. It is sobering, considering its importance in global trade today, to think the Panama Canal has only been in operation a little over a hundred years.
Now, here is a major sticking point, honest Global Trade is one thing, but the Globalism ideology has insinuated itself into Global Trade through the IMF. There is no doubt the IMF has an agenda; an agenda which is questionable when it comes to the sovereignty of the USA.
The Canal’s toll rates are determined on the basis of SDR units. The Special Drawing Rights (SDR) is an international reserve asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves. Tolls calculated on this basis are payable in one of designated hard currencies according to its exchange rate in relation to SDRs declared by the IMF. The currency value of the SDR is determined by summing the values in U.S. dollars, based on market exchange rates, of a basket of major currencies (the U.S. dollar, Euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling and the Chinese renminbi). The SDR currency value is calculated daily (except on IMF holidays or whenever the IMF is closed for business) and the valuation basket is reviewed and adjusted every five years.
Who would not like their reserves “supplemented”?…and what did the member countries have to give up in receiving this “gift”?
Climate change has thinned much of the ice that in the past made the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans impassable. Satellite navigation can help monitor location of the ice which remains, further easing transit. A few ships have successfully crossed the previously impossible route since 2000.
Then there is Idaho’s own Port Lewiston; seaport access up and down the Columbia and Snake River system. The first barge left Lewiston in 1975. The long routes of Global Trade have indeed reached far into the western interior.
Here is another example of clash between “Global Trade” and “Globalism’. Patents and Individual Property Rights. Being able to invent and take a patent out inspires people with the promise of making a gain on their effort. But some countries around the world do not respect that. The importance of patents has been noted in literature.
Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”
“…and both as business man and statesman I wanted to study the tournament and see if I couldn’t invent an improvement on it. That reminds me to remark, in passing, that the very first official thing I did, in my administration–and it was on the very first day of it, too–was to start a patent office; for I knew that a country without a patent office and good patent laws was just a crab, and couldn’t travel any way but sideways or backways.
I not only watched this tournament from day to day, but detailed an intelligent priest from my Department of Public Morals and Agriculture, and ordered him to report it; for it was my purpose by and by, when I should have gotten the people along far enough, to start a newspaper. The first thing you want in a new country, is a patent office; then work up your school system; and after that, out with your paper. A newspaper has its faults, and plenty of them, but no matter, it’s hark from the tomb for a dead nation, and don’t you forget it. You can’t resurrect a dead nation without it; there isn’t any way.”
And here we find a dangerous attempt to stifle people’s initiative. Of course, China sees nothing wrong with plundering the people of the USA who have patents and Intellectual Property Rights. Instead of China creating its own patent office they want the USA to give them access to all our patents.
Climate change? China rebuts Obama
Published September 24, 2014
“–Western countries also need to remove “obstacles such as IPRs [intellectual property rights]” to “promote, facilitate and finance the transfer” of “technologies and know-how” to developing countries in advance of any future climate deal;…”
In disclosure, there are many times when products are imported to the USA as prices well below market-price; this is called “dumping.” Cheaper prices sound like a good thing; however, in some cases, especially when State directed countries and companies can “target” American industry they can undermine that industry. To that end, the government of the USA uses Anti-Dumping orders and duties to make those product’s price match the market’s prices; these Anti-Dumping Orders are routinely found on the Federal Register which is published by the USA five times a week.
Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews:
Certain Aluminum Foil from the Republic of Armenia, Brazil, the Sultanate of Oman, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Turkey
FR Document: 2021-24859
November 11, 2021
Abstract: Based on affirmative final determinations by the Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the International Trade Commission (ITC), Commerce is issuing antidumping duty orders on certain aluminum foil (aluminum foil) from the Republic of Armenia…Because the ITC determined that imports of aluminum foil from Armenia, Brazil, Oman, Russia, and Turkey are materially injuring a U.S. industry, unliquidated entries of subject merchandise from Armenia, Brazil, Oman, Russia, and Turkey, entered into the United States or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, are subject to the assessment of antidumping duties.
And then there are the Anarchist’s ninnies who protest Global Trade and Corporate endeavors but then are photographed wearing the products of such trade. But I have found a better example of how modern products enrich our lives; the below picture was taken during filming of the Mel Gibson movie “Apocalypto”. How far would an Aztec priest go to get a good drink of Gatorade?
What do you use in your daily life that comes within a tight 20 mile radius? And what do you use in your daily life that comes from afar?
Related: How Did Globalism Get Started?
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