There’s a certain class of people that think in terms of money. They don’t simply want money: they actually measure the world in money terms.
This is why there are people that:
- Measure military power by military spending;
- Measure people by how much they make.
This is one reason why there’s a class of people in America that want to continue free trade policies as a matter of basic philosophy: they measure America’s stature by how much money it has.
Never mind that money without production power can make a nation both rich and weak at the same time. Money, in essence, is the power to get others to do things. If you go to war with those others, for instance, then you have no power at all. You’ll be conquered because your money was worthless.
This is something Trump understands but many in politics don’t: a nation that can’t produce can’t remain independent. This is because money, though it gets people to do things, can’t force them to do things. You can buy them off if they want to be bought off. But you can’t make anyone do anything: you have no real power. It depends on the willingness of others.
In most cases in private life this works. We rarely have to force people to do things. But in the life of nations it’s different. China’s trade war with us, for instance, couldn’t be bought off even if we did have money to give them. They would choose the long game: destroy our manufacturing now, to make us utterly dependent later.
This is one reason why they’re continuing their race to the bottom. China is not in good economic condition. Much of their economy is based on government infrastructure projects. They are doing what the Amazon company is doing: running at a loss now, to hurt the competition. Once the competition is crippled, they can raise prices. China’s goal is to destroy the manufacturing competition on a national scale. Once they’ve done so, they can raise prices at will.
If this sounds strange, it has happened in the past. In the 1970s the oil-producing Arab nations raised oil prices enormously in order to dictate our foreign policy. To an extent they succeeded. That’s partly why they’re trying to ruin our domestic oil production now: if we are independent energy-wise, they lose an enormous amount of power in the world.
Let me come back to the money-thinekrs: their thinking isn’t acquired but natural. It’s an extension of who they are. This is one reason that there is such a financial aspect to American politics: there is a class of people that only measure the world in terms of money. As such, they measure national achievement by how much money the country has.
I have little doubt that protectionist policies would make America less wealthy overall. But that doesn’t concern me. Protectionism would mean we’re producing again. As such, we’d have more real power than we’ve had in decades. What’s the point of money, nationally speaking, other than to give us the power to live our lives and be safe and healthy? If it fails to do so, it has no purpose.