Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The waiting game

Another day, another globalist whining about "protectionism".

The “Buy American” dispute really matters. At stake is whether the world economy retreats into protectionism and economic nationalisation, setting back recovery from the recession.

The base assumption there is questionable to say the least - that economic nationalism would set back recovery from recession - and Riddell compounds that by comparing Obama to FDR.

Yet FDR was an economic nationalist, believing that the answer to the depression lay at home, not overseas. Originally, he backed an economic conference in London to “supplement individual domestic programmes for economic recovery, by wise and considered international action”, the same aims as now.

As we all know, FDR didn't back "wise and considered international action", but decided that the answer really did lie at home. And who is to say he was wrong? By the time that economic conference took place in London in June 1933, the 1929 recession had turned into a full blown depression that had already lasted four years with no sign of ending in sight. Hitler had already come to power and the world was heading towards a world wide conflict.

Riddell also misses the fact that 1933 is considered to be the turning point in the depression - it certainly was for the USA - after which production began to rise sharply and, with it, the economy and confidence. It took a few years for that to filter through the rest of the world, but there is no doubt that 1933 was the point at which recovery began and that recovery was US led and that was due to FDR's policy of economic nationalism.

The root causes of the thirties depression are exactly the same as they are today. Globalisation creating a credit boom and huge, unsustainable corporate and personal debt that eventually led to the collapse of the banking system and subsequent massive intergovernmental debt. Sound familiar?

By the time of the London conference, the world had already gone through four years of depression hell - affecting the USA as much as anyone - there had been major political upheavals across Europe and Japan, strongly protectionist before the depression started, had been largely unaffected by the economic upheavals and thus emerged as a major political and military power pursuing an aggressive Imperial expansion programme.

All that happened in just four years. Are we going to wait that long again and watch the world dissolve into chaos once more or should we do something now?

What are we waiting for?

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