Friday, April 03, 2009

A universal truth

Here are some basic facts about market based capitalism.

1) You can not sell product X for £50 when someone else is selling it for £10.
2) You can not ask to be paid £10 for making product X when someone else will do it for £1.

The whole point of markets is that they find a level through something called supply and demand.

When you have a national based economy, this is fine. You can have free markets and prices and pay will find levels which are largely based on the average wealth of the nation - per capita GDP. Because it is all kept within the national context there is no distortion.

When you take the economy out of a national context and globalise it you immediately create market distortions. As a nation you counter these distortions by implementing trade barriers and tariffs to prevent your economy collapsing, but if you don't then you will have to accept the law of markets which will dictate that your pay and prices must be roughly the same as other competing nations.

This is what causes depressions. A depression is nothing more than the markets correcting themselves - same as a recession - but on a global scale. And because the disparities are greater, the market corrections will be amplified too.

Unless checked by protectionism, this recession will turn into a depression. It has to because the markets have to find a level. That depression will last until that level is reached - a point where pay and prices are roughly the same across the whole of the market. If that is a global market then that means you can not be paid more for doing the same thing as someone in India.

With per capita GDP being somewhere around £30,000 in the UK and around £3000 for India there is someway to go before that level is reached. The per capita of India will rise slightly, the per capita GDP of Britain has to fall significantly.

Even when that level is reached it will not mean the end of the depression for Britain. Other countries will still be making things while we don't. We'll have to try and rebuild our manufacturing economy virtually from scratch - and with very little income this will be a monumental task. Perhpas even impossible (I doubt very much that China and India, once they have established their dominance as producers will let their dominance slip the way we did!).

Globalists can shout and scream all they want - they can not stop that happening. In an unrestricted market, the markets will dictate - not economists. Gordon Brown and Barack Obama can pour trillions more dollars down the drain, but they won't change anything as long as markets are given free rein - they must find a level and they will.

The west believe they can avoid this happening by concentrating on high technology, high value goods. That won't work either. For a start, high value goods require strong prosperous economies to buy those goods - and that is the west - and it is the west that will be in depression.

The other thing is that it assumes - with incredible arrogance - that developing nations do not have the education or skills to produce high value, high technology goods. I'm afraid they are every bit as capable as we are and, what is more, with education systems turning out hundreds of thousands of high calibre graduates every year they are already overtaking us.

So, left unchecked, there is nothing to stop us going into a long and very, very deep depression. Seriously, the Great Depression will seem like boom times compared to what this one will be like.

The second thing I want to remind you of is government because a globalised economy requires a globalised government to manage it. Yes - they need managing. You see, there is no such thing as "free trade" whatever anyone might tell you. It simply does not exist. It is regulated by governments, but - like markets - there are distortions in regulation globally.

Unlike markets, these regulatory distortions will not correct themselves - they require a government to correct them. So, with a global based economy it is essential to have a global based government to regulate it. This global government will not be elected by the people - for a start, there isn't a single "people" but a number of different peoples. You can not have democracy unless you have a demos to start with - so the government will be made up of appointed bodies stuffed with the "great and the good" as decreed by the ruling elite.

In other words, a corporatist government of appointed bodies - much like the USSR. Or the EU.

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