September 06, 2011
We made foreigners pay a price to get their products into our market and made them pay to help finance our government. We put our own country and people first.
For corporate America, especially industrial America, this was nirvana. They had exclusive free access to our market, and foreign rivals had to pay a stiff fee, a tariff, to get their products in and try to compete with U.S. products in the U.S. market.
What happened to this idea that made America a self-sufficient republic, producing almost all it consumed, a nation that could stay out of the world wars as long as she wished and crush the greatest powers in Europe and Asia in less than four years after she went in?
A new class came to power that looked on tariffs as xenophobic, on economic patriotism as atavistic and on national sovereignty as an antique idea in the new world order it envisioned.
By 1976, editorial writers were talking about a new declaration of interdependence to replace Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, which was now outdated.
The new idea was to replicate America on a global scale, to throw open the borders of all nations as the borders of the 50 states were open, to abolish all tariffs and trade barriers, and to welcome the free flow of goods and people across all frontiers, thereby creating the One World that statesmen such as Woodrow Wilson and Wendell Willkie had envisioned.
By three decades ago, this globalist ideology had captured both national parties, a product of universities dominated by New Dealers.
But why did corporate America, with its privileged access to the greatest market on earth, go along with sharing that market with its manufacturing rivals from all over the world?
The answer lies in the trade-off corporate America got.
Already established in the U.S. market, corporate America could risk sharing that market if, in return, it could shift its own production out of the United States to countries where the wages were low and regulations were light.
Corporate America could there produce for a fraction of what it cost to produce here. Then these same corporations could ship their foreign-made products back to the USA and pocket the difference in the cost of production. Corporate stock prices would soar, as would corporate salaries—and dividends, to make shareholders happy and supportive of a corporate policy of moving out of the USA.
Under globalization, America’s investor class could and did get rich by the abandonment of America’s working class.
America is in a terminal industrial decline because the interests of corporate America now clash directly with the interests of working America—and, indeed, with the national interest of the United States.
And both parties are either oblivious to or indifferent of what is happening to their country.