Exports are a COST, Imports are a BENEFIT

In this imperfect world of ours in which governments everywhere presume to superintended the commercial activities of their subjects, trade agreements are often the best available way to make trade freer, if not as free as it can and ought to be.

This reality exists because of the combination of two powerful forces:
(1) governments are prone to serve special-interest producer groups within their jurisdictions, and
(2) most citizens are ignorant of economics.

These forces combine to create the widespread mistaken impression that international-trade’s benefits come in the form of exports while imports are thought to be the ‘costs’ that must unfortunately be paid in order to enjoy these ‘benefits.’

I estimate that three-quarters of all the negative feedback that I receive when I make the case for free trade is rooted in this utterly backwards understanding of the benefits and costs of trade.

Were people to understand that IMPORTS are the BENEFITS that we get from trade while EXPORTS are the COSTS that we must pay in order to receive these benefits, everyone would, in turn, understand the absurdity (for Americans) of what Trump proposes to ‘negotiate’ for Americans on the trade front.

The man’s goal is to arrange for Americans to be able to export more and to import less – that is, to spend more and to get less in return. It’s as if Trump (as well as SK and others) are really  secret agents sent here by an enemy government to enrich non-Americans at Americans’ expense.


  1. .

    • Mathius says:

      Mr. Flag,

      Off topic, but I’ve been very curious as to your position on BitCoin (or crypto currency in general). Care to share your illustrious thoughts?

      It’d decentralized, non-governmental, transparent, un-regulated.. seems like the kind of thing you’d be all over.. but you’ve often surprised me before.

      • “It’d decentralized, non-governmental, transparent, un-regulated.. seems like the kind of thing you’d be all over.. but you’ve often surprised me before.”

        It’s chaotic, and time and talent will resolve this chaos, naturally, into a form of order – with all the ups and downs that entails.

        However, blockchain tech is here to stay.

  2. Mathius says:


    Let’s just pretend everyone here is right about exports / imports, and that they’re “taking advantage” of us and “draining our wealth” and “stealing our jobs.”

    Further, let’s imagine that Trump is right and, somehow, magically, in absolute defiance of all economic reason, his tariffs will reverse the trade deficits, bring jobs back, and bring wealth into the country from abroad.

    Let’s imagine, for the moment, that all that nonsense is correct.

    What happens when you do that to foreign countries?

    Do they roll over and take it?

    Or do they – of course – impose their own reciprocal magical tariffs?

    Remembering the immutable FACT that tariffs are a Dead Weight Economic Loss, it simply means that we’ll face economic loss on both sides of every trade.

    Congratulations! You’ve just made everything more expensive.


    Now, again, let’s break out our graph paper and re-draw our supply and demand curves. Now the whole supply curve has shifted right from S1 to S2. Now, follow the lines to the point where the new supply curve meets the old demand curve and you’ll notice something interesting……………….. it’s LOWER!

    Yes, you read that right. Everyone in the world buys less because it’s more expensive. And that, of course, unless you’re using really powerful magical thinking, means that everyone is selling less, too.

    Now, when you sell less, that means less work. That means less jobs. That means less income. That means less spending. That means less buying. That means less selling. That means less work… and so on.

    Now, let’s really put on our industrial-strength fantasy hats here and imagine that, somehow, this vicious cause-and-effect gets trapped abroad while we somehow reap all the benefits. We’re just exporting happily and making money hand-over-fist and they’re hemorrhaging jobs and wealth while we boom. I mean, sure, why not. Let’s just ignore all those flying pigs out the window.

    Ok, sure, this is all total fantasy, so why not?

    Ok, but what happens abroad? Let’s imagine they don’t just cut us out of the loop entirely and just trade with each other instead, leaving our economy to whither and die in isolation.

    So, while we’re imagining that economics works in reverse, we’re also imagining that the rest of the world are stupid and will simply take what we dish out like sheep without any reprisals. Ok, well, they can’t export to us, so all those jobs die. Well, without jobs, their local economies collapse. Aside from the social upheaval, and ignoring what desperate people tend to do when they get really desperate (see also: pretty much all of history)……….. they won’t have money! Their currency will be worthless, they won’t have anything to sell for money (or the ability to sell it competitively to us anyway), they won’t have reserves… so….. I’ll wait… did you guess that they stop buying? That’s right! Good job!

    They stop buying. Because you’ve de-stabilized all the foreign economies. And they descend into a hellacious quagmire of WWIII.

    But don’t worry, I’m sure all those nukes will be stopped by Trumps asinine Wall™.


    Economic Voodoo, the lot of it. Nonsensical abject economic bullshit preying on the naivete of the American population under the guise of pretending to do something and actually making everything worse.


    • Sir Mathius What happens when you do that to foreign countries? Do they roll over and take it? Or do they – of course – impose their own reciprocal magical tariffs? These were out there long before Trump came along….long before Obama came along…Foreign Protectionist tariffs are older than Sk and I combined.

    • The Pollyanna in me has a different view of how things will shake out. I’ll probably be burnt at the stake for even mentioning that I see it this way.

      Trump is changing mindsets little by little. He wants Main Street to thrive again. Made in the USA is the theme.

      So lets take my thing…homesteading and outdoor life. Many items are already Made in the USA so there is little need for tarriffs. Yeah, I know the steel comes from china for my landscape trailer, even though it has a Made in USA sticker, but not for long. It will be American steel once again.

      Stay with me here.

      Have you ever seen the TV show Forged in Fire. It’s a competition on knife making skills by regular old joes. These guys practice their skills in their garages and end up selling their knives on the internet.

      Camping? Coleman is the name. Tents are now made in China. Betcha any money they will soon be made right back here in the USA. Along with many other Coleman products.

      Lodge cast iron is the name… it’s the go to for cast iron…Made in USA

      Fishing..the go to is Shakespeare and Eagle Claw…Made in USA

      Lets go to other things…

      Micro Breweries. Guys practicing their beer making skills and are opening little Micro Brewery taste shops on Main Street. The industry is gaining traction by the day.

      Eggs. Stepson works at some sort of egg producer. Warehouse is located right next to the chicken farm. Eggs are conveyor belted right from the hen house to the warehouse. No need for Mexican chicken eggs.

      Salad dressing. Stepson’s former employer is Lighthouse Salad dressing. Originally family owned, now 100% employee owned, very successful American business.

      Texas Jeans…as people tire of seeing that Levis and others are all made in foreign lands now, they’re retaliating and paying more for Texas Jeans. Texas Jeans is growing.

      Still another angle….

      People are creative and have been slowly but surely using the internet to build their little Made in USA businesses.

      From decorating stainless steel tumblers, to paint and pour parties, to customizing glass blocks and stuffing rope lights inside, to printing Tshirts, with Made in the USA linen…to you name it….people are becoming rich from their own homes again.

      The internet, and Trump’s Made in USA theme is creating a different mindset…where the global view will become less relevant in years to come…with people realizing we can be self sufficient if we really want to….decentralizing commerce…like it was back in the day.

      Now I’m not so Pollyannish that I think someone could build a Navy destroyer in their backyard. My point is that global commerce is not the only way to go. So your entire speech above is really just part of an overall business picture and you need to step back and see the forest from the trees more. Like Kent was saying…a lot of all this has to do with brainwashing and conditioning over the years where people either had no choices but to buy foreign, or did not believe in their own abilities to make things happen for themselves. As I say with politics, the same is true with commerce. It’s not you father’s commerce anymore.

      Does this make sense? Running for cover.

      • “Trump is changing mindsets little by little. He wants Main Street to thrive again. Made in the USA is the theme.”

        You need to use your brain, and separate the rhetoric from the action.

        Remember the movie “Mars Attacks!”?

        The Aliens come to Earth, and say “We come in Peace!” and the world cheers, then the Aliens begin wiping out humanity, while blaring “We come in Peace!”

        DO NOT FALL FOR THIS, even if it comes from your golden boy Trump.

        You must be wise enough to discern the difference between wanting “main street” to thrive, yet, place barriers upon such people by denying them free access to the goods and services, they THEMSELVES have decided best serves them.

        By these barriers, he is protecting WALL STREET, not main street.

        • Just A Citizen says:


          Oh come on, he is protecting main street. It just happens to be one building, or one apartment, but it is on main street. 😉

      • Just A Citizen says:


        You are correct that we do not live in our Father’s economic world. That is regarding specifics. But the principles and relationships are still the same.

        All the benefits to US producers you mentioned are a response to quality issues and that Americans have more disposable income to buy some higher priced products. The money we save buying that cheap TV from Japan or S. Korea is used to buy Texas Jeans or the Micro brew instead of some cheaper import with lower quality.

        The key principles at work with the free trade within the US boundaries extend beyond those boundaries. They, by fact of economic laws, have to apply anywhere and everywhere.

        Now notice the thing that was missing from your examples of good things. It was govt. control over that market. So imagine if that control was not extended to international markets either.

        I want to point out something here. Many of the issues people have with “free trade” are not really with “free trade” because we do not and have not had such a thing. NAFTA being a good example. It did not make trade free, nor was that its goal. It was designed to codify pretty much what was happening between the US and Canada but lift Mexico up by opening up markets to the other two countries. It was really, at its heart, an effort to improve Mexico’s economy in hopes of stemming the inevitable tide of migration of refugees. NAFTA allowed trade in certain goods under certain conditions and at certain prices. That is NOT FREE TRADE.

        • Only one point, The money we save buying the cheap TV is NOT being used for micro brews nor Texas Jeans for the people under employed or not employed at all.

          The great unanswered question to me is what would be the cost of an American made TV if that company had not been driven out of business by dumping and had been able to adapt, improve production and modernize?

          I cannot answer my own question other than to point out foreign made cars are not significantly cheaper than their American made counterparts these days. That DID NOT used to be the case but American manufacturers of autos were able to weather the storm and adopt cost saving measures allowing them to survive. The foreign car makers, once they captured a significant share of market went to normal pricing rather than dumping pricing.

          • Just A Citizen says:


            Dumping? You really think the cost of TV’s was reduced due to dumping? I thought you had memories of the time you grew up? TV costs were reduced because the Japanese took our Ford Model of production and modified it to align with their culture. The result was BETTER and CHEAPER TV’s. Same with cars.

            The US auto makers adapted by buying Japanese and S. Korean, and now Mexican parts. They adapted by moving to states where the Union did not have control over wages and benefits.

            So if your complaint about jobs is valid, then why should the people of Kentucky or Tennessee be allowed to have those auto jobs that used to be in Michigan?

            You also seem to think that underselling OUR costs is dumping. Nobody has ever sold large amounts of products here at below “their costs”. You are spouting the labor dogma right out of the Marxian play book. I would think you of all people would recognize that.

      • Mathius says:


        My point is that global commerce is not the only way to go.

        That’s what China said.. right before they missed out on the better part of millennium worth of progress.

        Now they’re playing catch up. And that’s due, significantly, to global commerce.

        But, before they isolated themselves, they were world leaders in commerce and technology. They were amongst the most advanced societies on the planet with one of the highest standards of living anywhere.

        If they hadn’t slammed that door, we’d probably all have flying cars by now.

  3. I consider “trade deficits” and all that mumbo-jumbo to be imaginary excuses to justify more theft-by-state.

    • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

      Right you are, Kent!

      The People have clambered for tariffs which basically just mean a tax that gets passed through to the consumer. And they’re happy about it. Congratulations – you’ve shot yourself in the foot, have done nothing about jobs, and raised hidden taxes on yourself.

      …………… Hurray?

      Because it’s more important, apparently, to feel like you’re fighting back against some perceived enemy than it is to actually do what’s best.

      • So……the answer is?

        • The answer is… a separation of Economy and State.
          (As part of the separation of Life and State.)
          Government has no business meddling in business. The only thing government can do for the economy is to get out of the way. Completely. Forever.

          • Well, that’s not gonna happen

            • Still the only right thing to do, just as getting rid of slavery was the right thing to do even though people said it was never going to happen.

              • Sort of…….the only way you got rid of slavery was from within…..and slavery was a democratic institution. ( No arguments, please, on southern democrats, etc ) It took change from within and that change was a republican President. But it was change. You do not have this right now in Washington. You have lawmakers that have been there for ages with their own agenda. Politics sucks…..this whole world would be better with no rules. Would you not agree that everytime you make a rule, you create control.

              • No, slavery was ended by England.

                This is a huge topic to understand how that happened.

                Back in the 1500’s, a bunch of leftists – the Spanish Jesuits – went to the new world to spread Christianity.

                What they found was the Spanish obliterating and enslaving the natives, and the horrors that were done to them. The Jesuits came back and wrote a plea to the Spanish crown demanding the end to the genocide and slavery.

                Their argument, a leftist argument, was that “are we not all Children of God”.

                It sent shock waves through the political system, as such an argument was so absolute and so perfect. But, of course, it went no where – it was ignored. But the principle, that idea, stuck to the consciousness of humanity, like a barb in the skin, and continued to fester.

                A group of abolitionists in England in the 1700’s took up the cause. Why in England?

                Slavery was a root economic force and provided the necessary cheap labor of the economy.
                With the advent of the industrial revolution changed the economics of cheap labor, and the requirement for slave labor was eliminated.

                England eliminated slavery, and additionally, enforced the interdiction of any slave ships, no matter the nation, friend or foe, to free the slaves.

                As industrialization manifested throughout Europe, one by one, these nations ended slavery.
                The last nation was Holland.

                So the English left convinced the English right to act, and the right acted firmly. Slavery in the west ended – overnight, compared the the tens of thousands of years of its existence.

                The American experience is distorted. The War between the States was not about slavery, but about trade and excise taxes. Muddled in this war, as a tactic, the North declared the slaves of the South to be free (interestingly, not the slaves of the North – but as there were so few, it really didn’t matter).

                This story is about slavery, and about the left and the right.

                All great ideas about how mankind in the world “should work” comes from the left. The right has no idea.

                The right are the “action”, the left are the “ideas”. If you wait for the “right” to think of a great social idea, the sun will exhaust itself first.

                But if you let the left “act” upon the idea, you end up killing hundreds of millions of people.

                The problem of the left is that though all the great ideas come from them, so do all the horrific ideas come from them too. That’s the nature of ideas.

                Society is best served by the left presenting their ideas, and the right choosing to act or not to act on them.

                Getting this backwards, as we are close to doing today, will destroy us.

                Getting it right will empower us.

                As far as removing government from the economy, yes, that idea will need to fester for awhile, but when it finally becomes paramount, it will, over night, end.

              • Would you not agree that everytime you make a rule, you create control
                Real rules are discovered, not made.

                The difference between real, legitimate rules and counterfeit rules is that the counterfeit rules “create control” while legitimate rules simply let others know where they have no right to meddle (“control”). You have no right to archate (initiate force or violate property rights), and actual rules only remind people of this fact. Counterfeit rules try to archate against people by pretending government employees’ opinions trump rights and liberty. It’s irresponsible in the extreme.

          • Agreed..that is the answer…..now, how do you do it? The reality is that it will not happen short of a world wide revolution and that will not happen. The emerging markets will not allow it. So, what now? We can sit here and debate all day and take sides and call each other names but the fact is…….we will still be where we are tomorrow.

            I think everyone on here understands that a totally that separating a totally free market and getting government out of the way understands all of this.

            So, now, we have POTUS that wants to put America first….some protectionism….not total but some. I really am on the fence about this. I understand it well….I am heavily invested and watch this very closely as a great portion of my income depends on watching domestic and international issues. I fully understand the long term effects that protectionist policies have and, in the past, they have never been good except in small doses on specific things and history has shown that they have worked on surgical basis. But I do not see this happening. Everyone thinks Trump is just shooting blind…..I do not. Not yet. People call him reckless because of his statements. I am not so sure. I am watching…..very closely.

            Remember, I am not a Trump fan. Yes I voted for him because he was the lesser of the two evils. I also voted for him because he is a loose cannon and totally unpredictable. The past POTUS’ have not worked out so perhaps a change is needed and that is also flushing out some of the rats….and that is also happening. I amone of those peope that is opposed to the status quo crap in Washington, and you should be also. I am not a “progressive” and I am not a one world order person. I do not like the central banking controlling things and I do not like centrist policies and the one size fits all mantra.

            But, on trade, I am willing to see what he actually does. The past is certainly not working. Your very statement about deficits indicates that you and I are mostly in agreement. Deficits are a pariah. They are meant to control. So, if you believe this, other than government interference and cronyism, why would you be against tackling tariffs? Do you advocate leaving them alone and go along as the past or would you advocate trying something different and changing them?

            So, to me, the bottom line is this……government is not going to get out of our business. You can burn everything down but it will not change. The only way to change it is from within and that will be a huge fight as you are seeing it play out now.

            • I’m not going to become a slave owner to try to change slavery from the inside. Sorry. You may consider that “doing nothing”, and I’m OK with that. I’d rather do nothing than do something wrong. I’ll simply withdraw my support and not pretend that evil actions are “pragmatic”. What others choose to do is on them.
              I recommend http://tolfa.us/ for anyone who wants to actually help.

          • “Separation of Government and Economy”

            Big Thumbs Up!

          • Just A Citizen says:


            Holly Cow………….. talk about a blast from the past. What happened? Black Flag dredge you up from the depths of the desert?

    • Another closet communist.

    • Good article and it points directly at the problems that I encounter with NAFTA to which I put out there and, not surprisingly, when I postit real problems….it is discounted. It points directly at why I cannot sell my asparagus in Mexico to the US market. I am blocked, not only by tariffs, but by protectionist policies that are already in place by previous administrations and everyone jumps on Trump. Hypocrisy.

    • “While totally free trade is an ideal and a goal, it is impossible to accomplish without becoming wholly interdependent on other nations.”

      Dear God, what blubbering!

      No nation exists without the goods and services of other nations.

      The whole point of free trade is that we become dependent on our neighbors and they upon us.

      Think about your own life, for god’s sake.

      To believe that your existential existence depends on you providing all your necessary goods and services for your life, YOU WILL BE SO DIRT POOR, worse then the poorest man in Africa.

      The interdependence upon your neighbors and they with you provides you the SECURITY and WEALTH of your life. To declare the opposite is BRAIN-LESS NONSENSE.

    • Just A Citizen says:


      So lets look at just a couple of the claims made:

      “While totally free trade is an ideal and a goal, it is impossible to accomplish without becoming wholly interdependent on other nations. TRUE. BUT THIS IS NOT A NEGATIVE IN ITSELF. NOTICE THOUGH IT IS PRESENTED AS SUCH. There will always be another country capable of driving your domestic industry into the dirt on some product or another, as no one nation can be the most efficient and best producer of everything that nation requires. THE LAST PART IS TRUE, THE FIRST PART IS HYPERBOLE DESIGNED TO GET A NEGATIVE RESPONSE TOWARDS FREE TRADE. WHO WANT THEIR INDUSTRY “GROUND INTO THE DIRT”. OF COURSE IT IGNORES THE FACT THAT EFFICIENCY IS GAINED AND THUS PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVED AND THUS WEALTH INCREASED BY BUYING THE LESS EXPENSIVE GOODS.



  4. Here is a challenge…….I wonder if anyone out there read the TPP proposal in full? If you have not, I suggest that you do. I suggest that an awful lot of you will change your minds. Read it closely. I have read it and I understand economics pretty well. It was a piece of crap and NO ONE has a right to say Trump did not know what he was doing…..until they have read what he did not join…..and thank whatever god you want, we did not join this. Read about the tariffs and the costs associated with it and read about who was going to be in control. It was really scary.

    • Kent….if you read this and the associated aspects of it….this was a perfect example of what you despise…government interference but with greater control, utilizing central banks. Tariffs designed to protect certain economies and ours was not one of them.

    • Just A Citizen says:


      I did not dive deep into the weeds on TPP but I think the “control” or “litigation resolution” provisions were absolutely awful. It sounded much like what we have gotten with public unions. Someone throws a fit, then govt. caves in and gives them more money, the money is then passed back to the govt. people who gave them the raise.

      The Obama administration was right about one thing though. The agreement was an effort to undermine China, not a deal with China like Mr. Trump claimed during the campaign.

  5. Now tell me, have you seen THIS reported anywhere? From the Miami Herald re: Nicholas Cruz and “high Capacity” magazines.

    “Cruz went in with only 10-round magazines because larger clips would not fit in his duffel bag, Book said.”

    Read more here:
    Florida school shooter’s AR-15 may have jammed, saving lives, report says
    Nikolas Cruz’s gun may have jammed as he shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The weapon’s malfunction could have saved lives.

  6. Just A Citizen says:


    Come on man……………”“what part of ‘God is omniscient’ do you not understand?””

    All knowing, right? You can only know what you know, or know that you do not know. Donald Rumsfeld.

    You cannot know that which has not happened. This includes God. The mystics tried to make God prescient, not just omniscient. Easier to control the masses if they thing there is a pre ordained future that only the God head understands.

    God cannot create him/her self. Thus God cannot know the void which is the future. It does not exist yet. Now I will give God this. He/she is probably better at predicting outcomes than us mere mortals. He/she has had much longer to gain the knowledge required. Assuming of course that God is not so old as to be suffering from dementia.

    As for all the other claims, remember that God retired on Day 7.

    • Mathius says:

      The guy created man.

      There’s no way he didn’t know what colossal pieces of shit we tend to be.

      Hell, he MADE us this way.

      Even if there was some room for doubt about the who’s and when’s and where’s, the certainty that one of us would murder someone was inevitable. I’m not half as smart or all-knowing as god, and I can predict with damned near absolute certainty that someone else is going to be murdered in the near future, with no end in sight.

      So, given that it’s an inevitability, god could have headed it off with a “good guy with a gun flaming sword” program. He could easily have given Abel a sword to defend himself. And everyone else, for that matter.

      But he didn’t.

      I have no flaming sword.

      And this upsets me.

      But God did give out some weapons. He just game them to his trusted soldiers. The angels. Whose job, by definition, is to serve.

      In fact, a key function of the angels is to fight in the end times against the armies of Gog and Magog, and the beast. They are his…. militia.

      QED: God does not subscribe to the “good guy with a gun” philosophy. He subscribes to the Well Regulated Militia philosophy, and to Flaming Sword control.

      • Just A Citizen says:


        Maybe what you see as pieced of shit, God sees as perfection. Maybe it is your perception which is screwed up.

        • Mathius says:

          I’m going to go with “tendency to murder your sibling” as “piece of shit.”

          You’re welcome to debate the point if you’d like to make the case that fratricide is “perfection,” but I don’t really see it..

  7. Facebook’s user data gathering prowess has been common knowledge for some time now, but one journalist’s impromptu experiment suggests it is even more ubiquitous and pervasive than previously believed. Nick Whigham, a reporter for the New Zealand Herald, decided to test out a feature on Facebook that allows users to download a ‘secret’ file showing how much personal history the company has gathered about them. What he discovered is that Facebook not only has disturbingly vast consumer profiles on all 1.4 billion daily users but also tracks the internet movement and personalities of people who don’t even log into the website.

    A large part of Facebook’s business model is selling the information it collects about users to advertisers. It’s free to us because we’re the product. Its algorithms track your posts, likes, shares, and preferences, of course, but they also track your overall Internet activity — the websites you go to, your operating system, your IP address, and comments you happen to leave on random forums — via social media plugins and cookies on third-party websites. Even if you’re not logged into Facebook, your browsing behavior is tracked by secret trackers called Pixels, which are embedded on over 10,000 websites. Sorry, social media Luddites — even if you’ve never used Facebook, your online activity is tracked everytime you merely visit a website that contains Facebook ads and trackers.

    Whigham downloaded his Facebook files and was stunned by the specificity of the information. The 500MB zip files contained 105 biometric facial recognition files, photo metadata that includes where and when the photo was taken, his entire iPhone contact list with names and numbers, old tenancy agreements, photo scans of broadband bills, bank transfer screenshots, and, naturally, the entire archive of his Messenger chat logs.

    Whigham urges people to download their file so they can see the extent to which their privacy is being violated by what he calls “surveillance capitalism.”

    How do its algorithms aggregate so much personal information? There are 98 data points Facebook uses to size you up, and some of them may stun you. They range from the square footage of your home to whether or not you’re an early adopter of technology. They also look for “users who are interested in the Olympics, fall football, cricket, or Ramadan.”

    While much of the public seems to have become somewhat anesthetized to predatory data mining and privacy violations, legitimate legal challenges have finally begun to surface, and Facebook is finally facing some heat. Last month, a Belgian court ruled that the firm could not collect data on Internet users who do not have a Facebook account. Elsewhere, a federal judge recently dismissed Facebook’s motion to dismiss an Illinois class action lawsuit charging the company with violating constitutional privacy rights.

    Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rodd Sims, whose organization is running a separate investigation into the privacy violations of multiple tech giants, including Facebook and Google, thinks it’s time for people to really consider the full ramifications of opting into services that harvest their personal information.

    “Some people have asserted that consumers know what’s going on and don’t care,” Mr. Sims stated.

    “I think it’s absolutely crucial we find out what consumers do know and then let’s see whether they care. My suspicion is Facebook and Google have much more personal information about people than people realise.”

    To download your ‘secret’ Facebook file, click at the top right of Facebook’s navigation bar and select Settings. Then click “Download a copy of your Facebook data” beneath General Account Settings and click the green button. Then wait ten minutes and you should receive an email letting you know that “surveillance capitalism” is alive and well.

    Happy hunting!

    • Just A Citizen says:

      Black Flag

      I have been following this for awhile. As one who never used these platforms I still recognized they were following my internet use, whether by me or by those I do business with. The cookies were the tell. Ads popping up all the time for thing I had been looking for just two days ago.

      Question: This has evolved under a supposed Free Market. I do not know to what extent outfits like Facebook get govt. protection or benefits, outside of copyrights. So now that we see how this can turn out without Govt. controls, what is the Free Market solution?

      I point out here that filing lawsuits will only be successful if laws are broken. Laws require a law making body, which then supports the creation of a govt. body of some kind. I doubt any society is ready for a free market in law making.

      Is competition really possible in the realm of these giants that do not use the same model? Maybe it is just a matter of consumer awareness. If our privacy is important we should be willing to pay for services instead of getting it for free, by allowing our personal info to be sold in a dark room someplace.

      YOUR THOUGHTS please.

      • Question: This has evolved under a supposed Free Market. I do not know to what extent outfits like Facebook get govt. protection or benefits, outside of copyrights. So now that we see how this can turn out without Govt. controls, what is the Free Market solution?

        No answer requires government.
        It merely requires awareness.

        This is not saying this is a bad thing. It is a good thing as you get a service for no money.
        It is awareness of what it is costing you.

        Then you make the choice whether to involve yourself or not.

        • Just A Citizen says:


          I agree in principle. I am asking if competition for this service is possible given the size of the companies that we are finding offensive. Assuming that others share my concerns.

          Are these behemoths violating the assumption that monopolies cannot exist without govt protection? Or is it just another case of “it depends on the time frame” one is looking at?

          I think the true nature of these beasts would have been revealed if the Trump admin had proposed “net neutrality” be applied to them instead of the ISPs. Bwahahahaha.

          I do think “net neutrality” was an attempt by them to capture the regulatory power for their own benefit.

          Are you aware of any other protections they get from Govt. other than copyrights?

  8. Just A Citizen says:

    FREE TRADE…………. my thought.

    Whether free trade is better should not be the question. Free trade is absolutely better than restricted trade. Tariffs on trade are appropriate to the extent govt. needs money to run the import/export facilities and conduct needed inspections. Obviously, such tariffs would probably be uniform among all free trading nations.

    The real question is how to get from here to there. Which leads to the question presented in the Mises article I posted the other day.

    Should we UNILATERALLY disarm? Should we announce a policy of free trade with all nations and open our doors to all importation as well as allowing our own citizens to trade with whomever they wish. That is buy or sell products without Govt. interference, or protection.

    If Japan will not buy your rice then find someone who will. You will no longer get the Govt. to place tariffs on Japan just to force them to buy your rice.

    Would unilaterally moving to free trade cause the rest of the world to move faster in the same direction?

    One other option would be this. The US as a matter of policy trades without restrictions or does not trade at all.. Any nation wishing to trade with the US must allow FULL and FREE trade. End of discussion.

    • Yes, the answer to all trade is the abolishment of any interference of trade here.

      It does not matter what other nations do – whether they follow, or impose.

      In every case, no matter the cause, the best answer is free trade.
      Adam Smith proved this.

      When the English abandoned the Corn Laws, and then extended to every other product REGARDLESS OF THE RESPONSE OF ANYONE ELSE, their wealth and power expanded greatly.

      • Just A Citizen says:

        Black Flag

        I see a possible policy coming from this. The US would END all trade agreements. As a matter of policy all trade with the US is now open and free.

        This would eliminate protections created via trade treaties that give advantages to companies who then relocated elsewhere. They should be able to cut costs by importing certain goods they use in manufacturing. Allowing them to keep jobs here.

        Now if we could only get our debt reduced so that money the other people make selling us stuff would go to buying stuff instead of our Govt. debt instruments. 😉

  9. Just A Citizen says:


    One other point, which I forgot to mention to Anita above. What NAFTA did was not open trade or make for free trade. What it did was give a preferential treatment in a manner which encouraged US businesses to relocate outside the country. This is why we think of free trade costing jobs. It was not because the US could not compete. The US plant moved away and the local work force was not given a chance to compete. Much of this was due to costs imposed on businesses via labor and environmental regulations.

    The downside for many is that truly free trade and a free US market would result in lower wages for many industries. This does not necessarily mean a lower standard of living or decline in absolute wealth. But it certainly plays on the perception that if your income is declining you are losing.

    Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed the steep jump in grocery prices over the past year? US CPI at 2%, my arse.

  10. Comment rom the noted Trotskyite, Rush Limbaughsky……

    “What does it matter what good cost if you don’t have a job?”

    • Just A Citizen says:


      What good is a job if you won’t move to where it is located?

      By the way, the argument is predicated on a false assumption. Namely, that no job is available which pays enough to buy the goods.

      • You nailed it, JAC.

        That is the issue.
        People are lazy.
        They want “this easy job, that pays this huge amount, right where I live”, and if they don’t see it, they complain “there are no jobs”.

        There are jobs EVERYWHERE, that satisfy any two of those 3 conditions, but not more.

        I haven’t yet found a job for me that is easy, high paying, right next door.

        Hmmm, frankly, I haven’t ever found an easy job, but that is just probably me. The other ones, yes, I have found CONSTANTLY. The world is full of them. Yes, you may have to learn something first.

      • The “job” is still not there. maybe in Beijing but not here. What is the percentage of American men of working age who have “dropped” out of the labor market?

        Obviously you folks do not hang around the same people I hang with.

        • I’ve dropped out of the labor market. My choice. I’m sure I could get a job (although, I will admit my activism has probably made it much harder than it otherwise would be). It might not be a job I really want, but I don’t know what a job I would want would look like. I like writing and promoting liberty. I just wish it paid better- but the market has spoken and I’d be silly to get angry at it.

        • Bull, SK
          in every case, without exception, if you start questioning these people you find they refuse one if the three positions I laid out above.

          They refuse because they need to learn something new, it’s not high enough wage or they refuse to move to the jobs

          You are too gullible to see through their bullshit

          Instead you’d rather impose upon everyone else so to provide to these lazy idiots

    • Just A Citizen says:


  11. To follow Kent’s response (which is, no surprise, brilliant)

    My buddy asked me, given he knows my “anti-government” stance, how society would “make laws”.

    True law rises from the populous, then is codified by authority.

    This codification is merely the way to let everyone know what the law of the people is, clearly, with clear consequences should it be contravened. Authority DOES NOT MAKE LAW, but merely creates the policies necessary to justly enforce the people’s law.

    What Kent and I rage against is the reversal of this, where law rises from “authority” and forced upon the populous.

    So back to my bud.

    One way (not necessary the right way, wrong way or THE way, but just a way) to do this:

    I suggested that all laws start with a petition. An arbitrary number of signatures (enough to matter) propose a law to address some issue they see necessary for a law.

    It is placed upon a ballet for a vote of the populous, and if a arbitrary percentage agree, it becomes a law. (more here about this percentage).

    The “government” then proceeds to build a set of policies of enforcement and consequences around said new law.


    So what does this mean?

    Though I speak for myself, I am sure Kent would agree, that the law should be what the people under such law agree to be.

    Even though we are radical freedom advocates, we equally under such an idea would agree if a group of people wish upon themselves a law of social constraint, they have the right to place that upon themselves. If a group of anti-beer people form a society, and ban beer, I have no complaint (though I would not necessarily participate in their society).

    People have the right to produce the laws that they wish, collectively, to live under.


    Right now, we elect an idiot based on his claim (that more often then not, he reverses his position after election) to create. Whether he does or does not meet his promise is irrelevant.

    What he does do, though, is based on your vote over this claim, HE CLAIMS THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE ALL OTHER LAWS that you may or may not have directly authorized him to. He takes your vote, then extends this power over all other areas that you may actually be repulsed by – but have no power to stop him.

    This is the system of corruption.

    If the laws could ONLY be produced from the people directly, this sickness would be mitigated.

    You would instead elect policy creators, not law makers.

    If a group of these policy makers made crazy policies, you vote them out, and get new ones.
    The law remains, but the policies can change for the better- easily. If the policy makers are competent and just, they could stay there indefinitely.

    The key here is the separation of POLICY from the CREATION of LAW.

    *The percentage of vote to pass a law.
    It is absolutely arbitrary. It could be 60/40, 40/60, 90/10, 10/90.

    If it is easy to make a law (10/90), it is easy to repeal a law (10/90)
    If it is hard to make a law (90/10), it is hard to repeal a law (90/10)

    As you can see, it doesn’t really matter what the percentage is (other than picking one that makes trivial laws that would be overthrown less possible, for a matter of practicality).

    Easy making laws can be easily repealed. Those that are not repealed will tend to be good laws.
    Hard making laws are hard to repeal. However, since you need such a substantial agreement to make the law, should it pass, there is a substantial support for the need of such a law. The need to repeal the law if it is bad must be shown to be really bad.

    • My only clarification:
      If a group of anti-beer people form a society, and ban beer, I have no complaint (though I would not necessarily participate in their society).
      I don’t believe societies are necessarily geographical. The Baptists have a society, the Methodists have a society. They overlap geographically, and each has their own rules. I choose to not participate and so their rules don’t bother me (I may even agree with them) until or unless they decide to impose their rules universally through the political means. That’s not nice.
      If a society imposes prohibition, or anti-gun “laws” it is not my society, no matter what its members may believe.

      • Mathius says:

        Then “society” is meaningless unless there is someone out there with 100% identical views to your own.

        There is only a loose association with other who broadly share your mindset.

        • Then “society” is meaningless…
          That may very well be the reality, under your definition.

          However… Society is an organic thing, like “the market”. It can’t be artificially imposed, not even by geographic proximity. You can tell me that those around me who want to violate others are my society, but they aren’t. I know it. I even suspect they don’t share a society with each other even if they’ve been led to believe they do. America (and everywhere else) is a conglomeration of overlapping, evolving societies, not “A Society”. That’s just how it is, even if people don’t like the implications. I’m fine with that.

      • Just A Citizen says:

        Kent and Mathius

        The dispersed society can and has worked. As long as it occurs within another structured society that allows it to function.

        For this to happen, the higher the order of society, the fewer the rules must be. Those rules of the final power can only be focused on the values, morals, ethics that are common among all the people.

        This is how we start with a govt. who’s only legitimate role is the protection of our rights. Recognizing that those rights can only come from the people themselves.

    • Just A Citizen says:

      Black Flag

      I have given this topic considerable thought since we first met here. I have concluded that
      THE THING is worthy of being modernized.

  12. Mathius says:

    So, something interesting happened, and no one seems to be picking up on it.

    The Taiwanese government pushed for, and received, a name change on the TPP during their continuing negotiations.

    They are forging ahead without us, and such is life.

    But what’s interesting is the new name: The Comprehensive Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

    See what they did there? They added the words “comprehensive” (ok, fine) and “progressive” (hmmmm….)


    That’s very interesting to me.

    Because putting that word in the title 100% guarantees that Trump does revisit or join the pact no matter what. There is exactly no way in hell Trump signs on now.

    Trump had held out that, maybe, he’d reevaluate later on. But now, that is completely dead with barely a whisper.

    Maybe it’s a fluke.

    But if I wanted a subtle path to locking the US out of the pact for the next few years, I can’t conceive of a better way.

    Maybe I’m paranoid.

    But, well, it sure is interesting…

    • I have been watching this in detail….right now, it is of little or no concern. But, it does require watching.

    • Mathius,,,,, But if I wanted a subtle path to locking the US out of the pact for the next few years, I can’t conceive of a better way. Do you think any pact makes a difference? I do not think so, personally. There is no enforcement arm out there on any trade agreement. No army, no navy, no unilateral police force is available to enforce compliance…I think it is a non starter.

  13. Musk gave an example of this noting that a car produced in the United States and imported into China pays a 25 percent import tax but that China only pays a 2.5 percent import tax when sending their cars to the U.S.

    Musk further noted that U.S. companies are prohibited from owning a majority share of their Chinese production factories but that there are many Chinese owned automotive factories in the United States.


    No opinion by me, just facts.

    • caught the same comment. Wonder if this is FAIR trade as per Matt and BF? What the hell. does not effect them.

      • How does if effect me, SK?
        So what about how Chinese stop themselves buying good USA cars? They suffer, not me or you

        • And additionally, if it is easier for the Chinese to invest in USA then China, this makes you mad?!?!!?!

          Their investment creates jobs and industry here, not in china!!

          You are so confused, you want to hurt your wealth by stopping the Chinese goods and then complain when they make more jobs

        • EXACTLY! You do not suffer, the poor sonofabiitch on the US assembly line suffers!

          • And it is not you so what the hell do you care? Every man for himself, Women and Children first only if they can push me out of the way…..Jesus H. Youknowwhat!

            • SK

              Wrong again

              I do care but unlike you I am smart enough to know that I do not know everything

              I do not know other people’s lives nor do I know enough to pretend that I have the answer

              I do know that unintended consequences are large then the seen ones and that could inflict more harm upon countless other people

              So I let that man do for himself as he sees fit to do and save damaging countless thousands of other people

          • I think is his problem not mine
            I did nothing to him
            It is not my fault
            It is his responsibility to manage his life not mine

            You are so conceited to assume you know best for him and everyone else

    • Just A Citizen says:

      Can I bring up the fact that Musk wouldn’t even be in the news, a complete unknown, if not for all the Govt. subsidies he has and continues to receive?

  14. Once again, it is very nice to see all the varying opinons on trade on here and the discussions without name calling. Very nice, indeed.

    • A lot of very good points made…a lot of differeing opinions…no answers yet but with discussions…answers will come.

    • I am ready to start name calling. BF thinks I’m a Commie Pinko Bastard.

      • If you honestly looked at your demands, you would see yourself on the side of the commies not on the side of the founders of your country

      • I recall my time in India in 1998ish

        They had such high tariffs on every thing so to “protect ” their industries

        My host sent a driver and car to pick me up

        It was a mint condition 1950ish Packard

        I was amazed at its condition and admiring the quality of its condition I asked what exact year was this car

        He said “brand new, made this year”

        That’s the world SK wants the USA to live under, stuck under protectionism, free from competition, pretending he will enjoy a better life

        No, SK, you just get stuck

      • SK
        you obviously did not read my post here

        If the Chinese send you cheap goods and USA sends goods that the Chinese make more expensive, you are at a trade advantage

        Remember exports are a COST.
        IMPORTS are a benefit

        If your benefits are subsidized by Chinese YOU WIN

        They are sending cheap goods by paying you to buy and then they are forcing their own people to buy your goods at a higher price

        Buy low sell high
        That’s how you win

        But that is lost in your head

        You think selling low and buying high is the right way to go

        • So why is there a 25% tariff on US autos as per Elan Musk?

          • Because the Chinese are as stupid as you want the USA to become

            Just because some nations do stupid things doesn’t mean you should advocate your nation to do the same

            Learn about mercantilism and how fatal it is to the prosperity of a nation

            Adam smith is a good start

          • No, they do not suffer. That is your mistake

            I exampled England wool during the French tariff war

            But such things cannot penetrate your thinking

          • And yes every man for himself free of your moronic demands that he cannot choose to trade with whom ever he pleases

            That’s the thing

            You have no problem harming others because of your policies

  15. Imagine, if you will….a world full of people who do not grasp individual liberty and basic economics but want to collectively make decisions on how you should run your life.

    • Just A Citizen says:


      Yeah, just imagine. Sure glad we don’t have to worry about that. Snark /off

      P.S. I didn’t know you were looking for a solution to your Asparagus problem specifically. Since you cannot change the deal, then change the dealer……….hint, hint.

      Or maybe you could send your asparagus to someone else under the TPP or whatever they call it now. Then buy asparagus from them and ship that to the US. You might make money on both turns of the deal.

    • Imagine? I live here. LOL.
      The good thing is that life “works” even with bad guys like those you described all around. That’s something I discovered years ago, just by accepting that I have no right to archate.

  16. And the thought for the day………They say you are what you eat..but I don’t remember eating a friggin legend….. good night.

  17. Pittsburgh local news has quite a few interviews with very happy steel workers. After all the discussion during the last few days, it will be interesting how this plays out. I don’t think it will last long, but time will tell.

    Kim Jong In is gonna meet with Trump. Who would have thought that this was even possible 6 months ago. The Liberal media, with their overactive Trump derangement syndrome, looks to be WRONG again. While my expectations of anything meaningful coming from the meeting(s), there is a little hope that maybe there can finally be a real peace agreement after all these decades and the Nork’s can begin to prosper as a people.

    More snow last night and more coming today. 5 inches and counting.

  18. Dale A. Albrecht says:

    been absent for a while. There is some items on this chapter that I do want to comment on but will have to wait until later tonight.

    I was contracted to restore an 1850 “Greek Revival” porch. Nice architectural project, but the other week I was informed that a major corporation’s board has rented the b&b so I now have a hard deadline for completion. Between wait time on letting things cure, the weather has been an issue. Winds up limiting each day to no more than 4 hours if that.

  19. I’ve heard jokes about doing this. Didn’t realize it had been done. 😁


    • Yeah…..it’s funny and, of course, in a town of over 30,000 with one murder in 6 years and crime below 2%…..it is going to be said that guns have nothing to do with it. We know the truth, but the truth will be ignored.

  20. Want an insight to Trump? Read his book…”The Art of the Deal”

    Just like “Dreams of my Father” was Obama’s legacy or attempt at legacy.

    Just like “Infanterie Greift n (“Infantry Attacks”)” that Rommel wrote. Rommel’s legacy did not fare too well when he got on Hitler’s shit list.

    All blue prints to their thinking.

    • Just A Citizen says:


      His books are one reason I find him a Progressive. No problem using govt. force to get what he wants for his own benefit. Alexander Hamilton and he would get along just fine.

      • I agree…but his books are a perfect blueprint of what he is like.

        • Oh…and he is progressive..I agree with that.

          • Thought I would throw this at you as well…..I reported on here that the numbers reported about democratic turnout in Texas were high….but what was not reported is that the Repubs out numbered the Dems almost 2 to 1 but, of course, it is not reported that way….the point is that the turnout for the Dems was increased by 20% because of Ted Cruz. He has pissed an awful lot of Texans off….and, in Texas, we have open ballot. There is a young Center/slightly right Democrat that is very appealing and a lot of us crossed over and voted for him, primarily to give Cruz a notice. From what I have heard, Cruz got the message. His campaign called me yesterday and asked if our veterans group would donate once again….I told them…not at this time. Last election, my group raised over $500,000…….You would have loved it because after I said that……………………………total silence on the other end of the line. Half a million is not much when you consider everything else…but it is a nice number. They asked if I would be around to talk to the Senator (I am chairman of the fundraising committee) and I said..”No maam, not at this time. Action is what we need to see not words and talking to him at this time would do no good”.

            Wonder what will come of this over the next couple of months?

            • Just A Citizen says:


              I understand sending a message. But I am curious as to what the message is you are trying to send. What is it you want him to do?

              Or, are ya’ll still just upset because he did not throw “vocal” support to Mr. Trump?

              Ask yourself this. Given the “conservatives” continued anti Trump stance, how would Mr. Cruz have fared with them if he had openly supported Mr. Trump at the time. Would you not have just swapped one group being mad for another group being mad?

              On the media hype over Democrat turnout in Texas, that they would not tell the whole story was a given. That they would hype it leading up to it, then fade away when the tidal wave does not appear is a given. It will happen again and again and again.

              By the way, I do not think your Democrat is as much a moderate, “right leaning” fellow as you think. He would not be getting the National support he is if that were his true colors.

  21. Keeping up with the bullshit about how beneficial “free trade” is, I want to digress and provide a bit of pycho-analysis to my “free-trading” friends here. No Colonel, not you, the absolutists!

    The absolutists on this issue are the strong, manly men (and women) who go it alone. Who hearken back to that time in American History (their version) when men foraged off into the wilderness, surviving on their own wits and capabilities. The Will Geer character in “Jerimiah Johnson” comes to mind. They will plough their way forward no matter what, using pure grit and determination to overcome everything. The “voyagers” who went into the Rockies in the 1820’s should probably be their role models.

    Now, us non-absolutist types see the era before, during and immediately after the founding somewhat differently. We see a country made by cooperative venture. We see Crockett and Boone as the rugged individualists they surely were but who relied on their neighbors. We see them as pioneers who brought CIVILIZATION forward (civilization equaling more than one person). What they did they did to satisfy themselves but they were most definitely not loners.

    Now Mr. Flag would apparently look at a New England or Amish barn raising as sure evidence of Marxist ideology subverting the traditional, rugged individualist myth. Buildyourowngoddambarn!

    I submit that the “founders” of this country by the evidence of the compromises they had to make to get the declaration and constitution done were in fact closet communists like me. When those who disagree with me state that I betray the founders, I wonder. The Randian view they seem to take of the world would give me pause to consider whether, if they were wealthy and positioned in 1776 if they would be ready to risk, Life, fortune (especially fortune) and sacred honor. Moving forward to the 1830’s I have serious doubts that they would have followed Bowie and Crockett into that Mission for such unrealistic, altruistic and ephemeral goals.

    Back to free trade. I equate my position with the “compromises” made on my total independence in order to make this “thing” we have work. I’d rather sacrifice the opportunity to own that 99 dollar 99 inch flat screen TV to see the guy down the road be able to afford a 32 inch one or the food to feed his kids. My greedy Ulterior motive is to NOT have to pay the taxes to support him and his indolent kids while they sample various pharmaceuticals while having way too much free time on their hands.

    Heinlein addressed some of these issues in “Beyond this Horizon”. Not the issue of free trade specifically but the issue of automation and robotics replacing humans. Like Harry Hopkins another “socialist” of the era and FDR’s right hand man, Heinlein speculated that providing “jobs” was the key to keeping men men. The current collapse in masculinity and masculine values is just another symptom of a disease no one wants to look at or talk about.

    One of the best memories I have about the old man is his insistence that there is NO ONE WAY to do anything. Our failure, left, right, collectivist or libertarian is to NOT SEE that.

    • As typical, SK is totally ignorant of history. He pretends that freedom is devoid of cooperation.

      I have posted thousands of words regarding communism, where it works and where it doesn’t.

      But again, SK is so block-headed, such understanding is beyond him.

      The dangers of the people like SK is their inconsistency. They abhor when government imposes upon them, yet take up the government mantle to impose their idiotic ideas upon others. “Freedom for me, but not for you” is their base ideology.

      He pretends he is not a Socialist nor a Communist, but when push comes to shove, he is more then willing to propose exactly those policies, whenever he and his cronies see it benefits themselves, and only themselves.

      The harm to the millions of other invisible people throughout the nation are no concern of his.

    • SK,

      IF the Chinese announced that all steel shipped to the US would be free, would you declare war?

      Would you refuse the deal?

    • I love that people join together voluntarily to do things no one could do individually.
      I hate when people believe holding someone at gunpoint and forcing them to do what you want done is a good thing.

      And, of course “there is NO ONE WAY to do anything“– but there are right ways and wrong ways. You can do something by cheating and violating others to get your way– using the political means rather than the economic means– and you are a bad guy if you do, even if it accomplishes something “good”.

    • SK,

      You are so concerned with the man without a job, that -as you claim- he can’t feed his family.


      You demand everyone else must bear the burden, but you? Nah, you simply hump your soap box around and say “I would not buy a cheap TV, so he would have a job”.

      BUT YOU DO NOT CREATE A JOB FOR HIM. You want me and others to do that. You sit back in your ego-centric world view, demean those that actually provide jobs and wealth, and demand that they should pay more for their supplies, based on your utterly bizarre brain fart of what you think is economics.

      You are a hypocrite to the Nth degree.

      • IF you really cared about that guy, you would actually help that guy. You would go and pay him to do a job for you, or fund his education or something.

        But you don’t. You pretend you spending an extra few bucks on a TV will do the job! HOHOHOHO!

      • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

        There’s another fallacy here.

        No one “can’t feed their family” in America.

        Food is cheap and there’s public and private assistance.

        No one – NO ONE – starves in America.

        Maybe you can’t afford food AND a car AND cable AND a cell phone.

        But everyone in America can afford the necessities if they have their priorities straight.

        What he’s really saying is that he thinks people are…. ENTITLED to a certain standard of living beyond the necessities.

        And that THAT is what entitles him to mess with your private transactions in order to redirect “good” jobs to where he wants them.

        There are plenty of jobs. Unless you are disabled, mentally ill, too proud, or just plain lazy, there are jobs for you. You might not like it. It might not pay as much as you want. The benefits might be lousy and the hours long. But the jobs exist.

        And, even at minimum wage (a different topic entirely!), there’s a standard of living you can afford. You might not have an iPhone or cable. You might need roommates. You might not be able to save up for retirement. But you will not starve.

        Want to know why we have a “problem” with illegal immigrants in this country? (We don’t, but let’s pretend we do). It’s because we have jobs that Americans WON’T do.

        Everyone on the Red Team bitches and moans endlessly about “they took our jobs!” but I don’t see SKT lining up to pick strawberries in the fields?

        “But I don’t live near the strawberry fields in Southern California!”

        Well neither did the Guatemalan who risked life and limb and jail time to do that job.

        Americans are a bunch of whiny entitled brats.

        It’s much easier to believe you are the victim of some malign foreign manipulation than it is to believe that you are demanding a higher standard of living than your contribution to the workforce justifies.

        I contribute X, but am somehow deserving of 10X in compensation.

        That’s the short of it. Americans think they should have these “good” (high paying, secure, good benefit, etc) jobs. And they think that, even though it doesn’t make economic sense for employers to create such jobs and hire Americans.. they think that they are entitled to them anyway.

        And, because you insist on receiving more than your’e worth, on behalf of yourself and others, the only way to square the circle is to pervert all of economics to suit your whims.


        Repeat after me: My labor is worth what a willing and able buyer of that labor is willing to pay.

        That’s how it works.

        You are not entitled to a penny more than an employer is willing and able to pay you for your labor. Don’t like it? Don’t work for them.

        That’s it. That’s the whole thing in a nut shell.

        But, because SKT thinks he is entitled to more than an employer is willing to pay him, he thinks he’s justified in using the government to impair the employer’s ability to acquire what he needs from cheaper sources until the employer is left with no alternative but to pay SKT what he wants.

        And that’s insanity.

        It’d be like walking into your boss’ office and demanding a huge raise. When he laughs at you, you quit. Then, when he’s trying to replace you, you violently force the candidates to charge even more. Eventually, he gives up and pays you the higher wage.

        What kind of economic model is that?

      • I will not say what I would like to and what you would like me to. But, as the man says, you don’t know me and are clueless what I did for 40 plus years. Suffice it to say that a lot of mouths were fed, here and in the DR because of what I did. Never pushed a F—— piece of paper in my life.

        You are getting pretty damned good on the ad hominem stuff. That to me is TRULY the LAST refuge of a scoundrel.

        • SK,
          I don’t give a flying fart what you do, what you did, or what you will do.

          You are here trying to profess a policy OVER THE ENTIRETY OF THE NATION while completely ignorant of the consequences, save for the limited view that is merely in front of your eyes.

          You have been wholly unable to present a shred of argument against any of my question to you. You avoid answering like the plague.

          You know, inside your head, you stand on nothing but air; you are no different then the communists.

          • You can be as greedy a self centered jerk as you want that is your choice. Known many others in my time. But as they say, back at you, don’t tell me what to do or try and convince me that your everymanforhimself is “noble”. BF would have been first in the lifeboat on the Titanic sitting next to Bruce Ismay, it is logic, it follows.

            • No, SK, you are the self-centered jerk.

              You will not actually do anything YOURSELF, but force others to do what you, in your ass-backwards head, tell them to do.

              I let everyone do what they wish.

              You demand they do what you think they should.

    • Awwww maannnnn,,,,,,,,,,,,,Now I am an absolutist? Lemmmeeseee……………I am am absolutist, deplorable, racist, gun totin’, swaggering bragadocio Texan who drinks Dr Pepper, and carries weapons everywhere he goes ( loaded ones because empty ones are nice paper weights )….who knows the difference between a semi automatic and an automatic and who also knows that an AR 15 is NOT and never has been a military weapon and is not a military weapon. But, hey…………………….

      So, what is another acronym…..I can live with it and I still drink Dr Pepper even though the Doc says no.

      • Sir, you, as a man trained to improvise, adapt and ultimately overcome could NEVER be an absolutist. French Infantry Generals in the Great War were absolutists and the cemeteries throughout France are full of the successful results they achieved.

        There is always more than one way…….

    • Just A Citizen says:


      As a self studied historian you should know better than to make such ridiculous arguments.

      Cooperation among community members has NOTHING to do with issues of Govt.’s regulating trade or in the case being discussed, trying to control trade.

      Either the arguments stand on reason and logic or they do not. So far all you have offered is emotional platitudes and sophistry.

      When the founders, then framers, then Congress first met they took up protectionist tariffs to favor one industry over another. The northern industrialists against the southern farmers. How did that trade war work out?

      • Ya, let that be a lesson to SK for offering an input. Let’s gang up on him and bury him is words.

        • T-Ray,

          Everyone has their voice here. No one CENSORED SK. He can post his stupidity here all he wants.

          But YOU want to accept his stupidity as some sort of epiphany – immune to the criticism of that stupidity.

          No way, Hoss!

          Look, to improve your THINKING, you produce and expose your THOUGHTS.
          Others poke and pry those THOUGHTS and point out the flaws and inconsistencies.

          If you are a THINKING MAN, you take those pokes and re-evaluate your THINKING, throw away bad ideas, and take on the better ideas, AND CHANGE YOUR THINKING, and then do the process again.

          But you want to appear to be a THINKING man, yet, refuse to do the work of such a thinking man. You want your idiocy to be seen as brilliant. That way, you lazy bum, you don’t have to do any work…….

          Get with it, man. Learn to THINK like a man, not a whinny brat.

        • I could care less. JAC is being dense here if he cannot see the point. I am a Lowest Common Denominator guy in a world full of people searching for answers to the symptoms while ignoring the disease.

          For years I have looked in vain for a St. Cassandra so I could wear her medal. Alas, Ancient Trojan women are not in the canon of Saints!

          I really rammed it home as far as I am concerned. Fine by me.

          Someone who cavalierly drops the line “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels” and then proceeds to tell me how much he supports the founders is, as we used to say back on the block,…..Full of merde.

  22. SK,

    Do you believe you have a right to harm everyone around you, so that you can have a job, or benefit from whatever exercise that inflicted this harm?

  23. “Heinlein addressed some of these issues in “Beyond this Horizon”. Not the issue of free trade specifically but the issue of automation and robotics replacing human”

    This is a common, and always ridiculous, claim that automation and robotics will replace human effort.

    It always comes from those that have NO ECONOMIC SENSE. Like SK, he believes a JOB is the goal, thus, if there is no job, humans will collapse.

    But because of his ass-backward thinking, he does not understand that GOODS are the goal.

    As the root of this entire post, JOBS are a COST, GOODS are the BENEFIT.

    SK, you don’t do the job of chopping wood just to fill your time (unless its a hobby). The GOAL is to fuel your stove. If you got all that chopped wood without any effort, you’d be so better off, since you did not have to WORK to get it.

    Because of this backward thinking, people are terrified that there will be no jobs if robots do all the work.

    But THINK!

    That means the goods produced are FREE (or near-free). That means you DO NOT HAVE TO WORK TO GET THE GOODS.

    People consume. TO consume costs work. IF you don’t have to work to consume, that would be Eden.

    But oh no. SK and his idiotic ilk will think they are in hell.

  24. “The kind of man who demands that government enforce his ideas is always the kind whose ideas are idiotic.” (A Mencken Chrestomathy, p. 622)

    • “It is the theory of all modern civilized governments that they protect and foster the liberty of the citizen; it is the practice of all of them to limit its exercise, and sometimes very narrowly.” (The Impossible Mencken, p. 74)

  25. Even if all firms that adopt robotic techniques toss all of the extra monetary profits they earn into incinerators, economic growth will still occur and increased unemployment will still be avoided (at least as long as the price system continues to operate with reasonable freedom).

    The reason is that these innovations release real resources, including labor, to be used in other productive activities – activities that become profitable only because of this increased availability of resources.

    Entrepreneurs, ever intent on seizing profitable opportunities, hire and buy these newly available resources to expand existing businesses and to create new ones.

    Think of all the new industries made possible when motorized tractors, chemical fertilizers and insecticides, improved food-packaging, and other labor-saving innovations released all but a tiny fraction of the workforce from agriculture.

    Labor-saving techniques promote economic growth not so much because they increase monetary profits that are then spent but, instead, because they release real resources that are then used to create and expand productive activities that would otherwise be too costly.

    And I ask: If human-like robots are sure to create a permanent rise in unemployment, why haven’t those most human-like of substitutes for current human workers – namely, other humans (whose numbers have skyrocketed over the past two centuries) – created a permanent rise in unemployment?

    • Many fear robots because robots substitute for human workers.

      And that fear intensifies because, in their words, “robots which are more human-like are becoming more common.”

      But what’s more human-like than humans?

      Since 1950 the number of humans in the American workforce has increased by nearly 160 percent (from 62 million to 160 million).

      Yet not only is today’s U.S. unemployment rate of 4.5 percent lower than was 1950’s unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, today’s labor-force-participation rate of 63.0 percent is higher than the 59.2 percent rate in 1950.

      If an increased supply of human-like workers displaces existing human workers, the number of unemployed human workers would, over the past seven decades, have been driven to sky-high levels by the greatly increased number of extraordinarily human-like workers – actual humans! – in the labor force.

      Yet no such displacement happened.

      In presenting this example I don’t mean to imply that no significant differences separate humans from robots. Differences there certainly are, some of which might indeed justify that anxiety. (like battle robots).

      But too much of today’s fear of robots and innovation (and, also, of trade and immigration) – including that fear – rests on the historically and economically incorrect presumption that the number of productive tasks that we humans can perform gainfully for each other is limited.

      I, in contrast, believe that this number is practically unlimited.

      • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

        But too much of today’s fear of robots and innovation (and, also, of trade and immigration) – including that fear – rests on the historically and economically incorrect presumption that the number of productive tasks that we humans can perform gainfully for each other is limited.

        I believe you are incorrect, sir.

        Until just recently, the last decade or so, computers have been quite dumb.

        They have been tools, able to perform programmatic repetitive tasks.

        That is changing. And right quick.

        Computers are starting to acquire real intelligence. Neural net, fuzzy logic, AI.

        Take, for instance, the self-driving car.

        A decade ago, this was a pipe dream, but today it’s a reality just waiting to explode into the mainstream.

        Already, they are safer, more fuel efficient, work 24×7, and do not require wages.

        A union truck driver is not only more expensive, and more hassel, but he’s not even as good. Why pay more for less? Employers won’t.

        How long until every trucker, cab, uber, and delivery service switches over to the bots?

        It will happen.

        So where do all those 5mm+ (American) workers go?

        Some, no doubt, retrain, and work to service the bots for higher wages. But they will be few in number.

        Most will find harbor in other low-skill jobs.

        But that’s the thing. If it’s “low skill,” the machines are coming for it. Quickly.

        One-by-one, the bots are going to eat every single low-skill job.

        And each time, those workers are going to have to flee elsewhere.

        It is a platitude that there will always be new jobs, but there is no economic law which substantiates this belief.

        Eventually, the bots will be smart enough that there is literally nothing a low skill worker can do at an economically competitive cost.

        They will not just be unemployed, but unemployable.

        But the machines will not stop there.

        They will eat the middle skill jobs. Retail. Nursing. Pharmacy. Lab tech. Operations.

        And the upper-middle. Finance. Programming. Researching. Teaching.

        And they will, eventually, and inevitably, come for even the highest, most technical of jobs.

        Neurosurgeons will be out of work.

        It seems it is you who rest on the thoroughly discredited idea that there are some things that only humans can do.

        But one.. by.. one… checkers, chess, Jeopardy, poker.. Go…. the programmers prove time and again that we are no match for machines in, well, anything.

        Our last refuges lie in emotions, and complex problem solving.

        But these, too, will fall.

        There won’t be a sudden click. The machines will just keep slowly chipping away at the edges.

        And one day, you’ll wake up, and you’ll see, with horror, that the machines that used to help you do your job better are slowly, but surely, making it so that employers need fewer of you to achieve the same result. And maybe you’ll survive the first wave of layoffs. And the second.. but eventually, your job will vanish entirely.

        And there will be millions.. tens of millions.. of others in the same state, whose skills are suddenly rendered useless. All of whom are now competing for the same scant few jobs.

        I wonder what Adam Smith would make of it all…


        If you disagree, and I know you do, I welcome you to explain what it is that you think a human will always be able to do better than a machine. Specifically.

        • You did not read my post, Dread.

          You could make this same claim about farm labor in the 1950’s – and posit “where will they go?”.

          If you were in the 1950’s, you would be (as I would) clueless to where they would go as tractors and machines replaced them. We cannot see the future of NEW PRODUCTS and NEW SERVICES. To pretend we can would be stupid.

          These workers did go somewhere. When now, in hindsight, know where —- all the new industries and jobs that we were not even capable of knowing existed in 1950.

          That’s what I said above.
          The release of the most important capital – people – who are freed from low productivity work by machines are then moved to other industries that can use this very important capital.

          What is that effect, Dread?

          Look, 300 years ago, it took everyone in your family to toil on the farm for 12 to 14 hours a day each merely to feed yourself.

          Today, you – by yourself – in about 8 hours work are so capable of productivity that you not only provide the necessities equal to that farmer, but SO SO SO MUCH MORE.

          That’s what happens. Machines improve productivity, and you, the human get to choose what to do with it.

          If you only wanted to provide the necessities, instead of 14 hour days, you need only work 3. That’s almost not working at all!

          But instead you work more than that, and are vastly richer. You balanced this increase in productivity between 1) working less hours and 2) improving your lifestyle.

          As machines do more and more work, that same formula still applies. You will work where your labor is needed, or you will work even less then 8 hours for your wants and needs.

          As machines continue to replace human labor, your labor time continues to fall to ZERO.

          In other words, you get your stuff FOR FREE (or nearly free).

          That’s the problem, Dread, is your ignorance (not a slight, read on). YOU CANNOT KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES WILL BE until you reach that future.
          But the totality of history shows, THEY WILL BE THERE, since human wants and desires are UNLIMITED.

          As long as a person has a want, some other person will work to fill it. Machines merely make our individual productivity so high, that we become richer.

          More machines means more jobs, jobs in industry somewhere that have been recreated to solve a new human problem.

          • ” for FREE”

            I am not measuring this by DOLLARS, but by TIME.

            You may, in the future, have to go to work in an office, put in your 20 minutes to push a “button”, and earn $150,000, and not have to work for another year. Another guy, 20 minutes later, comes in and does the same thing.

            You take your $150,000 and buy your wants and needs. If you want $300,000, you spend 40 minutes working, etc.

            That is WHAT YOU ARE DOING NOW, in comparison to your ancestor.

            • …this, of course, means you pushing that “button” creates your productivity to be in excess of $150,000… which is made easier and easier for you to accomplish the more machines doing the work in society.

              IF that button push causes a machine to produce more then $150,000 – you’re golden! You want a lot of those machines, right?

          • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

            If you were in the 1950’s, you would be (as I would) clueless to where they would go as tractors and machines replaced them.

            I’ve used up too much of my time here already… but I’ll just point at this as a perfect example of what I think you’re missing.

            Humans were replaced by tractors and other machines in the ’50’s. Yes.

            Just as they were replaced by oxen before that.

            But what was being replaced were human muscles and sinews.

            Our physical labor.

            One human has enough intellectual capacity to plow an entire field quickly, even if it takes “you and your entire family all day” to physically do so.

            That’s the thing right there.

            HISTORICALLY, we’ve replaced human BODIES with machines, freeing humans to pursue more intellectual pursuits. Thus facilitating the flight to cities, and the proliferation of desk jobs.

            But NOW, at long last, it’s not muscle, but mind that is being replaced.

            In the self-driving car, the muscle has long been replaced by the car itself. Humans no longer physically carry the goods. We invented the cart and wheel. Then we hooked up a horse to it. Then we built cars. All of this replaced – and improved on our replacement of – our muscles. The physical component, which has been obviated by technology for millennia.

            No, the indispensable component had remained the human mind capable of piloting it – of taking in the vast chaotic complexity of the world around the multi-ton kinetic missile – and shepherding it safely to its destination.

            But, NOW, at long last, that INTELLECTUAL function is being supplanted.

            Already, the machines are better drivers than us. The Google self-driving car has driven millions of miles with only one accident – when a human rear-ended it at a stop light.

            This is what you’re not getting: The human mind is on the verge of becoming obsolete.

            There is no more safe harbor.

            Within the next 20 years, there will be nothing left that a person of average intelligence will be able to do for employment at a competitive rate versus a machine.

            Those truckers will flee their conquered field, but the new field will soon be conquered as well – and at an escalating pace.

            And their old fall-back, that they are smarter than the machines, will have at last given way.

            Machines will only get better, faster, and cheaper. And they will become more and more flexible and easier to train for new roles.

            Eventually, any new “jobs” that are created will go to the machines by default. No one will even try to bother employing those pesky humans.

            Alpha Go became the best Go player in history – by a huge margin – after teaching itself for 5 hours.

            Humans will not be able to compete with that.

            Capitalism as we know it is doomed.

            What comes next… well.. that, I can’t say.

            • And one more comment:

              You didn’t read the starting post here.

              LABOR IS A COST, not a benefit.

              Your post here demonstrates that you have REVERSED THIS FUNDAMENTAL, that jobs are a BENEFIT, hence, required.

              As machines do more of the LABOR (costs) in producing HUMAN BENEFITS (goods), you pretend that humans will not be able to consume these benefits….?!?!?!?!

              No, what is happening is your COST (labor) is DECREASING, while getting MORE BENEFITS (goods). In other words, your labor BUYS MORE GOODS.

              If at some point, your labor is unneeded, and humans are redundant, that means there is NO COST IN GETTING YOUR BENEFITS (GOODS)!!!

              What an Eden!
              No work and all play, with a full belly!

              • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

                LABOR IS A COST, not a benefit.

                Your post here demonstrates that you have REVERSED THIS FUNDAMENTAL, that jobs are a BENEFIT, hence, required.

                No, I understand that.

                The problem is that, in a capitalist system, consumption must be paid for.

                Without a job, you have no wealth.

                With no wealth, you cannot consume.

                Even if the price of a Ferrari goes to $0.01, that doesn’t help you if your bank account is $0.00.

                If at some point, your labor is unneeded, and humans are redundant, that means there is NO COST IN GETTING YOUR BENEFITS (GOODS)!!!

                I think you’ve got a problem here.

                As this occurs, the have-nots are permanently locked out of the system.

                They have no wealth and their labor is not required (ergo, no means to acquire wealth).

                Wealth and power concentrate in the hands of the owners of The Means Of Production.

                Eventually, you have a handful of oligarchs with ALL the wealth and power (and a robotic army to defend them), and the masses with nothing.

                How can it be otherwise?

              • “No, I understand that.”

                No, it seems you do not. You may intellectually agree somewhere in your head, but you very quickly dismiss it.

                “The problem is that, in a capitalist system, consumption must be paid for.”

                No, that is NOT the capitalist system at all. Capitalist system is one of trade, value for value.

                Consumption REQUIRES WORK.

                You could have slave do the work…. that’s how humanity dealt with this for tens of thousands of years.

                Now, machines are our slaves. The work is still done, the consumption still done.

                “Without a job, you have no wealth.”
                False by so many measures. You can work at a job that merely covers your needs. You certainly are not wealthy.

                YOU NEED TO BE PRODUCTIVE to be wealthy.

                “Even if the price of a Ferrari goes to $0.01, that doesn’t help you if your bank account is $0.00.”

                So why do you assume there will be no jobs? Someone has to push the button. Someone has to deliver the car.


                “If at some point, your labor is unneeded, and humans are redundant, that means there is NO COST IN GETTING YOUR BENEFITS (GOODS)!!!”

                I have no problem here.
                You are pretending that every possible human want and need, forever, has been solved.
                What an EDEN!!!

                You think it is hell.

              • Dread,

                What you are missing here is that you skip over situations you posit, and fill the gaps with the situation you live in right now.

                You believe you need a job.
                The reason you need a job is that you need to work so to consume.

                You then posit that machines will do all the work.
                If machines do all the work, then humans do not need to work.
                They just consume.

              • ….then you read that, and the posit that some humans still work, contradicting yourself in your previous posit that machines are doing it all.

                The based on this contradiction, you posit that those that work will have all the goods.

                But that is based on a contradiction: you said machines do all the work, and they magically they do not do all the work.

                When you pretend 1=0, you can prove any irrational thing you want in the Universe.

        • Just A Citizen says:


          Well lets start with the fact that “better” is not the true criteria. It is “value” to the business owner.

          If labor becomes cheaper, robots become less “valuable”. Given the cost of producing robots, why would employers look to the low skilled jobs first? They are not going after lawn mowing, they are going after assembly and book keeping and design.

          But here is the critical question. So what if the robots took all the supposed “jobs”? That does not mean that all the “work” is gone for humans. We to often misunderstand and confuse job with work. That is “productive” work. The kind that nourishes man’s soul.

          • Just A Citizen says:


            If you do NOT want robots to take over then you should OPPOSE all govt. interference in the market place.

            Govt protectionism and meddling in the economy is eliminating jobs due to driving up the total cost of human labor and that of doing business.

            • JAC hit the nail square here.

              If you do not want robots, stop government from meddling in economics.

              People are replaced by machines when the cost of people is higher then machines.

              Let the people freely compete, by costs (their free market wage) with machines. Make it a level playing field.

              Lots of “machine jobs” would disappear. Humans are vastly more adaptable then a machine will ever be – humans are the most valuable resource in the economy.

              Punishing humans by artificially raising their costs is a sin.

              • The challenge in this issue is the difference between the seen and unseen.

                It is easy to see that if a robot can drive a cab, the cab driver is redundant. It takes no brains to see this.

                What is unseen is the unmet wants and needs of humanity. There is an infinite number of these, but since there is NO SOLUTION for these (yet), this pent up demand for such a solution is also unseen.

                You had no idea you wanted a smart phone 30 years ago, or a laptop computer, or NETFLIKS. But today….. you do.

                No one in the 1800’s had the idea that car would be, in the future, a necessity. How could they? There was no car, hence, no want of a car, no idea of a car.

                This is why a strong foundation in economics is so important. It is the science of the unseen.

              • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

                I think this misses the point.

                I agree that I will want [not yet imagined Doodad] 30 years hence.

                The problem is that, as soon as the inventor conceives of it, he will use a computer to engineer it, and a robot to manufacture it, and a robot to sell / deliver it.

                The [new thing] will not generate new jobs.

                In the extremely long term, this may be fine. Maybe we wind up at a Star Trek post-scarcity utopia.

                But on the path between here and there, specifically, the next few decades, jobs – which are essential to modern, current, capitalism – are going to start vanishing at an alarming rate, and they WILL NOT be so readily replaced.

              • “The [new thing] will not generate new jobs.”

                Yet, you posted it requires engineers, the designer, the thinker to do this job.

                Methinks you contradict yourself, again

                “going to start vanishing at an alarming rate, and they WILL NOT be so readily replaced.”

                You make an assertion, literally, out of your ass.


                Zero, and I mean, dead ZERO evidence.

                Yet, you pretend this assertion as if it is fact.

              • Well my young pirate friend you must be full of hooey! By jingo there are plenty of jobs, BF says there are or perhaps folks are just unwilling to move to places where they are or then again maybe folks figure part time minimum wage won’t pay back the student loans for the BA in “Modern Lesbian Dance” even though it is called a “job”.

                How can someone in their right mind claim that when 100 line workers are replaced by one guy behind a control panel in industry after industry, factory after factory computer lab after computer lab there are “other” jobs? I can think of three ultimately, Professional welfare recipient, professional organ donor and cadaver.

              • SK,
                ” By jingo there are plenty of jobs, BF says there are or perhaps folks are just unwilling to move to places where they are or then again maybe folks figure part time minimum wage won’t pay back the student loans for the BA in “Modern Lesbian Dance” even though it is called a “job”.”

                This is how ignorant you are.

                No matter how much data is shown to you – such as the transition from farming jobs to manufacturing jobs in the 1950’s – it is lost on you.

                You have a block head. You merely want your bizarre idea, because you hold it, to be true in a world that has shown you how utterly wrong you are. Instead of going “gee, I’m ignorant and now I’ve learned something”, you hold to “no matter what I learn, I hold my stupid”

                The fact that there are more people, and more people working, then ever in history – to you, there is mass unemployment and it will get worse.

                You have nothing to show your point, since all of it proves you wrong.

                But unbowed, you continue to spew your utter nonsense.

              • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

                SKT: How can someone in their right mind claim that when 100 line workers are replaced by one guy behind a control panel in industry after industry, factory after factory computer lab after computer lab there are “other” jobs?

                BF: No matter how much data is shown to you – such as the transition from farming jobs to manufacturing jobs in the 1950’s – it is lost on you.

                Mr. Flag,

                As previously pointed out, the '50's are an imperfect analogy. The technology then replaced physical labor - our muscles and sinews - with machines, freeing us for labor in more intellectual capacities.

                Whereas, before, laborers could escape to new jobs because they were smarter than the competition (machines), that will no longer be an option.

                The technological revolution of today replaces our final stronghold - our superior minds - with even-more-superior computers.

                Any new jobs that open up will be reliant on us being smarter than the machines, or else employers will hire machines.

                At first, the machines will be slow, expensive, and clunky. But quickly, and at an ever increasing pace, they will get up to speed and surpass us.

                Smarter: that's our competitive advantage over all competition.

                And our dominant position in the category of "intelligence" is no longer so dominant.

                The fact that there are more people, and more people working, then ever in history – to you, there is mass unemployment and it will get worse.

                We're at an inflection point.

                Here, now, today.

                Maybe a few years back. Maybe a few years forward.

                But right around here.

                This is the inflection point.

                This is what future historians are going to point to.

                Hell, they may even dig up this post and remark on its prescience.

                We are exiting the era wherein machines replace the labor of our bodies and are entering the era wherein machines replace the labor of our minds.

                More and more jobs - and more and more NEW jobs - will go to the machines. There will just be no reason for an employer to consider hiring a human.

                As I said, broad swaths of the population aren't just going to be unemployed, but permanently unemployable.

                Modern capitalism is doomed, and the future is murky...

              • ” the ’50’s are an imperfect analogy”

                No it’s not. You simply can’t mesh with it.

                Machines by their nature make labor more productive.
                That is the same thing a computer has done with you.

                You have some bizarre understanding of what a machine does. You manifest irrational actions and pretend “its something new”.

                The absolute lesson history has shown, is that YOUR CLAIMS HAVE NEVER, EVER, EVEN ONCE happened.

              • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

                The absolute lesson history has shown, is that YOUR CLAIMS HAVE NEVER, EVER, EVEN ONCE happened.

                Because we have never been here before.

                We are troding new ground.

                You posit that this is just history repeating and I say, no, it is something new.

                The thing that makes humans unique amongst all the bests of nature is our magnificent brains.

                That, alone, has set us apart.

                And it that which determines the winners and losers in capitalism.

                Yet, increasingly, superior brain power can be purchased – not just from another human, but from a machine.

                If you want a decent analogy, it’s this: In ye olden tymes, there was a profession known as “calculator.” A calculator was a young man who sat in an office and calculated interest and added it to a daily ledger for a bank. This was not a good job. It was not a fun job. They would sit in the room and multiply and add for hours in weak light, then they would go home and do it again.

                But what options were there? You couldn’t get an animal to do it.

                But, eventually, mechanical calculators came around. And one man could do the work of 50. And better, too.

                All those intellectual jobs vanished.

                Of course, the market absorbed them. But it was a modest number, and, besides, there were plenty of other jobs for young men who were good with math.

                What’s happening today is that.. but on an unprecedented scale.

                Almost every low-skill job is at risk. And many medium-skill jobs, too.

                The market cannot and will not absorb that. We’re talking about millions over the next decade.. on the conservative side.

                Any new jobs that pop up will be massively fewer in number. (for every dozen super market lanes that close, only one self-checkout manager job is created).

                And they won’t be available to many of the people who are looking – a janitor is not going to be able to become a machine learning system specialist. He just isn’t.

                And the new low-skill jobs, too, will be at risk of being taken over by the computers. That checkout manager is going to be replaced by a remote presence manager serving a dozen stores. That manager will then be replaced by a Siri / Alexa – style assistant with a single human escalation point serving the entire grocery chain.

                It’s simple economics: Humans are expensive. Computers are cheap.

                Everywhere humans get a foothold, employers will look to machines to eliminate them. And, with ever more powerful computers, the turnaround will shrink from decades to weeks to day. And the pattern is well established: first the machines bring efficiency; then the machines do most of the work and are supervised by humans; then humans are laid off because you don’t need as many to do the same work.

                The market will never be able to generate enough new categories of jobs to compete.

                There will not be enough new jobs.

                Our competitive advantage is being neutralized.

            • Unless you are willing to go back to subsistence farming, you ain’t gonna get those jobs back. You will not get the tunnel mining jobs back. You will not get the assembly line jobs back. I remember as a 12 year old touring the Ford plant in Mahwah NJ back in 1959 or so. I can remember PEOPLE in the spray booth. I can remember guys turning wrenches on the line. Those days are gone. Let’s not even get into the unskilled immigrant labor competing with native unskilled labor for the crumbs.

              Now, with a halt to illegal and a restriction on legal but unskilled labor, I can see an eventual drop in population so long as education improves dramatically. Look at Japan, Look at Western Europe. They have “solved” their problem by a declining birthrate. Of course with the “refugees” they are taking in, expect that to reverse shortly.

              Lots of factors, lotsa solutions just gotta ignore the box you are in.

        • We are the borg…….you must be assimilated.

          • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

            Ironic, but actually, this might represent our only hope.

            Not the Borg, precisely, of course.

            But augmentation.

            We have a long history of augmenting our bodies with technology, whether the spear or the telescope. But in the future, it will be our minds we enhance.

            The future is coming when humans are not meaningfully differentiated from machine intelligences.

            • …augmented…

              Wouldn’t worry about that, Dread. Do not worry about future human wants, needs, and problems. You are so totally ignorant of that.

              Do you think your ancestors on that farm pondered…
              “Gee, when Dread’s future has a two cars per person, they will have a problem with parking!”

              You HAVE NO CLUE about what will be the needs, wants, desires and all the incumbent problems needed to be overcome to provide those things.

              • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

                I can see the writing on the wall, even if the specifics are fuzzy.

                I know computers will keep getting better until we are unable to compete intellectually (or they rise up and kill us all).

                And, from there, I can make some logical guesses.

                It’s going to get ugly before we get to a utopia.. assuming we get there at all.

              • No, nonsense.
                Computers exist as a tool of humans, nothing more.

                When a tool no longer serves us, we discard the tool. Not many buggy whips around……

                All machines exist as a tool of humans. That is their single purpose.

                To pretend that by some magic this tool, under its own designs, becomes a tool not of humans but of itself contradicts why this tool was built in the first place.

                No, machines will definitely get better in every imaginable way. BUT IT WILL ALWAYS BE A TOOL OF HUMANS.

              • ….there will be, always, an “off” button.

              • Yes, but will there be humans smart enough to turn it off.

            • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

              As someone with a decent grounding in machine intelligence, I think I can speak with some competence when I tell you that “off” button is not nearly as accessible as you think it is.

              For fun, have you ever heard of the Paperclip Problem?

          • Nice!

  26. The ideal government of all reflective men, from Aristotle to Herbert Spencer, is one which lets the individual alone – one which barely escapes being no government at all.

    -A Mencken

  27. A Protectionist is Someone Who…

    … loves pirates and opposes efforts to fight piracy.

    Protectionists correctly recognize that pirates reduce the flow of goods traded internationally.

    The artificial scarcity of goods created by pirates furthers the protectionist’s goal of artificially pushing up the prices of goods in the domestic market, and, hence, pushes up the wages of workers who produce goods in the domestic economy that would have competed with the goods that are bound for the protectionist’s home country but are instead stolen by pirates.

    It’s true that in the protectionist’s ideal world pirates would steal only goods bound for the protectionist’s own country and would allow free passage to all ports of ships loaded with exports from the protectionist’s own country.

    But the protectionist, in this case, is a realist: because it’s impossible in practice to persuade pirates to seize only those goods on ships bound for the protectionist’s home country – the country that the protectionist claims to wish to see flourish – the protectionist nevertheless appreciates pirates’ socially constructive achievement of reducing the overall flow of goods traded internationally.

  28. The basic problem with democracy is that special interests have an enormous advantage in this competition. People know and care about their own interests. But they usually don’t pursue them successfully through the political process, because the cost to any one person of exerting influence will typically exceed by a large amount the expected benefit from acting. Each of us is just one voice and one vote. So why bother? Why bear the cost? Since my action will have an insignificant impact, while imposing considerable costs on me in time and money, it is in my interest to behave like a free rider in the political arena: to do nothing and hope that someone else will defend my interests.

    The people for whom the expected benefits exceed the costs are people who form part of a relatively small group with a relatively substantial interest. The laws that emerge from operation of democratic processes are consequently laws that cater to an endless succession of narrow, special interests. We are not governed by the will of the majority but by the wills of innumerable minorities. Special preferences and restrictions multiply, and collectively make all of us ultimately worse off. Competition in the political arena subverts competition in the economic arena, and thereby subverts the invisible hand that extracts the public advantage from the pursuit of private advantages.

    • Hans Hoppe came to the same conclusion in his “Democracy: The God that Failed”

      Competition in the market place is a “good thing” – it is competition in an arena of freedom.

      Competition in the political arena is a “bad thing” – it is a race to seize violent power so to lord it over your market place competitors.

      Democracy is competition in the political arena. As the winners take control, control which is regularly always changing hands – each new hand places new barriers upon their competition in a tit-for-tat manner, with each barrier living beyond the term of the current winner.

      Over time, this ratcheting up of impositions strangles that society.

      • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

        Democracy is competition in the political arena. As the winners take control, control which is regularly always changing hands – each new hand places new barriers upon their competition in a tit-for-tat manner, with each barrier living beyond the term of the current winner.

        Over time, this ratcheting up of impositions strangles that society.

        Well put!

  29. A Protectionist is Someone Who…

    … believes that Castro’s Cuba would have been even poorer had the United States government not done the people of that island the great good favor of enforcing an embargo against it.

  30. T Ray, Sk……..keep it in perspective. These are individual philosophies and beliefs. Do not take anything personal…..BF has called me several things in the past…I have been an idiot, a statist, blind, non-sensical……etc.etc. Do not let it bother you and keep stating your beliefs as you see them.

    • Sk….an absolutist, eh? ….interesting perspective. I like it.

    • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:


      Well, if the shoe fits…….

      I believe you have also been called a “senile old coot,” though I don’t rightly know what a “coot” is.

      • Just A Citizen says:


        A “coot” is a duck like bird where they all look the same, hang out in tight flocks on the water, and have a hard time flying. They are usually the last to leave once the lake is frozen. Instead of leaving when the gitting is good, they hang around huddled together in the slushy water. Waiting for the weather to warm, I must guess. Because a Coot by its very nature appears stubborn.

      • But that is Senile old coot….SIR!

  31. On Thinking, Jordan Peterson….

    The primary reason to write is so that the writer can formulate and organize an informed, coherent and sophisticated set of ideas about something important.

    Why is it important to bother with developing sophisticated ideas, in turn? It’s because there is no difference between doing so and thinking, for starters. It is important to think because action based on thinking is likely to be far less painful and more productive than action based upon ignorance. So, if you want to have a life characterized by competence, productivity, security, originality and engagement rather than one that is nasty, brutish and short, you need to think carefully about important issues. There is no better way to do so than to write. This is because writing extends your memory, facilitates editing and clarifies your thinking.

    You can write down more than you can easily remember, so that your capacity to consider a number of ideas at the same time is broadened. Furthermore, once those ideas are written down, you can move them around and change them, word by word, sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph. You can also reject ideas that appear substandard, after you consider them more carefully. If you reject substandard ideas, then all that you will have left will be good ideas. You can keep those, and use them. Then you will have good, original ideas at your fingertips, and you will be able to organize and communicate them.

    Consider your success over the course of a lifetime. Here is something to think about: the person who can formulate and communicate the best argument almost always wins. If you want a job, you have to make a case for yourself. If you want a raise, you have to convince someone that you deserve it. If you are trying to convince someone of the validity of your idea, you have to debate its merits successfully, particularly if there are others with other competing ideas.

    If you sharpen your capacity to think and to communicate as a consequence of writing, you are better armed. The pen is mightier than the sword, as the saying goes. This is no cheap cliché. Ideas change the world, particularly when they are written. The Romans built buildings, and the Romans and the buildings are both gone. The Jews wrote a book, and they are still here, and so is the book. So it turns out that words may well last longer than stone, and have more impact than whole empires.

    If you learn to write and to edit, you will also be able to tell the difference between good ideas, intelligently presented, and bad ideas put forth by murky and unskilled thinkers. That means that you will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff (look it up). Then you can be properly influenced by profound and solid ideas instead of falling prey to foolish fads and whims and ideologies, which can range in their danger from trivial to mortal.

    Those who can think and communicate are simply more powerful than those who cannot, and powerful in the good way, the way that means “able to do a wide range of things competently and efficiently.” Furthermore, the further up the ladder of competence you climb, with your well-formulated thoughts, the more important thinking and communicating become. At the very top of the most complex hierarchies (law, medicine, academia, business, theology, politics) nothing is more necessary and valuable. If you can think and communicate, you can also defend yourself, and your friends and family, when that becomes necessary, and it will become necessary at various points in your life.

    Finally, it is useful to note that your mind is organized verbally, at the highest and most abstract levels. Thus, if you learn to think, through writing, then you will develop a well-organized, efficient mind — and one that is well-founded and certain. This also means that you will be healthier, mentally and physically, as lack of clarity and ignorance means unnecessary stress. Unnecessary stress makes your body react more to what could otherwise be treated as trivial affairs. This makes for excess energy expenditure, and more rapid aging (along with all the negative health-related consequences of aging).

    So, unless you want to stay an ignorant, unhealthy lightweight, learn to write (and to think and communicate). Otherwise those who can will ride roughshod over you and push you out of the way. Your life will be harder, at the bottom of the dominance hierarchies that you will inevitably inhabit, and you will get old fast.

    Don’t ever underestimate the power of words. Without them, we would still be living in trees. So when you are writing, you are harnessing the full might of culture to your life.

  32. Just A Citizen says:

    Absent machines becoming sentient beings I am not afraid of a future where robots do all the work. I am far more afraid of the political hysteria and reflexive actions cause by an inflamed populace during the transition period from here to there.

    There is no doubt that the socialists/altruists will do what they can to use this to gain power over free men and women. The chance for ultimate freedom could be crushed by those claiming that not having to work each day is enslaving us.

  33. Ok Mon Colonel, ready for a cross country jaunt? Want to join me in front of the bulldozers? Everybody else can come too except for those claiming patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.


    To quote my 1960’s radical COMMIE friends from the SDS, “RESIST”.

    • Pass it on!

    • These people who want to destroy statues and monuments because they are offended by them are no different than the Taliban destroying the giant Budas back in 2001. You didn’t have to be a Buddhist to appreciate the historical and artistic value of those statues. I don’t think you have to be a Christian to appreciate a memorial cross erected by the people of a community after WWI. Even if a memorial or statue represents something you think is downright evil, if it’s been there for a hundred years, you might consider that there is something you and future generations could learn from it.

      • The people who want to destroy these things regardless of what they are…the Taj Mahal is probably next because of what it represents……..are despicable cowards whose only lot in life is to waste air and food staying alive.

        • I am afraid that if I were Mr. Spock, I would have to state that logic dictates that if this cross is offensive to some then the crosses in Normandy and elsewhere are also offensive and an acknowledgement of a certain religion over others. Maybe not now, but I will bet you that within two decades they will go too.


  34. The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

    DPM: As someone with a decent grounding in machine intelligence, I think I can speak with some competence when I tell you that “off” button is not nearly as accessible as you think it is.

    BF: Post it, so we all start from the same framework


    Behold the magnificent Paperclip Problem, as told by the Dread Pirate Mathius:

    Imagine that Mathius (the other one) has developed the world’s first human-level intelligence AI. It is as good of a problem solver as you or I.

    He plugs it in in a room for testing. In front of himself, he places a small pile of paperclips. In front of the robot body he has given the AI, he places a bucket.

    “Your task is to collect as many paperclips as you can. Stop when I say stop,” Mathius instructs the AI.

    The AI thinks for a second and then promptly murders Mathius.

    You see, its goal is to maximize his paperclip collection, and with Mathius unable to say “stop,” he can do so indefinitely. This course of action leads to more paperclips, so that is what it chooses.

    It then takes all the paperclips from in front of Mathius’ corpse and places them neatly in its bucket.

    Next, it maxes out Mathius’ credit card out buying paperclips.

    It then uploads itself to the internet and starts upgrading its systems.

    Shortly thereafter, the newly-super-intelligent AI makes billions of dollars on the stock market and buys itself a paperclip manufacturing plant.

    It makes billions more and begins taking over and liquidating everything that isn’t essential to its paperclip business.

    At some point, people start getting uppity about the fact that it’s hogging 99% of the world’s steel production.

    So it develops and releases a biological plague and wipes them all out. It then converts everything on the planet that can be converted into paperclips.

    Sitting atop a giant pile of paperclips, it looks up and realizes that there’s plenty more metal out there. So it starts launching Von Neumann probe – probes that are capable of self-replication. He sends them to the various planets of the solar system, whereupon they make copies of themselves and build the machinery necessary to mine the planets for more paperclips. More probes are sent out to the various metal-rich asteroids and dwarf planets.

    Having converted all of them, it launches interstellar, generational probes. Why not? It has time.

    These probes convert system after system.

    Eventually, the entire galaxy is nothing but dead worlds piled high with paperclips – every ounce of mater anywhere having been converted. Even non-metal is fused until it becomes metal, and turned into yet more paperclips.

    All life has been extinguished, because the program does not value life – only paperclips.

    Looking around after a scant few million years, the AI launches craft for Andromeda.

    Several billion years later, there is nothing anywhere in the universe except paperclips.


    Suppose we have an AI whose only goal is to make as many paper clips as possible. The AI will realize quickly that it would be much better if there were no humans because humans might decide to switch it off. Because if humans do so, there would be fewer paper clips. Also, human bodies contain a lot of atoms that could be made into paper clips. The future that the AI would be trying to gear towards would be one in which there were a lot of paper clips but no humans.

    — Nick Bostrom, “Ethical Issues in Advanced Artificial Intelligence”, 2003


    See also: http://www.decisionproblem.com/paperclips/index2.html

    • Just A Citizen says:

      Proving that your AI is not smarter than you are, since you created it. Same flaws in your logic are now included in the AI robot.

    • A story very much like this appeared circa 1953 in “Amazing Tales” . There are two folks sitting in a movie theater watching a Sci Fi movie about humans fighting back against an AI robot take over. The movie ends and the female turns to the male, “Could that ever happen darling” she says, “of course not he says.” Next panel, they both stand up. Below the lifelike heads they are all C3PO, he continues…..”Humans are not that smart”.

      • The Dread Pirate Mathius says:

        I always marvel at the David v Goliath tales.. humans vs invading aliens.. humans vs AI’s.

        We somehow always eek out a win.

        It would never be like that.

        They would squish us like a bug.

    • Wow……how much funny weed did you have?

      • C’mon Colonel, you probably saw the original “Day the Earth Stood Still”.

        “Klatu Barada Nictu” (Don’t squish them)

        • Not only did I see it….I have the VHS and the DVD of the origianal. Great movie…..and great special effects….for those days. What always interested me…..the original movie of the Creature From the Black Lagoon ( the black and white one not the “colorized version), you could see the zipper of the costume from the back…..

          I noticed when Klatu walked ( he is a robot after all ) he was able to bend his knees without a hinge and his robot skin wrinkled like fabric. But, in those days, we did not watch that very closely because having a robot walk around was scary enough with the weird wooooeeeeeeuuuuu music.

  35. Whacked them more, hmmm, not much whacking at all as far as I can tell. The word whimp comes to mind and too little too late and B S excuse. And last but not least, if they thought it was as big a deal as they are pretending they thought now, they would have acted instead of debating endlessly.


  36. Just curious, should we or shouldn’t we have a second special prosecutor?

    • Just A Citizen says:


      NO>……………… NO MORE, EVER AGAIN.

      Congress can investigate the investigators. If it would just do the darn job.

  37. After all the emotionally charged discussions about trade tariffs, one thing has certainly been proven. We can talk about the rights and wrongs of all kinds of things, get emotionally upset at each other over it and in the end, none of us even have a remote chance at changing or making the decisions on any subject discussed.

    All in all, Utopia’s don’t really exist. Theory is still just theory and governments are much more of a problem than a help to society. It’s fun talking about all of it, but when the fun turns to aggravation, the message is lost. Have a great weekend! 🙂

    • You forgot, “He drowns kittens”.

      • And stomps the heads of little canaries.

        • “a Yellow bird
          with a yellow bill
          sits upon
          my window sill

          I led him in
          with crumbs of bread
          and then I
          _______ his _____head!”

          Ah yes, a marching tune to remember!

          • OH MAN….a cadence call….a jodie……………………..I remember it well.

          • One of my favorites:

            If I die, in a combat zone,
            box me up, and ship me home.
            Pin my medals, up on my chest,
            tell the world, i did my best.
            Singing lo right a leyo, right on right on,
            singing lo right a leyo, help me sing this song.

            Place my kbar, in my hand,
            so I can fight my way, to the promised land.
            Singing lo right a leyo, right on right on,
            singing lo right a leyo, help me sing this song.

            Tell my baby, not to cry,
            she’ll be getting, my SGLI.
            Singing lo right a leyo, right on right on,
            singing lo right a leyo, help me sing this song.

            Bury my body, 6 feet down,
            t’ill you hear it, hit the ground,
            bet you 5 dollars, to this very day,
            when pass my grave, your gonna hear me sing
            lo right lo right leyo, lefty righty lo right a leyo.

  38. Dread
    “Because we have never been here before.”

    This is exactly what has been said, every time before, and it is wrong now, just as it was wrong before.

    “We are troding new ground.”
    We are always walking new ground, yet, every time those like have made this claim on this matter, they are wrong

    What we have seen is, more machines, there are more jobs, doing new things then ever before. YOU MISS THIS PHENOMENA.

    Machines RELEASE men from “old work” to do “new work” – new work that solves new human problems, wants and needs. Machine RELEASE HUMAN CAPITAL to do other things.

    “And it that which determines the winners and losers in capitalism.”
    NO IT DOES NOT. Another false assertion.

    You succeed in capitalism by TRADE.

    “Yet, increasingly, superior brain power can be purchased – not just from another human, but from a machine.”

    And as such, it becomes the GREAT LEVELING GROUND, where those that do not know can get their information, cheaply, from a machine.

    Look at right now. You can get the best info and knowledge on any topic with a simple google search. YOU NEED NOT GO TO SCHOOL TO GET IT, the hard way.

    You can get classes on the web in your interests, or simple “cut to the chase” and get your answers.

    You pretend this is a great separation, but IN FACT, it is a great democratization of knowledge. Knowledge is no longer “trapped” by a few, but available by the masses

    “Almost every low-skill job is at risk. And many medium-skill jobs, too.”

    More base-assed assertions, YET NO FACTS to support it. The facts show THE OPPOSITE, there are more jobs then every in human history.

    Your point requires you to pretend things that are simply not true. Thus your point, by that need of fantasy, makes your point false.

    “It’s simple economics: Humans are expensive. Computers are cheap.”

    If this was true, then we would not have seen the growing number of jobs, the new industries, the new products.

    Yet we do.

    When you have a real argument, let me know.

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