the voluntary state
A New Political Concept
 
 

THE  Voluntary  State  will  have  the opposition of    those    who    want    an   inflated    dollar   to    create  a  trade  advantage.   They  do  not  understand that the advantage they foresee would, unfortunately      but       inevitably,       be      short-lived.


As  soon  as  international  competitive devaluation of currencies, country against country, for trade advantage, begins to take place repeatedly, the  world  is  subject  to  production  of  whole products moving from country to country, in addition to out-sourcing  of  parts.


It can come to no good end, as the whole industrial         world inflates and endangers the stability  of  its  peoples,  as  their  industries  leave their countries.  If it continues, it will result in the lowering  of  wage  rates  the  world  over,  as production  moves  from  country  to  country, seeking ever lower production costs, until, finally, wage rates at the lowest common denominator  prevail  everywhere.


Do  we  want  as  low  a  standard  of  living as anywhere  on  earth?   Or  do  we  feel  we  can progressively out-source most production and exist as a service economy?  If so, we should consider  two  things :


  1. 1.  If we stop manufacturing we no longer can supply our own weapons in time of war,  even  if  we  are  attacked,  and,


  1. 2.  Creative  minds  can  move  where  the  profits are, and,      if our top technical minds move to countries whose manufactures make them richer than our service economy does, then we might lose the  creative  contributions  which  are  the  source  of  our  profitable  service  economy.


Rome wasn’t the only civilization to perish, and  there  will  be  others.


Too gloomy? Shouldn’t we, at least, discuss the downside of competitive international free  trade?


The damage it has caused, already, is apparent.  The  recent  decades  of  overseas procurement of very  large  portions  of  our  manufactures,  and imports of large amounts of what we consume, have  upset  our  balanced  economy  which  had  a  high  standard  of  living  for   most   _   not   just   those   with   technical   ability.


Equality through socialism, even though so clearly unachievable, has monopolized the agenda for so long that the case for the free market, now known  simply  as  the  market,  has  not  had  the  scrutiny  it  needs.  That  the  market  is  the alternative to the central planning of socialism is now generally understood, and there is growing awareness of the rise in living standards caused by the wealth free markets create.  But some market enthusiasts even say that economic freedom causes political freedom.  In this they are not correct.  What causes  the  market  to  function  is  not,  as  yet,  widely  understood. 


The market cannot even come into existence  without  a   prior  political  guarantee   of    private    property.   Buying  and    selling  require ownership.    No  one  can  sell  or  buy  anything  which  is  not  first  owned.


This  seems  too  obvious  to  need  further explanation,  but  it  does.   The  important  thing to  understand  is  that  a  society  must  provide  a prior political guarantee of private property.  The  word  prior  means  that  a  market  cannot exist  until  the  legal  guarantee  is  in  place. 


So,  it  is  clear  that  a  free  market  is  not       the cause of political freedom.  The reverse is true.   The  market   is   the  result   of   government  law guaranteeing private property.  The market cannot  provide  its  own  guarantee.


This  is  true  within  a  sovereign state.  The confusion  begins  with  the  idea  of  international free trade.    We do not    call    it    free    trade   (within a  state).   We  call  it  a  free  market  or  simply  a  market.


When  we  talk  about  what  is  called international  free  trade,  we  are  ignoring  the obvious  fact  that  trade  (anywhere)  takes  place in  a  market.  Trade  is  always  buying  and  selling  in a market.  Except  for  barter,  you  cannot  trade  without  a  market.    So  the  real  subject  is  not  international  free  trade  but  an  international  free market, or simply an international market.  Plainly  that  is  different  from    a     market     within     a     border.


The difference is the lack of a legal system that  is  able  to  provide  a  foundation  for  an international  free  market.   A  legal  system  not only guarantees ownership, it also guarantees performance  of  contracts.   But there  is  no international legal system with enforcement power.  Why  is  this?   Could  we  have  such   an  agency?  The answer is no _ there is no possibility of such an  agency.   A  legal  system  is  the  product  of  a  government  _ a  government  is  the  product  of  a culture _ a government can function effectively only as far as its culture extends.  Beyond that border, another culture produces laws which differ.  No  two  cultures  produce  like  laws  (different nations  can  have  like  laws  as  long  as  the  culture  of  beliefs  is  the  same.)   When  laws differ  between  cultures  there  is  no  agency  to enforce a disputed  agreement,  nor  can  there  be. 


In  other  words,  international  free  trade   is  impossible  between  differing   cultures.   The beliefs underlying the cultures produce differing laws  and  differing  understandings  of  what  an  agreement  is  or  should  be.   Before long, the differences  become  a  tinderbox  for  trouble between  cultures.  Trouble  is  inevitable.


The arguments in favor of international free trade ignore the reality of what is involved in cultural  differences  _ the  most  fundamental matters  in  men’s  lives,  the  foundations  of  their  governments.


Because  all  cultures  derive  from  their  religious  base,  we  need  to  ask :  would  any other  culture  accept  the  market  within  a  sovereignty   that   the   United   States  has?


Any observer of international affairs at the end  of  the   twentieth   century   would,   in   honesty, be required to say, no.  Governments with different religions, as well as governments without religion, would refuse to accept some of the consequences  of  a  free  market  within  a sovereignty,  because  it produces so much individual behavior which is not  acceptable  to  their  religious  authorities  or  which  threatens    the   political    control    of    their    rulers.


Such  one-world  fantasies  as  that  the  whole world  would  accept  the  United  States  kind  of civilization, if it could, are not realistic pictures of   the   world.


What kind of ugly force, including war, would  it   take   to   stop   international   conflicts  caused by trade disagreements?  Those who suggest  that  world  government,  including  the United Nations with armed forces, could force agreement among different cultures are not facing  reality.


Free  trade  within  a  sovereignty  _ the market without government intervention _ creates  great  wealth.   It  produces  abundance, as against the predictable scarcity which socialism inflicts.  But international free trade produces something that is even worse than the scarcity of socialism. It produces cultural conflicts which are irresolvable.


There is no dispute here over the advantages of  international  trade,  nor  an  intention  to  shut    borders.   The   issue   is   international   free  trade  _  the   invasion   of   the   markets   of   some  sovereignties  by  others,  without  reciprocal  trade  agreements.  This  cannot  be  tolerated  by  the sovereignty  invaded.  Otherwise  there  is  no  sovereignty.    We  need  to  pursue  this  insight  further.




The Consequences of International Free Trade


The ability to limit foreign trade being a prerogative of sovereign nations _ the inability to   limit   foreign   trade   means   the   absence  of   sovereignty.


A lack of sovereignty assumes no borders, so that both products and, more importantly, people  can  move  at  will  anywhere,  at  any   time.    International     free   trade    and    sovereignty 


cannot  exist  at  the  same  time,  because one  is the denial of the other.  International free trade would bring world  government  as  its  unavoidable  result.


We  must,  then,  decide  _  is  the  price of international free trade too high if it makes  world  government  necessary?


It  cannot  be  gainsaid  that  the  loss  of  sovereignty  is  the  inevitable  consequence  of  international free trade.  The argument for free trade  within  a  border  contains  the  belief  that everyone will produce what they do best, and trade their products with others who produce different products  which  they do  best.  This  works  well within  a  sovereignty,  because     all    accounts    are    balanced      within      its   borders.   But  with international free trade everyone would export.  Human  nature  ensures  that,  if  the  products  are  exportable  at  a  profit,  there  would  be  no restraint _ restraint could be instituted  against   these  exports   only   by   a   sovereign   nation.


Otherwise,  those  at  the  receiving  end  of  the  exports  could  survive  only  by  lowering  their wage rates sufficiently to meet those of the exporters.  Technology being able to be copied immediately, lower wage rates would be the only determinant of where the manufacturing would take place.  There would be nothing to prevent adverse trade balances becoming so large as to destabilize,  and  finally  destroy,  free  markets,  which  would  upset  the  political  stability  of  all  involved.


This kind of intense competition for markets would lead to over-production world-wide _ and trade  wars.   The  trade  wars  would  lead  to competitive  devaluation  of  currencies  as  a  weapon  in  the  trade  wars.


This  means,  as  all  devalue  one  against    the  other,  that  we  would  create  world-wide inflation  which  must  finally  end  in  collapse.


When the game of musical chairs is played out and the trade war is finally over _ the eventual result  would  be  world  depression  and  unemployment.  We  would  need,  then,  to  alter  the  thinking  about  international  free trade  which  brought  about  the  disaster.


Still  more  importantly,  the  inability  to limit     immigration,     because    of    lack    of     borders,  would lead  to  the  destruction  of  cultures,  that  which  gives  life  its  meaning  to  different  peoples  with  different  religious  beliefs  and  therefore  different  traditions.


The  only  alternative  to  sovereignty  is world government.  That  is  absolute  power  over  the  world.   That  is  what  any  form  of  world government is.  No one could escape it anywhere.


  Lord Acton ends his dictum, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  What  kind  of  nightmare,  for  man,  would  that  create?


But  sovereignty  creates  a  secure  home   for a man within his culture.  His societal home can function to protect him       only as far as its culture  extends,  for  that  culture  is  the source of  its  laws.  And  in  the  United  States  those  laws are  the  guarantee  of  private  property  which  allows  our  market  to  exist.


We must think through the consequences of international  free trade.  It is a pig in a poke, which would destroy all we
hold dear.



 

Chapter 11

INTERNATIONAL FREE TRADE