Viewing entries tagged
socialism

UK: The Potential for Productivity

HSBC has decided to keep its headquarters in London after Brexit. Given HSBC's historical ties to Hong Kong, that is no surprise.

Hong Kong shows that even a tiny island with slightly less government than its surroundings can become an economic powerhouse. Having less government than China turned this island into one of the dominant business, financial, cultural, and trade centers in the world.

Hong Kong's per capita income is around $35k a year. China's is recently UP to a laughable $7k a year.

Hong Kong is full of wealthy and productive entrepreneurs and businesses. The few wealthy in China are largely crony capitalists, skilled primarily at using political connections to get special favors.

HSBC knows this: It won't matter how easy the EU makes internal trade among European countries. It won't matter if the EU develops a single legal code, or a single "simplified" European language. Being absorbed into a single, monolithic, big government, overregulated, cronyist disaster will not help England. Being free to lower regulation, make independent trade agreements, and allow innovation and cultural development will.

China may succeed in reabsorbing Hong Kong, forcing Hong Kong to adopt China's inflationary currency and dumbed down language, in the hope that doing so will bring Hong Kong's skill and wealth into China. But the main advantage that Hong Kong has that China doesn't: less government. If you add Chinese cronyism, state propaganda as "education", and inexplicable central planning (e.g. ghost cities) to Hong Kong, you'll just lower Hong Kong to China's level. Or you might just empty it of talent, as all the productive people leave to seek opportunities where hard work and innovation pay off.

During the last decades, the EU has partially succeeded in doing just that with the UK. It turned one of human history's most vibrant centers of innovation into a backwater of welfare socialism and crony capitalism.

The UK has the incredible opportunity to become Europe's Hong Kong. It must first reject any bad trade deals with the EU. The EU's "free trade" is nonsense. It is, in fact, highly closed trade. It's free trade and movement of labor within Europe, in exchange for massive restrictions on trade and movement of labor from outside of Europe.

The UK should seek trade relationships with productive, capitalist(ish) economies like the U.S., not with Europe's hubs of laziness and socialism. Second, it must reduce its own regulation and taxes. It can become a place that attracts and keeps entrepreneurs and innovative businesses, instead of repelling them as it does now.

If the UK remains courageous, rejects restrictive trade deals with nonproductive countries, refuses to bail out foreign nations, and lowers its own taxes and regulations, it can become to Europe what Hong Kong became to China.

In Liberty,

Arvin Vohra
Vice Chair
Libertarian National Committee

Free Trade

Free trade with a bunch of obligations and restrictions attached to it isn't free trade. It's trade with a bunch of obligations and restrictions.

Free trade simply means eliminating tariffs, trade quotas, and the like. A country can simply eliminate its own tariffs, and that presents a major step forward. That country can enjoy cheaper access to the tools of production, and thus become more productive.

As a simple example, Brazil and Argentina could eliminate their self destructive taxes on computers, and immediately allow their productivity to increase as more people have access to modern computers.

If you encourage other countries to also eliminate their tariffs, that helps free trade even more. But beware! Once you get into negotiations, you often end up adding a bunch of government wastefulness and burdensome obligations. Big corporations and big unions will demand special favors in exchange for supporting lower tariffs. Usually, those special favors end up costing almost exactly as much as the savings from lower tariffs. As an example, look at TPP.

The EU isn't free trade. With the EU, access to lower tariffs comes with major obligations and restrictions. There are the direct costs of the EU fees. There are the nearly guaranteed costs of bailouts (given that at least some of Europe's socialist economies are collapsing.) There are the welfare costs of having to support basically anyone who comes to your country.

There are the lost free trade opportunities with other countries. As part of the EU, Britain could not set up free trade agreements with other countries (e.g. the US). Free trade agreements had to be with the entire EU, or with no one at all.

Any divorce can be a little messy at first. But if you were married to 27 deadbeats, who felt that they had the right to barely work, retire at 40, and spend all of your money on their laziness...dropping that dead weight would help you out. And even if one of those 27 deadbeats (Germany) actually worked, you could still divorce the group and start a new relationship with any one of them individually.

Even better: you can now set up new relationships. You've learned not to share a bank account with people who lie about their finances and debts (Greece). You've seen that other people can get the same benefits without the burdens (Switzerland). You realized that the most successful people (U.S., China, Japan) weren't a part of your 28 person expensive marriage.

Britain is now free to pursue better opportunities. It no longer has the massive obligations of carrying around EU socialist deadbeats.

It may still fail. After all, Britain has its own wasteful welfare socialism to eliminate. But it will now succeed based on whether it embraces free market capitalism or welfare socialism, not based on whether other nations embrace free market capitalism or welfare socialism.

In Liberty,
Arvin Vohra
Vice Chair
Libertarian National Committee