Monday, January 30, 2017

The Economic Nationalism of Donald Trump

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation on, “The Economic Nationalism of Donald Trump.”

Barely in the office of the presidency, and Donald Trump has used a series of “executive orders” to put a stamp on the general direction of his planned policies: toward strong dose of political and economic nationalism.

What is political and economic nationalism? It is a view that places the nation-state above all other values:  The individual, the family, the local community are all subservient to the needs and purposes of “the nation.”

Economic nationalism is dedicated the material strength and economic independence of the nation-state. Toward this end, “national” production, “national” employment,” and “national “greatness” in terms of influence and power supersede the personal and economic goals and purposes of the respective individuals in that society. All are confined within and all are expected to conform to the needs and purposes of the nation-state.

In Donald Trump’s case this is seen is his obsession with other nations “destroying” American industry or “stealing” American jobs, or using trade deals to make America “weak.”

Conservatives (and some libertarians) have hailed his call for less regulation, or lower taxes, or fostering energy independence in the form of completing the Keystone Pipeline. But what is not fully appreciated is that his advocacies of these are not based on any underlying philosophical belief in individual liberty, property rights, free markets or far more limited government.

Trump endorses and advocates these types of policies as means to that end of restoring American “greatness.” He is willing to use governmental power and pressure to make others bow to this goal, as has been demonstrated before and after his inauguration by his calls to or meetings with American business executives to basically tell them that he expects their enterprises to produce goods in America and create jobs for American workers; and any business that tries to produce abroad and bring back their finished product to be sold in America will be hit with special and heavy taxes.

And as the voice of “the people,” Trump knows what should be produced, where and with which workers for the good of the national collective. His is for an economic nationalism that easily could transform into a type of economic fascism. Friends of freedom need to be vigilant in the face of the darkening political and economic clouds over America.


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