Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Zero-Sum World of Donald Trump

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

The Nassau Institute has posted a video of my February 21, 2017 talk, “The Zero-Sum World of Donald Trump,” which was the Second Annual Joan Thompson Memorial Freedom Lecture, sponsored by the free-market Nassau Institute in the Bahamas.

 I argue that Trump might not be the Devil Incarnate that many on “the Left” have portrayed him as, but neither is he the savior of freedom and free enterprise that a good number of those on “the right” are hoping to be the case.

He is, in fact, a political and economic nationalist who expresses little or no concern or interest in individual liberty or constitutionally limited government as principles to be espoused, preserved or restored. His call is for “national greatness” through an interventionist policy perspective of “America First.”

Tax cuts and deregulation of business and industry are not seen as desirable policy goals to restore and expand freedom of choice and decision-making to the citizens, per se. Rather, in Trump’s worldview they are means and methods to foster “American” industry and manufacturing, and “American” jobs for “Americans.”

And he has threatened the use of those same fiscal and regulatory tools to threaten and punish consumer choices and business investment decisions that he considers not facilitating his conception of American “greatness.”
His mindset is filled with Mercantilist fallacies and confusions about international trade, investment and competition that if implemented would only serve to reduce various commercial freedoms in America and hamper a market-based and sustainable pattern of growth and improved standards of living for Americans and many others in the world.

The task for friends of freedom is to make clear how and why Trump’s way is the wrong way for a free and prosperous America.

Following the introductions, my comments begin around 17 minutes into the video.



  1. Richard! Give me a heads up next time. I'm right up in the Abacos! It's great to see Bahamian libertarians.

  2. No he is not great, but he is against the established government elite. His group is a business elite - some have benefited to one degree or another from government protection/assistance, but in general they are not creatures of the state.

    The government elite are People like Summers, lost a good portion of harvard's endowment making stupid investment wagers and he is rewarded with Sec of the Treasury. If you have crazy credentials and once get in a position of power no matter how bad you screw up you just go to another powerful position. As long as you help a certain connected class strip mine the American people.

    Trump has these people terrified. And I like it. The Times does not dedicate the entire 2 lbs. of Sunday paper stock to attacking Trump because he is against trans gendered showers in primary schools. He is dangerous to parts of the establishment.

    Some commentators have noticed two power centers in American foreign policy - liberal State Dept and Conservative Pentagon. Trump is cutting State and enhancing Pentagon. Some people are wetting their pants. He seems quite isolationist to me.

    1. Have you had a chance to ask Carryn Owens about Trump's isolationism?

    2. Re: douglas,

      --- [...] but he is against the established government elite. ---

      This is a meaningless Non Sequitur. The fact that he is the bane of some powerful elites does not justify his utter ignorance of economics. Neither does it give his bad prescriptions any validity.