Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Trump's Nest of Superstitions and Fallacies and the Chief Minister of State for the Sun King

Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

Don Boudreaux writes:
Trump is motivated by largely the same set of economically mistaken notions that motivated the most famous mercantilist state official of the 17th century: Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The mind of Trump, like that of Colbert, is a nest of mercantilist fallacies and superstitions, such as that a nation grows wealthier the more it exports relative to the amount that it imports – that nations compete against each other economically – that the maximum possible accumulation of money in the home country is, or ought to be, the objective of trade policy – that (therefore) so-called “trade deficits” are bad and “trade surpluses” are good – that to ensure maximum possible exports relative to imports the state is duty-bound to prevent ordinary people from dealing commercially on their own individually chosen terms with foreigners – and, oh oui!, that for big, rich countries trade wars are easy to win.
(It’s more than passing strange that the premier economic dogma of Trumpian populists has as its greatest historical practitioner a French baron who served for 22 years as the Chief Minister of State for the Sun King.)
Also see, Murray Rothbard on Colbert:
 Cold, humorless, hard and implacable, "a man of marble" as he was called by a contemporary, Jean-Baptiste Colbert yet had the wit to engage in boundless flattery and demeaning personal service to his royal patron. Thus Colbert wrote to Louis on the occasion of a military victory, "One must, Sire, remain in silent wonder, and thank God every day for having caused us to be born in the reign of a king like Your Majesty."
And no service to the Sun King was too demeaning. Colbert searched for the king's missing swans, supplied Louis with his favorite oranges, arranged for the birth of the king's illegitimate children, and bought jewels for mistresses on the king's behalf. 

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