Author Archives: Mike Morris

Lethal mix: NSA contractor hacked, Experian hacked puts FICO economy on the ropes?

“Debtor nation!”, have the economic watchdogs chided the U.S. for decades. This unvirtuous tumble into twenty plus trillion in debt has its own direct consequences. But I wonder if anyone has considered this: Could cybercrime leap to the top of the heap of ways to destabilize the U.S. currency?

Our economy seizes without a constant flow of spending – of borrowed money. This more or less puts credit scores once removed from this spending. The credit scores then serve as a sort of pricing system that determines how much borrowed money can get discharged into our economy. This affects GDP which determines how we look on the scene of global finance which affects the strength of the dollar compared to other world currencies and so on. So things being what they are, the signal fidelity of consumer borrowing capacity could be among the most precious reserves we have left. And with the compromise of Experian we are watching cybercrime threaten to do what might otherwise require full scale military invasion from a hostile nation.

But not to worry because we have people tasked with fighting this. People like those really smart folks at the NSA. They have even smarter folks helping them fight cybercrime like the contractor who recently let the Russians steal secret NSA information from his home computer. This news comes on the heels of a barely year-old report of Booze Allen employee Hal Martin who leaked seventy five percent of the NSA’s hacking tools from their elite security team Tailored Access Operations not to mention possibly the identities of American undercover agents.

Maybe this leaves you feeling a bit helpless. While it may be true that the virtual battlefield of nations may be beyond the pitchfork of an individual citizen’s vigilance, there is something you can do. Quietly between the headlines, a few hundred dollars at a time, cybercrime has been effecting a massive wealth transfer to enemy states and rogue factions around the world committed to carrying out or facilitating human atrocities and subverting liberty to the tune of six trillion dollars by 2021a)https://www.herjavecgroup.com/hackerpocalypse-cybercrime-report/. Every $300-$600 a U.S. citizen pays for a ransomware breach funds something with the collective potential to harm us though terrorist attacks and other means. Most of these ransoms are paid by small businesses. Thus cybercrime is ultimately economic terrorism. And we should treat it as a civic duty to fight it with affordable prevention.

A strong combination of endpoint protection and prevention through employee training is the best means available to stop this fleecing of American businesses. The most effective training is one that is always on and tests you and your employees for your awareness, rather wariness, of a would-be ransomware ruse that shows up in your email. Whether a legitimate looking vacation offer linked to malware sites or a sophisticated CATO (corporate account takeover) scheme you need evolving, always-on training to test you when you least expect it. Given that a ransomware breach could cost your business tens of thousands you could save your company or maybe even help save your country from eventual ruin.

 

 

References   [ + ]

a. https://www.herjavecgroup.com/hackerpocalypse-cybercrime-report/

The war on exclusivity and the poison of progressive “inclusiveness”

Words drift in meaning as do and along with values in society. I think this is mostly unfortunate. While meanings of words drift they do not usually do so without the help of an agenda. “Exclusive” used to mean that a product, social club, or conference was merely designed for a particular purpose and appealed to a certain set. While an exclusive event designed to suit the interests of golfers might not only require credentials I happen to lack, it is my lack of interest in golf that is of primary importance. Orange juice is delightful partly because it includes no grape, apple or carrot juices. It used to be that a hammer was designed exclusively for an efficient and precise transfer of kinetic energy and it offended no one by doing so.

But then there is a sense in which exclusivity might be considered mean-spirited.  This is not necessarily a problem with exclusivity or its meaning. There are televisions that cost more than I can afford to pay and are in a sense exclusively available to those who can afford them. I am fine with this because it drives down prices and raises minimum standards for lesser models. But I am attempting to address an idea gone rabid.

It seems the conditioners of mankind have decided that children should not have BFFs anymore in school and instead are “encouraged” to play in groups in order to protect anyone from feeling left out. While it may be true enough that young children may not have very well defined interests, it is worth noticing the organic desire to bond with another in a special friendship is a natural behavior that requires interference to stop. By protecting the collective from the feeling of being left out, no individual is allowed to feel let in. Out of fear that some might feel isolated, none will learn the value of deep trust or sincere, mutual interest. This is because groups do not have ordered preferences. Individuals within a group can have preferences or interests in common but what excites friendship is ordered interests.

This is the trouble with using words to focus primarily on the feelings of the speaker. The modern usage seems to emphasize the feeling of being excluded ignoring the objective meaning let alone the benefits of exclusiveness. A question too rarely asked is this. What might be the unintended consequences of rooting exclusivity out of our society? Besides cancer to creativity, such an indirect attack on individuality and personal liberty is a down payment on potential atrocities the conditioners will sell as ointment for what ails society.

Satan’s Kryptonite

Meekness is perhaps the most hated of all virtues with jealousy as its meanest rival. Defined as the power to remain ourselves in all circumstances, meekness, when lived out for its own sake shall be replaced with bravado under the threat of ridicule from the despot of jealousy i.e. wussophobia. This same jealousy demands meekness under more practical circumstances when idealism can be easily discarded. If we win the lottery and adorn ourselves we are chided by proud critics calling for vain altruism, popular minimalism, and a humble attitude toward work using meekness as an anesthetic for the insufferable condition of having a peer’s good fortune in view.

What is it about meekness that so enrages and predictably terrifies the dark heart of mankind that it seeks to bury and replace it with a cobbled substitute so aggressively? What hazard is it when left alone? It is Satan’s Kryptonite. Meekness allows us, if only at brief moments, to bear the uncorrupted image of God in which we are created. In its simplest form meekness casts the tallest and broadest of shadows over avarice. It is self sacrifice for sacrifice’s sake. It is the condemnation of corruptibility itself.

The scam of simplicity

Just want things to be simple? I have sad news. Simplicity is a fussy chimera.  If simplicity is defined as an acceptable level of complexity then what is this acceptance if not an attitude? It is in this fickle acceptance where simplicity lives. Walking is simple but yet it really isn’t. An axe is simple but only sort of. C.S. Lewis wrote that “real things are never simple” using the complexities of a table and chairs as an example. We may have an attitude that a table or chair is simple when we use them but by sitting down to build either we are confronted with how complex they truly are.

However Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense that the simpler a system of government we have the less likely it is to be corrupted. So perhaps there is such a thing as objective simplicity. If fewer parts in a system amounts to a simpler thus more reliable system then we have a standard for simplicity for that system that relates to its parts. But this still prioritizes the experience of repairing the system rather than using it and when when fully considered returns us to where we started.

So how do we judge whether something is simple? It is, unfortunately, complicated. As I desire control over something I expect and accept more responsibility and less automation. So whether you are buying a car or a smartphone simplicity will mean something different when you are 25 that it will at age 65. It is in this sense that simplicity is a pursuer and we are the capricious ones.

I am a hopeless sucker.

I am so naive. I let myself think it was possible. That for all the smart people on LinkedIn, I thought an article like this one might be grounded in rational thought about the way the world works. But alas it is just more rant fodder. Perhaps I am an even bigger fool for following up on it.

This is how soft I am getting. I let Mr. Macafee and Mr. Brynjolfsson lead me by the nose all the way into the fourth paragraph; something a progressive Keynesian should never be allowed to do. “But wait!”, I thought, he was beginning to wax Austrian about the virtue of supply when he contrasted destruction with the mention of [job] “creation”. Like the thunderous down stroke of an electric guitar after a long, soft intro in an eighties power ballad he was going to school the demand-sided intelligentsia, I thought.  Yes, for once, a reprieve from the endless crowing of Paul Krugman, Robert Reich and their ilk was on its way like the beach sun after a long winter, I fantasized!  And just like the last half of a hand held sparkler on a hot fourth of July night, it was over. All that was left of my optimism was a few seconds of retina burn.

Actually it’s worse that that. I didn’t feel the set up until even later. He makes it all the way into his sixth paragraph with fair-minded comments about the deceptive nature of unemployment statistics before finally firing the ignition switch on his propaganda pump. But once it was on, man was it flowing with torrential commitment.

Is greed more efficient than folly?

The mysterious and elusive upside to cost shifting

From here the post authors waste no time getting to the sales pitch. What we need to stop middle aged white folks from ending it all is another giant round of government stimulus. Put the rednecks to work building government funded bridges and roads, they say. Never mind the fact that the window dressing portion of the last trillion dollar stimulus devoted to “shovel ready” jobs was a no show and a net loss. Forget that, at best, the vast majority of the last stimulus in 2008 and 2009 resulted in a bunch of money getting moved around i.e. forcibly removed from the hands of would be investors to state coffers used to reduce debt spending; not very stimulating. All of this also done at a net loss laden with a nice glaze of Solyndra fraud. But what’s half a billion dollars of theft when you’re wasting a trillion? Progress! Forward! Get the sense of being mushed? Pay no attention, they say.

Federal stimulus spending is the economic equivalent of perpetual motion. Actually, no, it’s worse. Because stimulus via federal spending is such a Rube Goldberg often infused with activist justice no one pays attention to the actual results but instead demand more! Nobody wants to discuss how human behavior won’t follow with the sentient stupidity of lemmings no matter the Grubering the central planners contrive upon us.

But the worst effect of all is price distortion. A free market depends on the signal fidelity of pricing in order to function and artificial stimulus serves only to distort it. This results in bubbles and the eventual shock of their bursting. The actual market price of a product is supposed to reliably indicate the state of supply of it. And free of government meddling it usually does. A high price of fuel suggests that supply is low or demand high, either way the product is dear, and consumption should slow to avoid a shortage. Messing with pricing signals through import tariffs, agriculture subsidies, EITC, no-bid contracts, cash for clunkers etc. is like rewiring a traffic signal to show green in all directions. If only the consequences could be so immediately and undeniable tied to their cause. Oh, and just so I don’t offend by ignoring their sincerest justification of more stimulus: the winged unicorn of green energy will save us all. All you need is a congress willing to kill the supply of coal, oil and gas causing the price of fossil energy to soar past the production cost of wind and solar and your utopian fantasy is achieved. Figure out how to accomplish this without endenturing me and knock yourself out.

 

 

God’s economy part 1

It has been said that the devil sends lies into the world in pairs of oppositesa)C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity Book 4. We like to choose sides. We find this at work in the opposite views of Individualism and Totalitarianism.

To be an Individualist I must regard others as having no bearing upon me. I reject that I am my brother’s keeper. Thus I am free to pursue that which benefits me and only me so long as I do not interfere with another individual’s right to do the same.

The opposite view is Totalitarianism which tells us that rather than volitional individuals each of us is an interdependent piece of a whole system allowing for no defense for or pursuit of individuality.

Both of these views are simple and wrong.  A strong desire to determine which is worse has consumed the vitality of scores of brilliant minds down through the ages. Wars have been fought and genocide perpetrated to convince the masses of one as being virtue and the other antisocial.

Perhaps one is worse than the other but I will not attempt to reach that conclusion here. My point is to consider the rapid and efficient polarization into almost perfectly binary groups as behavioral phenomena. My theory is that there is something at work inside us that makes us want to choose sides.  Virtuous outrage is what the devil wants and we like to give it to him. This is only achieved when we have at once a thing to cherish and a thing which threatens it. A third thing would muddle the whole affair.

References   [ + ]

a. C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity Book 4

It’s no accident… Arizona knew how to rock a good beta test long before Uber started crashing robot cars

The first McDonalds restaurant among many other franchises were opened in Phoenix. In a 1978 documentary of the rock band The Tubes, band members testify to the evanescent scene that was Phoenix Arizona where due to nearly perennial, oppressive heat kids watched TV almost twenty-four hours per day. Thanks to a lack of tourist attractions and cable television this practically intravenous diet of all things new led to a peculiar opportunity. Because people in Phoenix had nearly universal access to every form of media yet being four hundred miles on the wrong side of Death Valley from California they became the ideal control group to test products and marketing with little word-of-mouth influence. What, use crash-test dummies? Not a chance. These folks would try anything.

In an 1983 interview with David Letterman Fee Waybill describes the laboratory Phoenix became for a new form of entertainment called “Trampoline City”. The modern version of it is well known, fun and safe. But long before the padded, netted mother approved bouncing paradise was a more crude example. Arranged in a grid, the Trampoline City mentioned here consisted of improvised cube shaped holes excised from a defunct K-Mart parking lot with a trampoline canvas hastily stretched over the 6′ x 8′ x 10′ deep holes leaving nothing but residual parking surface around each one of the dozen or so jumping areas. There were [a lot] injuries; in Phoenix.

Whether we think about who builds skyscrapers, tests the water supply for contaminants or who discovered that the northern leopard frog swallows its prey using its eyes the answer is always, “they”. Every ask who is “they”? And so it is the denizens of Phoenix who help make up the crucial hive of this mysterious group of sentients known as “they” who try out technology for the rest of us to enjoy; safely.

Fast forward to 2017 and we have this:

 

If this were still the 80’s this might be the result of an experiment testing the effect of side airbags deployment on kazoo playing but instead what we have is opposite of what was promised on the Jetsons, gone wrong. Uber, needing a hearty sort to drive along side their unproven self-driving cars on the open road, where did they go? Phoenix. Read the full article here. But as it turns out the brave lads of Arizona do not have a monopoly on courage. Somebody had to be Guinea Pigs for the airline industry:

Tony Jannus conducted the United States’ first scheduled commercial airline flight on 1 January 1914 for the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line.

Sadly nothing was recorded about the people who boarded that flight but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out they were all actually from Phoenix.

Why I am not a “Trump supporter”

I am a United States citizen. I cast my vote in the primary and then the general election like anyone else.  Yet despite all the savvy about this election being an “unpopularity contest” the outcome demands that progressives expand on the compartmentalization of society by labeling their opposition. Forgotten is the notion that most people on both sides seemed to be casting their vote against rather than for a candidate. And gone also is the idea that voting is as much a responsibility as a right. I guess the “get out and vote” meme isn’t for everybody after all?

When Obama won the presidency, twice, his political opposition was told “We won!” and to expect, on that basis, any amount of unilateral exercise of power by way of popular mandate. Dusty old authoritarian rhetoric like “It’s the law of the land!” was used to describe the Affordable Care Acts’s descent onto an individual’s freedom to buy health insurance or not. Who his “supporters” were was immaterial. The election was over and he was president. Victory was its own virtue. And any effort to qualify the intentions, criticize the discourse, or judge the content of character of him or his “supporters” was racist and un-American. Suddenly, however, now that the progressives did not get their way, the electoral process has no merit. Trump won on a technicality that defies the public consciousness etc.

My point is that, when on top, the progressives like the boot. When out of power, not so much. I guess we can look forward to a return to the cries about “shredding the constitution” as during Bush 43. That would be refreshing after eight years of calling it “outdated”. When in power, progressives like “the law of the land”. When out of power, again, not so much.

But as for this “Trump supporter” status, it is a means of making personal the inherently anonymous act of participating in the election process. It is a Bolshevik means of identifying those responsible for resisting popularity. But maybe I’m an alarmist. Maybe it is just a means to simply distinguish between those who voted for Trump with misgivings and those who were all in – and only boil them in oil.

Madonna now wants to blow up the White House. I take it that a few months ago she did not? I wonder, does this impulse extend to the “supporters”? The differences between pure democracy and monarchy, fascism, or communism are mostly superficial such as in the number of dissidents killed. The only thing that makes the United States, while imperfect, the beacon of freedom and hope it serves as for the rest of the world is constitutional law and due process. The whimsies of progressive populism seek to destroy or seize in a fit of self righteous indignation and a fleeting momentary passion the property and life of individuals. And it is the fuel of the modern activist to categorize and label their opposition for this purpose.

First Generation IT (Information Technology) … is dead.

No one had to tell you when it was time to nix the second phone line you installed in your house dedicated to the yodeling box that gave you your first hit of internet access. The next generation broadband internet service showed up and we all moved on to our one-button configuration wifi routers with blazing fast connections allowing for seasons-at-time TV binges on Netflix. Do we even remember downloading Netscape 2.0? For 3 hours?

Rise of [depart]mentalism

Universities everywhere were becoming the spine of it all and the internet seemed like just some academic plaything; and so it was. But something else erupted about the time of our techplosion in the 90’s: the birth of the [business] IT department. On loan from the behemoth enterprises was the idea of that in order to maintain a competitive footing in the “new economy” copious dollars had to be spent on information technology and this meant hiring full time employees to build it. Big names from Dupont to the weather service had lab-coated techies shuffling around in hermetically sealed glass chambers since the 60’s so who better to draw inspiration from?

Then… IT got physical

And so it went with the furious effort to cable the planet. Remember Worldcom? Connecting cubicles and continents in less than a generation the foundation was laid for platforms of economic disruption and democratized education. But Web 1.0 and the first generation of IT was nothing if not a hands-on affair. While most of the hysteria was in the Silicon Valley dot coms, broom closets everywhere in all types of small to medium sized businesses from the mom-and-pop insurance agency to local factories, hospitals and banks were hastily transformed into the eponymous: “Server Room”. Years before there was such a thing as Dell.com allowing for turn key purchases of standard PC configurations, IT departments became venerable workstation factories with shelves full of every computer component imaginable and enough cables in every denomination to supply fifty takes of the most famous scene of Gullivers Travel. Etching a technological footprint all of their own into the business model became the obsession of companies of all sizes. Weekend upgrades and expansion of servers and networks were the norm as were new PCs every twenty four months. Combined with Y2K the appetite for investment in information technology from 1995 to 1999 was downright ravenous at five times the rate of investment in any other type of business equipment or resourcea)1 Doms / The Boom and Bust in Information Technology Investment Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco 2004.

IT department of the 90’s = Studio 54 for nerds?

For almost a decade IT budgets represented the unquestionably dominant strategic investment. Toys, by the people who paid for them, were indistinguishable from tools. And the demand for first generation IT talent launched a labor market hyped into a lather over new careers with seemingly endless upward mobilityb)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_com_party. Company sponsored H1B visas were like pre-season baseball tickets. And because everyone was installing everything everywhere at the same time, the threshold for veteran status dropped like a stone. If you could spell PC, you could get a job on a help desk. This new career field became the darling of prognosticators of the “new economy”. It seemed like everyone had enthusiastically accepted a world run by computers and roofless opportunities for those who run them.

Would you like me to call you a cab, Mr. Gatsby?

We all know the rest of the story. The bubble burst in 2000 and so began a tech investment hangover lasting a year or two. What bounced back, was something different. Web 2.0, social media, and eventually smart mobile devices introduced a new, more grown up version of the frontier-like experience left behind more than a decade ago and set us on the course that led us to the truth about the world of information technology. It is this: IT was once a bespoke array of hand built machines by expert staff in a department on your payroll and controlled by handwritten scripts that Dr. Frankenstein might call quirky.  Today IT is a mature business service that is managed by a provider who delivers it as it is now known to be: a utility.

 

 

References   [ + ]

a. 1 Doms / The Boom and Bust in Information Technology Investment Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco 2004
b. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot_com_party

What’s the difference between “fair” and “free” trade?

How Bastiat Toppled the “Balance of Trade” Bugaboo

Protectionists of all stripes often rail about trade deficits. An unfavorable balance of trade. One of the catch phrases of these people, because at some level they realize the value of trade, is that they want “fair trade.” That’s just protectionism under the guise of being pro-free trade.

One of Donald Trump’s bugaboos is trade with China. On the Trump website it says “for free trade to bring prosperity to America, it must also be fair trade. Our goal is not protectionism but accountability.”

And Hillary Clinton, in her nomination speech at the DNC, said “we should say ‘no’ to unfair trade deals… we should stand up to China.”

Those dastardly Chinese just don’t play fair!

Alleged currency manipulation is part of his objection to the Chinese. The Chinese renminbi was pegged to the dollar until 2005. There was considerable hue and cry in the States that the Chinese currency was overvalued. It was alleged that this created a trade imbalance.

The idea that trade has to be balanced, that the amount of imports and the amount of exports should match is, on the face of it, a load of malarkey.

The Trump website goes further. “In a system of truly free trade and floating exchange rates like a Trump administration would support, America’s massive trade deficit with China would not persist.”

Balance of trade! That old bugaboo.

What specifically does Trump propose with respect to trade? During the primary debates he argued for a 45% tariff on imported goods and scuttling NAFTA. Those dastardly Mexicans are as unfair as the Chinese with their cheap car production.

Ironically, proponents of free trade often make the same mistaken argument. They support free trade because they believe that their country will be a winner. They will win the “trade wars” and have a favorable balance of trade. The country’s exports will exceed its imports which will be good for everyone.

But the idea that trade has to be balanced, that the amount of imports and the amount of exports should match is, on the face of it, a load of malarkey.

“He believes and loudly proclaims that if France gives ten in order to receive fifteen, it loses five.”

Frederic Bastiat vs. the Protectionists

Nobody has explained this fallacy better than Frederic Bastiat, the brilliant 19th century French economist and polemicist. Bastiat’s forte is the reductio ad absurdum. He takes the position of the protectionists and draws it out to its logical conclusion. His petition of the “Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, Candlesticks, Street lams, Snuffers and Extinguishers, and the Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting” against the competition of the sun is a classic. His proposal of a “negative railroad” skewers his opponents mercilessly.

His attack on the notion of a balance of trade is equally devastating and equally hilarious. It made me laugh out loud when I read it. Speaking of one of the protectionists, a Monsieur Lestiboudois, he says, “he believes and loudly proclaims that if France gives ten in order to receive fifteen, it loses five.” In other words, if France exports say, ten million francs of goods and imports fifteen million, France is out five million francs.

He quotes this trade critic at length with the conclusion that when trade is not balanced, the deficit is money that is given away. “Every year we give away 200 million francs to foreigners.

The Trade Balance and the Businessman

The theories of the free traders are attacked as valid only in theory by the protectionists, but, asks Bastiat, “do you think the account books of businessmen are valid in practice?”

If there’s anyone who understands profit and loss, surely it is the businessman. So, says Bastiat, consider the case of one of his businessman friends who he refers to by his initials, M.T.. Let’s compare M.T.’s accounting to that of the customhouse.

“M.T. despatched a ship from Le Havre to the United States with a cargo of French goods, chiefly those known as specialties of French fashion, totalling 200,000 francs. This was the amount declared at the custom house.”

Now after arriving at New Orleans, paying the shipping charge and an American tariff, M.T. still manages to sell the French fashions for a profit of twenty per cent or 40,000 francs. The return of his original investment, the shipping costs, the tariff and his profit nets him 320,000 francs which he uses to buy cotton.

In addition, M.T. had to pay for shipping the cotton back to France, commissions, insurance and so forth bringing the cost of the cotton to 352,000 francs. And that is what the customhouse entered into its books as the value of the imported cotton.

M.T. sells the cotton and nets another 70,400 francs in profit. M.T. is up 40,000 francs on the sale of French fashions to the Americans and 70,400 francs on the sale of American cotton to domestic French consumers. He has profited to the tune of 110,400 francs! Not a bad business trip!

But in the accounts of the French customhouse, France has exported 200,000 francs and imported 352,000 francs. Oh my god! It’s a trade deficit! France just got snookered out of 152,000 francs! Or as Bastiat puts it, the esteemed trade critic must conclude that France “has consumed and dissipated the proceeds of previous savings, that it has impoverished and is on the way to ruining itself, that it has given away 152,000 francs of its capital to foreigners!” (italics in the original).

Throw it into the sea!

But Bastiat is not done yet! It seems M.T. despatched another ship shortly thereafter with another 200,000 francs of goods. Sadly, the ship sank and M.T. had no choice but to enter into his accounts a loss of 200,000 francs.

The good gentleman at the customhouse, however, entered the shipment as 200,000 francs in the export ledger before the ship sailed. But because it sank, there will never be anything entered in the import ledger to counter it. “It follows,” says Bastiat, “that M. Lestidoubois and the Chamber will view this shipwreck as a clear net profit of 200,000 francs for France!”

Trade exists because the parties to the trade see an advantage to doing so, not because it is “good for the country.

But wait! Bastiat is still not done! “There is still a further conclusion to be drawn from all this, namely, that, according to the theory of the balance of trade, France has a quite simple means of doubling her capital at any moment. It suffices merely to pass its products through the customhouse, and then throw them into the sea. In that case the exports will equal the amount of her capital; imports will be non-existent and even impossible, and we shall gain all that the ocean has swallowed up.”

Indeed, when someone sells something, whether to a domestic or foreign consumer, he does so to make a profit or he wouldn’t make the trade. Conversely, when someone buys something, whether from a domestic or foreign consumer, he does so because he sees it as advantageous. Trade exists because the parties to the trade see an advantage to doing so, not because it is “good for the country.

Indeed, we could go further and argue that if we need a balance of trade between countries, why not between the states? Why shouldn’t New York insist that the value of movies it imports from Hollywood be balanced out by an equal value of manufactured goods exported to California? To ask the question is to see its absurdity.


Marco den Ouden

Marco den Ouden writes at The Jolly Libertarian.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.