Suggested Discussion Outline

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johnkarls
Posts: 1708
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

Suggested Discussion Outline

Post by johnkarls »

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SUGGESTED DISCUSSION OUTLINE

1. Reactions to “The Shock Doctrine”

2. Should the U/Chicago’s “free markets” also be reined in vis-à-vis particular industries so that worthwhile employment can be provided for all American workers taking into account their current education and skills?

3. Should the U.S. government regulate the convertibility of the U.S. dollar into other currencies in order (a la the recent historical examples of Japan and China) to protect American workers?

4. What other policies might be desirable in the light of our author’s views?

Pat
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Posts: 170
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:11 pm

FOREIGN CURRENCY BLACK MARKETS - SMUGGLING

Post by Pat »

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SINCE SUGGESTED DISCUSSION POINTS 2-4 ARE THE LAST THREE QUESTIONS ON THE SECOND SHORT QUIZ, THE COMMENTS I POSTED FOR THE SHORT QUIZ RELATING TO THE LAST THREE QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE SUGGESTED DISCUSSION OUTLINE

In connection with trying to control the US dollar's foreign-exchange rates, there should be some discussion of currency black markets and smuggling. Virtually every time a country has attempted to control foreign access to its currency in order to control imports, there has been a black-market rate and an official rate for the currency. And there has also been extensive smuggling of goods that, once imported illegally, are exchanged for currency in circulation inside the country.

I haven't seen anything published on how the Japanese government and the Peoples Republic of China coped with these problems. Presumably they were able to do so or their foreign-exchange controls in order to limit imports would not have been successful. If the presumption is correct, then I am guessing that the Japanese were probably able to do so as a result of cultural differences between Japan and other countries that have experienced black-market exchange rates and smuggling, and I am guessing that the PRC was probably able to do so by extensive policing and severe penalties. (Whether or not the guesses are correct, they are the two methods of coping with these problems and I am not aware of any others.)

solutions
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Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:38 pm

GATT + Lack of Foreign Patent Protection

Post by solutions »

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It should be noted that the scope of the Suggested Discussion Outline would, of course, violate various treaties of the U.S., most notably the muti-lateral General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade ("GATT"). GATT, among other things, prohibits governmental subsidies and other protection for local industries.

On another front, NY Times Op Ed Thomas Friedman has often written articles about future technology (particularly environmental technological improvements to wind, solar, etc.) -- often relating how he has discussed such matters with governmental officials of other countries by way of challenging them to compete in this arena. His articles on these topics have always struck me as naïve for two reasons.

First, although we may not like to admit it, greenhouse-gas technology is not popular politically in the sense that politicians love to give wonderful speeches portraying themselves as environmentally friendly, but few of them have the courage to compel their constituents to incur significant economic costs on the altar of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Especially when the governmental leaders of other countries are loathe, despite their rhetoric, to impose significant economic costs on their citizenry.

Accordingly, this problem is unlikely to be solved until alternative energy (solar, wind, whatever) is cheaper than fossil fuels. And this does not mean cheaper than current prices for fossil fuels, because large-scale availability of low-priced alternative energy will only have the effect driving down the market price of fossil fuels UNTIL THEIR PRICE IS LESS THAN THEIR PRODUCTION COSTS, THEREBY SHUTTING THEM DOWN.

Second, Thomas Friedman has always seemed naïve with regard to his unstated premise = the inventor/discoverer of greenhouse-gas technology that will be cheaper than the production costs of fossil fuels will become rich. Such a leap of faith supposes that foreign countries will not simply steal the technology, as many of them routinely do in other areas of technology.

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