As an American Economist, I Resent Imports of Economic Advice from Abroad

by Don Boudreaux on April 28, 2009

in Trade

Here’s an e-mail that I received earlier today, followed by my response:

- quote -

members of America’s political, economic, academic and media elites
would have supported globalization if they personally feared losing own

jobs to those working from abroad for 90% less pay”

If interested, please visit and click on the R-O-A button
Melbourne, Australia


28 April 2009

TO: Whoever Is Responsible for

FROM: Don Boudreaux

your e-mail, and associated link, sent to me here in the United States asserting that globalization is de-industrializing America.

I ignore the river of factual errors, misleading definitions, and theoretical misunderstandings that saturate your ‘analysis.’  I content myself merely to ask how you – who so ferociously oppose globalization and low-cost foreign suppliers – justify yourself exporting, to America, your advice (free!) and your website (also free!) from your home in Australia?

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Dan April 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Well played, Don.

ben April 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm


Methinks April 28, 2009 at 7:54 pm


We wouldn't want that Tamiflu flowing across borders to heal people sick with the Swine Flu would we? A local grave digger might lose his job!

dave smith April 28, 2009 at 9:24 pm

The same dude was railing against the de-agriculturcation of America 125 years ago.

Henri Hein April 28, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Maybe your response disqualified you from the elite.

dg lesvic April 29, 2009 at 5:09 am

Sam Grove,

Please see my comment at the bottom of The Folly of Price Fixing, below.

Gil April 29, 2009 at 8:03 am

I don't anyone has found anything worthwhile in unsolicited emails.

MnM April 29, 2009 at 8:09 am

I wonder who he was quoting…

Dustin Santos April 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

Check Mate Don! the king is dead…

Mark Gendala May 1, 2009 at 1:17 am

Hi geniuses,

Being the author of this outrageous email, I'm delighted with the above responses -

Hey, why don't you get economics lectures piped from Asia into American univerities via interactive teleconferencing links for just 10% of the American salaries?

Admittedly, American academics would have to retrain as Mickey Mouse impersonators – but that's only a small price to pay for providing American students with lectures at the LOWEST GLOBAL COST.

Don't give up folks, Disneyland is waiting for your talents.
Mark Gendala,
Melbourne, Australia

s burgess May 3, 2009 at 12:59 am

Hey, why don't you get economics lectures piped from Asia into American univerities via interactive teleconferencing links for just 10% of the American salaries?

…do you think thats a bad thing…if costs are reduced the power of peoples money has incressed whats the point of high wages if prices are high.and dont over look that globilization has pulled billions out of poverty and new zealand my country and australia has suffered from not being able to sell our goods freely to the us and eu.

Mark Gendala May 7, 2009 at 10:40 am

Hi again geniuses,

Six days of silence? Come on, it shouldn't take that long to clean out your fancy PhD underwear.

Donnie-boy and the rest of you happy campers, there's a mountain of work ahead of us -

The next time I visit this blog I want to see a comprehensive plan for delivering academic lectures from Asia straight into American universities for just 10% of American salaries. That's an order!

We'll call it the "No university left behind" initiative – something future generations will undoubtedly praise for slashing higher education fees by at
least 70%.

Guys, get those ultra-intelligent keyboards of yours clicking at the first opportunity -I'm counting on you.

Three cheers for globalisation,

Mark Gendala,
Melbourne, Australia

Mark Gendala May 9, 2009 at 4:05 am

And how's my team of geniuses today – busy, busy, busy?

Sorry, a change of priorities…We'll need to urgently prepare a plan for utilising personal waste of American globalisation experts to run the world's nuclear reactors -

Here's the deal…Don, you'll once a week spam the true believers with an email that begins; "As of tomorrow, lectures will be delivered into your classroom from Asia via an interactive teleconferencing link for only 10% of your salary…"

What will the recipients do? Scared out of their wits, they'll drop a load of personal waste so intellectually potent as to be capable of sustaining the nuclear chain reaction.

You mustn't confuse it with that Cold Fusion crap of some 20 years ago – no, I'm talking about the real McCoy here.

Guys, I'm really excited about this, so let's get cracking – in a few years we could be cashing-in our shares and options for a cool $1 trillion.

Three more cheers for globalisation!!!

Mark Gendals,
Melbourne, Australia

Mark Gendala May 11, 2009 at 3:23 am

G'day geniuses,

No takers for my revolutionary nuclear fuel substitute? I only hope you realise we're missing out on some serious moolah here…

Interested in improving animal welfare? There's a fantastic opportunity waiting for you right here in Oz -

You won't believe it, but our 25 million kangaroos are still denied their God-given right to tertiary education – that's where you guys come in…

Don, imagine presiding over the graduation ceremony for 50 000 kangaroos waving their Economics PhD's and singing "Screw those protectionist assholes" on top of their voices… Man, this could make the front cover of TIME!

Another thing – pssst… Throw a blond wig on a 'roo and who knows what can happen on a warm night – you might decide to stay.

And three more cheers for globalisation!

Mark Gendala
Melbourne, Australia

Mark Gendala May 12, 2009 at 8:06 am

Geniuses, urgent medical warning!!! Globalisation can seriously damage your health –

A mate of mine, Frank Dobra from Perth, Western Australia has just told me the lamentable tale of Dr. Dim Bigheadoux, a Professor of Global Prosperity at the Sorbonne, France -

I expect you have heard of Dr. Bigheadoux -
his book "Protectionists straight to the guillotine" has sold in millions and is now the standard academic theory on the benefits of globalisation -

It appears the insidious medical symptoms were first observed during Professor Bigheadoux' yearly check-up at the famous Louis Pasteur Institute. The story, which may be verified at any moment by the wire services, goes as follows -

Having looked at a plethora of charts,
X-rays, MRI, Doppler and CT scans, the Institute's Dr. Alzheimer laid a hand on Dim Bigheadoux shoulder and said with a tinge of sadness;"I've got some bad news for you Professor – you'll have to stop masturbating"
"Oh, but why doctor…?"
"So I can examine you"

Globalisation? Qui – but in moderation.

Mark Gendala,

Mark Gendala May 14, 2009 at 1:58 am

Geniuses, time to wrap it -

So, you've punched me on the nose…hey, terrific. What happened when I punched you you back? You slinked two blocks away and started poking your tongue out from behind a tree -

Well fellas, that's not how things work in Australia. Here in Oz we stand our ground.
If you don't – you only invite the feeling of utter derision that I've had for you in my recent postings.

"Teleconferencing academic lectures into American universities from Asia for only 10% of American salaries"?
I suggest America's elites institutionally protected from such a 90% competitive disadvantage should have considered this "What if…" as long as 30 years ago. Still – better later then never.

Long live America – the Land of the First Amendment!

Mark Gendala
Melbourne, Australia

Mark Gendala August 14, 2009 at 2:24 am

This is by now as exciting as kicking a blind dog – but as long as it keeps barking, let’s give it another one up the tail -

Economics professors – as of tomorrow lectures will be delivered into your universities via videoconferencing screens from Asia for only 10% of your salaries… Please contact Pizza Hut about retraining.

Mark Gendala
Melbourne, Australia
Author of “Re-industrialization of America” (R-O-A)

Anonymous September 12, 2009 at 11:31 am


Hi Donnie-boy,

The next time you deliver a large pepperoni and Coke (hold the onions) to the White House, please enlighten President Obama on the error of his recent decision to protect American tyre-industry jobs with a tarriff…

Mark Gendala
Melbourne, Australia

Mark Gendala September 19, 2009 at 11:42 am



“Give me a million dollar bonus and protection from labor camps’ imports and I’ll give you a million hours of genuine industrial jobs!” seems to be the going rate amongst the current masters of a brand new Universe…”

Mark Gendala
Author of “R-O-A”
Melbourne, Australia

Mark Gendala October 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm


I recently informed a reader curious about my views on climate change debate that a brief reference in “Structure of Reality” did already cover that subject some years ago.
However, since that reference apparently wasn’t clear enough, here is
its extended and hopefully, more cogent version -

Let’s assume that the theoretical possibilities underpinning the climate
change debate can never be known as either “true” or “false”…
If so, can they still provide the basis for arriving at a course of action that is indisputably in the best interest of humanity?

Consider the three main possibilities -

Periodic changes in Earth’s climate had been taking place throughout the
eons and if such a change is indeed under way, then anything we do is irrelevant when compared to the gargantuan scale of the event itself.

Climate change is real, is predominantly the result of human activity – in
particular the last two centuries of Industrial Revolution, but the process
is by now so far advanced that no action on our part can stop, let alone reverse or remedy its effects.

Climate change is real, is predominantly the result of human activity but
the process can in fact be stopped and its effects reversed, maybe even remedied, by the maximum reduction of emissions we can achieve without becoming dysfunctional.

Why is it indisputably in humanity’s best interest to act as if C were true
rather then only “possible”? Elementary – we’re placing an additional chip on Nature’s roulette table.

Who knows, perhaps fifty years hence Nature will show us that C was a losing number – the ball lands on either A or B, and all our heroic efforts aimed at reducing emissions had been for nought.
Then again – provided that C is there to accommodate it, that ball may well land upon it

Kirsten from Finland -I hope my earlier reference is now a bit clearer.

Good Luck

Mark Gendala
Melbourne, Australia
“Structure of Reality”

Mark Gendala October 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm


Quote; “I cintent myself merely to ask how you – who so ferociously oppose(s) globalization and low cost foreign suppliers – justify yourself
in exporting, to America, your advice (free!) and your website (also
free!) from your home in Australia?

Let’s take the key terms of the above statement “exporting” and “free”…
Are “exports” MOST FREQUENTLY “free”. Of course, on Mars…

Remarkably, this sad misunderstanding of the key terms of an argument has been compounded in recent “A challenge to a protectionist” posting
that can be found by entering “A challenge to a protectionist Gendala”
into Google.

Here’s the response -


Greetings Don – I can see you’ve been up to no good again…

Quote; “If I buy a ham from my neighbor I import that ham into my household”

OK, tell someone “I want half a pound of ham so I can import it into
my household” – an average person could well wonder what kind of
funny cigarettes you’ve been smoking lately…
How come? Well, let me tell you a little “bad news, good news” story…

BAD NEWS….Language that makes us human is so malleable that at
any stage of our development a “special interest” group can endow its
most socially important words with “special interest” meanings that
advance that group’s own agenda – rather then that of its society
as a whole.

GOOD NEWS… Irrspective of that fundamental drawback, our distant
ancestors would also have found that relying on the MOST FREQUENT
meaning of words promotes the effectiveness of their communication,
enhances their social cohesion and increases the chances of their
group’s success in an endless battle for survival amongst rival
linguistic groups.
We, the current survivors, are thus doing no more then perpetuating
the semantic imperatives of our most successful predecessors.

Don, it is obvious that your example of using word “import” is not –
for once I’ll try to be polite, consistent with the MOST FREQUENT
meaning of that word.
Take an analogy… Suppose someone moves from East 22nd Street
a few miles across to Sycamore Street… Can this be the called an
act of “emigrating”?
It sure can, but not in a manner consistent with the MOST FREQUENT
meaning of word “emigrate”.

That said, I must confess I have found your example far more revealing then you’d ever intend it to be -

Couldn’t it be argued that once a person uses word “import” in defiance
of its MOST FREQUENT meaning, that person’s intellectual grasp of the
MOST FREQUENT social consequences of “imports” should, as a matter
of course, be then viewed with serious reservations, if not utter disdain?

Further, what credence should I attach to your pronouncements on economy, or indeed challenges that I prove some A or disprove some
B, when the words expressing it all have been cobbled together by a
mental process that irresponsibly departs from their MOST FREQUENT meanings and usage?

Mark Gendala
“Re-industrialization of America” (R-O-A)

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