Unknown now, of course, is the extent to which the next administration would feel bound by its WTO obligations, much less any WTO verdicts against it. Spurred by what he sees as “unfair” trade agreements, President-elect Trump has said he might go so far as to pull the U.S. out of the WTO.
This would unleash weapons of mass economic destruction world-wide. Even if the U.S. doesn’t withdraw, a rash of unilateral and other provocative trade actions by the U.S. could trigger tit-for-tat trade responses that cause the global trading system to unravel. The WTO could collapse beneath the burden of the ensuing disputes.
(Trump and his economically misinformed fans – many of whom mistakenly equate a globally integrated economy with “one-world government” – might well applaud this outcome, thinking that it would be good for ordinary Americans. They would be very, very wrong.)
Soviet communism was born 100 years ago. Matt Ridley riffs on humanity’s calamitous embrace of collectivism. (HT Warren Smith) A slice:
Human beings can be remarkably dense. The practice of bloodletting, as a medical treatment, persisted despite centuries of abundant evidence that it did more harm than good. The practice of communism, or political bloodletting as it should perhaps be known, whose centenary in the Bolshevik revolution is reached this year, likewise needs no more tests. It does more harm than good every time. Nationalised, planned, one-party rule benefits nobody, let alone the poor.
The diseases that Marxism-Leninism was intended to treat, poverty and inequality, were ancient scourges just beginning to fade, even in Russia. Higher living standards were starting to reach ordinary people, rather than just the feudal elite, for the first time. Radicals had long seen government as the problem, not the solution: that to enrich the masses required liberating people from kings and priests.