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I Invite Anyone Who Wishes to Inflict Upon Me Such “Diminishment”

Here’s a letter to Brett Decker, the editor of the Washington Times:

Interviewed about your new book on China, you were asked the following question: “You write that China’s growth is directly tied to our ruin.  Why is that so?  Why can’t both America and China prosper economically?” (“The Chinese century,” Nov. 16).   Your answer is that the Chinese are pursuing a policy that you call “the diminishment of the competition, most especially America.”

How, exactly, are we Americans ‘diminished’?  Is it through our better access to low-priced Chinese goods?  Would we be ‘amplified’ if, as you advocate, Congress imposed tariffs and other trade restrictions that raise the prices we as consumers pay for products such as cell phones and clothing?  Would be ‘elevated’ if we as producers must pay higher prices for inputs such as power-generating equipment and steel?

And is China strengthened by the taxes that Beijing extracts from the Chinese people to make computers, furniture, medical equipment, and other valuable ourputs more accessible to the American people?  Is the Chinese economy fortified by inflation of the renminbi – inflation that is inevitable insofar as Beijing keeps the exchange-rate of that currency artificially low against the dollar?

In short, please explain how the Chinese are enriched – and Americans ‘diminished’ – if Beijing forcibly removes from its own economy unusually large quantities of goods and inputs for shipment to our shores?

Donald J. Boudreaux