Let’s focus on China’s state-owned enterprises — steel in particular. As the theory goes, by heavily subsidizing some of its state-owned steel producers, Beijing creates overcapacity. This overcapacity causes the global supply of steel to be too high and thus the world price of steel to be too low. American producers thereby suffer lost sales.
True enough. This very top-down industrial policy of Beijing’s does indeed create conditions in the global market that are unfavorable to American steelmakers. But let me ask this: if the Chinese government’s intervention into the steel market is so bad, why isn’t it equally bad when this same government directs other SOEs to buy more U.S. soybeans?
Here lies the inconsistency: in one case we lament China’s use of SOEs while in another case we celebrate this use. Why? Both the “overproduction” of steel and the immediate purchase of U.S. soybeans, which will cost the Chinese significantly more than Brazilian soybeans, are a tragedy for the Chinese people because their government forcibly diverts resources from other, presumably more productive, sectors of the Chinese economy toward these two activities.
Pierre Lemieux explains the meaning and importance of consumer sovereignty. Here’s his conclusion:
In an unfree society—whether it is corporatist, socialist, crony-capitalist, state capitalist, slave-owner governed, or otherwise collectivist—the producers call the shots and exploit consumers. There are good economic and moral arguments against this kind of regime.
Abortion is one of the few policy issues on which my opinion is known only to my closest of friends – and matters will remain that way. But I do not hesitate to publicly agree with George Will that killing live-born infants is murder.