Looking back at 2019 is incredibly disorienting. The country is horribly divided. In fact, the president of the United States was just impeached along partisan lines. The government is running trillion dollar (and growing) annual budget deficits, even though the economy is doing well. Still, listening to many politicians and pundits, you’d think the nation is doing terribly and the government isn’t spending a dime. That’s 2019 in a nutshell.
With Hayekian wisdom, the Wall Street Journal‘s Barton Swaim explains that capitalism isn’t a system. Unlike socialism, capitalism – what Deirdre McCloskey calls “innovism” – is an emergent order. A slice:
But although capitalism keeps producing historically high levels of prosperity and order, its critics on the left keep hurling new terms at it. Capitalism is now called “neoliberalism” or “hypercapitalism” or, question-beggingly, “late capitalism,” and left-wing intellectuals keep pretending they have something wonderful to replace it with.
While its advocates claim Ex-Im helps the U.S. fight the trade war, reality is quite different. The number one destination where Ex-Im sends U.S. tax dollars is China. An overwhelming majority of that financing goes to state-owned enterprises such as Air China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. Ex-Im isn’t a very good tool to counter China’s industrial policy since its top activity is funneling cash to China’s tools of industrial policy.