Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture. He is available for speaking and interviews via his email. Tw | FB | LinkedIn
Jeffrey A. Tucker
Articles from Jeffrey A. Tucker
When things don’t go our way, when institutions produce outcomes we find contrary to our conception of what should be, we seek out the culprit, the hidden hand making things as they are. Surely some powerful cabal manipulated the world to take the shape that it does. Nothing is random, spontaneous, truly decentralized, accidental, or the product of an emergent process that no one in particular controls. There is a power behind some curtain somewhere. The purpose of the conspiracy theory is to find it and bring it to justice.
Always ask yourself: when using the term “inflation,” what are you seeking to explain? If it is monetary policy, you are best off looking at monetary statistics. If it is prices, follow the Everyday Price Index. If it is the relationship between monetary policy and prices, follow good economic theory.
I could have eaten it without violating anyone’s rights, so far as I can tell. But doing so would bump into an idea that forms the basis of social order, the very distinction between what is mine and what is thine. And keep in mind that this norm thrives most (or only) in an environment in which we are not desperate. In famine and war, such norms become more flexible. Sitting at the airport bar, I had the luxury to be scrupulous … and remain hungry, awaiting my chance to beg the flight attendant to give me an extra bag of salted almonds.
After all these efforts, all these interventions and tax-back loans, nothing could prepare the company to deal with a loss of its foreign markets. This is why the company said this week that it would move some production overseas due to increased costs from the EU's retaliatory tariffs against the Trump administration's taxes on imports of steel and aluminum.
Economic nationalism, characterized by restriction on trade and migration toward the goal of political control, has a different sales pitch and cultural feel from the central planning of generations past. But it is no less an attack on free enterprise, industrial rivalry, and consumer control of production. Ultimately it is just another way to undermine property rights, freedom, and the limits on the power of the state.
Despite all the rhetoric, the debate over immigration isn’t really about human rights, economics, national security, or even culture change. Immigration policy has become an extension of national politics. Whoever wins gets to control the presidency. The people have become the fodder in a war for who gets to exercise power over whom.