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Explain what you know about tariffs, and why you think they’ll work

Airyaman

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Clueless, we see. The President's use of tarriffs is designed to force other nations to REDUCE TARRIFFS ON OUR GOODS and SERVICES. He is for ZERO TARRIFFS, by anyone, if it were up to him.

How's that working out so far?
 

Nap

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No weirder than seeing those on the right being opposed to the free market and supporting government intervention like that ;) It seems we live in interesting times. Or perhaps there's more nuance to the views of most intelligent folk than we tend to see from the most vocal pundits and forum folk.

This is what has been particularly worrying for me as it feels the Right is transitioning more towards a European right wing. Ron Paul seemed to have shifted it more to Libertarian and more traditional right wing (classical Liberalism) but it seems Trump has reversed much of that progress. I can't help but imagine how differently things would be had Ron Paul actually won in 2012 and I think just about everyone would agree America and the world in general would be in a far better place right now if he had.
 

Xelor

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To be honest, this was a copy/paste job from another place I discussed the subject. I initiated it at the beginning of Trump's trade war, when many Trumpsters at that place were claiming they were going to be awesome. So that is what was meant by "why you think they'll work". It was a targeted request of people who actually think tariffs are effective. I personally do not.

Red:
TY for identifying what "works" means vis-a-vis the question you've posed.

The meaning you've identified, even though it's a paraphrasing of others', "Trumpsters," is not objectively measurable; there is no unequivocally defined bar that can be observed to have (or not), by the tariffs, been reached or exceeded. Instead, it's purely subjective.
  • Examples of objective definitions of "works":
    • The tariffs do/did measurable thing A.
      The tariffs do/did measurable thing B.
      The tariffs do/did measurable thing C.
      Therefore, the tariffs work.
    • The tariffs are structured "thusly" and in accordance with estimating model X, they are expected to yield "thus and such" outcome(s). If they yield that genre of outcome, +/- "XYZ quantity or rate," they can be said to have worked.
    • Basic economic theory and tests of it indicate that tariffs increase producer surplus (PS), decrease consumer surplus (CS), create deadweight loss (DWL), and generate tax revenue (R). If as a result of tariff regimen ABC:
      -- PS increases by X percent,
      -- CS decreases by no more than Y percent, and
      -- R exceeds DWL by Z or more,
      I will deem tariff regimen ABC to have worked.
The gist of the above examples is that whatever "works" means, it must be something that when dispassionate and impassioned observers measure the tariffs' outcomes/performance, there can be no disagreement about whether have been or will be met the outcomes that define "works."

Obviously, "works'" definition must be something distinct to tariffs' possible outcomes, that is, the outcomes cannot be non-sequitur to what tariffs effect. For example, if "works" means the birth rate increases by X percent, that is a non-sequitur-to-tariffs outcome; thus even though that is a measurable quality, it's a definition that's no better than is a subjective definition.


Insofar as "works," as your question (or the Trumpsters whom you've described) defines it isn't a measurable I have no comment to offer on whether they work or will or won't work. I don't because I've already referenced several sources of high quality theory and empirical analysis of tariffs, both in general and specifically. One can use the content in those documents to infer whether any given tariff augurs to, by one's own subjective definition of "works," works or will work.
 

Mithrae

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This is what has been particularly worrying for me as it feels the Right is transitioning more towards a European right wing. Ron Paul seemed to have shifted it more to Libertarian and more traditional right wing (classical Liberalism) but it seems Trump has reversed much of that progress. I can't help but imagine how differently things would be had Ron Paul actually won in 2012 and I think just about everyone would agree America and the world in general would be in a far better place right now if he had.

Classical liberalism (which was traditionally left wing, not right) arose in a time when 'government' meant kings and dictators more often than not. The individual certainly did (and still does) need restrictions on and protection from government, but by the late 19th century we were starting to see some of the problems which could arise when it was the individual vs. increasingly large businesses. Libertarianism has a lot in common with modern liberalism in many important respects, but just seems really quite dogmatic in some very important areas.

Distinct from the actual economic implications, that's why I kind of like that the American right is supporting tariffs at the moment. (I mean, they've always tended to support subsidies for agriculture and so on, which amounts to the same thing, but it wasn't a political 'issue' because the Ds supported them too.) One can hope - however vainly - that folk from both 'sides' of politics might take the opportunity of recognizing that one size fits all dogmatic prescriptions are really quite foolish; that rejecting an option merely because of a resemblance to traditionally left-wing or traditionally right-wing views is particularly idiotic. I'm inclined to suspect that unnuanced left-wing views are more dangerous than nuanced right-wing views, and vice versa.
 

Nap

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Classical liberalism (which was traditionally left wing, not right) arose in a time when 'government' meant kings and dictators more often than not. The individual certainly did (and still does) need restrictions on and protection from government, but by the late 19th century we were starting to see some of the problems which could arise when it was the individual vs. increasingly large businesses. Libertarianism has a lot in common with modern liberalism in many important respects, but just seems really quite dogmatic in some very important areas.

Distinct from the actual economic implications, that's why I kind of like that the American right is supporting tariffs at the moment. (I mean, they've always tended to support subsidies for agriculture and so on, which amounts to the same thing, but it wasn't a political 'issue' because the Ds supported them too.) One can hope - however vainly - that folk from both 'sides' of politics might take the opportunity of recognizing that one size fits all dogmatic prescriptions are really quite foolish; that rejecting an option merely because of a resemblance to traditionally left-wing or traditionally right-wing views is particularly idiotic. I'm inclined to suspect that unnuanced left-wing views are more dangerous than nuanced right-wing views, and vice versa.

I meant that as traditional right wing in the American sense not European/Global.

As far as Libertarianism (in America) and Modern Liberalism, they are polar opposites. In America Liberals started calling themselves Libertarians when the Collectivist Left coopted the term.
 

Mithrae

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I meant that as traditional right wing in the American sense not European/Global.

As far as Libertarianism (in America) and Modern Liberalism, they are polar opposites. In America Liberals started calling themselves Libertarians when the Collectivist Left coopted the term.

They're really not - there's likely to be a lot of common ground if not wholehearted agreement on issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, drug policy, military and policing. It's mostly just property and business regulations where I feel that right-wing libertarians seem to approach the topic as if they were handed down from on high by divine mandate, rather than being socially-constructed norms. And even that I can kind of understand, coming from a emphasis on maximising freedom from any kind of government restrictions as opposed to liberals' emphasis on enhancing freedom to develop individual potential and happiness (ie. reducing constraints of economic inequality and societal disadvantage while making provision of needs like healthcare and education a social concern rather than a profiteering opportunity).
 

Nap

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They're really not - there's likely to be a lot of common ground if not wholehearted agreement on issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, drug policy, military and policing. It's mostly just property and business regulations where I feel that right-wing libertarians seem to approach the topic as if they were handed down from on high by divine mandate, rather than being socially-constructed norms. And even that I can kind of understand, coming from a emphasis on maximising freedom from any kind of government restrictions as opposed to liberals' emphasis on enhancing freedom to develop individual potential and happiness (ie. reducing constraints of economic inequality and societal disadvantage while making provision of needs like healthcare and education a social concern rather than a profiteering opportunity).

Sure, there are policy overlaps however I was speaking more to their world views and what the ideologies are based on. The primacy of the individual versus the collective which is ultimately the Right/Left divide in America.
 

Mithrae

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Sure, there are policy overlaps however I was speaking more to their world views and what the ideologies are based on. The primacy of the individual versus the collective which is ultimately the Right/Left divide in America.

A strange way to phrase it: It's not "the collective" that objects to "the individual" swinging his fist or dumping her waste or claiming arbitrary ownership over vast tracts of God's green earth, it's other individuals. As I said, liberals tend to emphasise individual freedom in a broader sense, recognising that economic, business and cultural constraints can sometimes be almost as oppressive as any imposed by government. If anything, 'the collective' is an apt description of business interests and a purely profit-driven economy ;)
 

Nap

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A strange way to phrase it: It's not "the collective" that objects to "the individual" swinging his fist or dumping her waste or claiming arbitrary ownership over vast tracts of God's green earth, it's other individuals. As I said, liberals tend to emphasise individual freedom in a broader sense, recognising that economic, business and cultural constraints can sometimes be almost as oppressive as any imposed by government. If anything, 'the collective' is an apt description of business interests and a purely profit-driven economy ;)

I don't see why that is a strange way to phrase it. Most positions Liberals (In America) take are in favor of the collective over the individual. For instance, gun control laws are meant to impose on the individual right to bear arms for the percieved safety of the collective. Wealth redistribution imposes on the individual right of private property for the stability of society (wealth inequality). You can try and rationalize it any way you want but in their world view the collective supersedes the individual.
 

Mithrae

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I don't see why that is a strange way to phrase it. Most positions Liberals (In America) take are in favor of the collective over the individual. For instance, gun control laws are meant to impose on the individual right to bear arms for the percieved safety of the collective. Wealth redistribution imposes on the individual right of private property for the stability of society (wealth inequality). You can try and rationalize it any way you want but in their world view the collective supersedes the individual.

Kids who get killed by gun-wielding classmates are individuals too :roll: It's troubling that you can so readily shunt that aside in favour of this alternative label. And again, if anything arms-bearing is very much a collective right created by a small number of 18th century Americans with a view towards a legitimate communal concern - the potential for government tyranny - while personal safety is a far more fundamental and individual concern. Without delving into the tangent of whether guns increase or decrease personal safety itself, it seems overwhelmingly obvious that any attempt to frame it as an individual vs. collective issue is more a matter of warped rhetoric and/or perception than anything else.

And again (again), property and ownership - being by their very definition restrictions of other folks' freedom to use this land or touch that stuff - are not divinely mandated rights... in my opinion. That's pretty much the key point on which right-wing libertarians seem to delve into a quasi-dogmatic perspective, as far as I can see. Societies constructed private property laws and regulations to enhance general prosperity. Under our current systems it is good that some people benefit more than others from those laws - that's one of the things that provides incentive for effort, talent, innovation and efficiency - but having a few hundred people owning more than the rest of the country combined is not only unnecessary; it's both economically counterproductive and leads to a concentration of power which threatens to warp or undermine democracy itself.

In any case, we're pretty far off topic here and I don't think the g-word is going to help :lol:
 
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