On being underwhelmed by economists

One of the things I’ve learned about the internet is that it has a way of stripping the intellectual glamor from those one had reason to respect for one reason or another. I discovered that Thomas Sowell was rather less bright than I’d believed when I had a direct personal encounter with him over Michelle Malkin and Pearl Harbor. And it was disappointing to learn that Thomas Woods is considerably more conventional, and considerably less serious, as an economist than I’d imagined him to be.

Supreme Dark Lord @voxday
Free trade advocates don’t realize
they’re supporting a failed theory that never applied to modern
economies or technology in the 1st place.

Bent Nail Retweeted Supreme Dark Lord@ThomasEWoods  free trade failed Tom…just like the non-aggression principle .only works if all comply.

Supreme Dark Lord ‏@voxday
No, it doesn’t work at all. Free trade is totally incompatible with having a nation.

Tom Woods ‏@ThomasEWoods
No, that’s completely wrong. Why not block out the sun? It’s not playing fair, giving all that light for free!

Tom Woods ‏@ThomasEWoods
“Having a nation” = “forcing people to pay higher taxes to the sociopaths who oppress them.” Got it.
Supreme Dark Lord @voxday
I mean literally having a nation at all. With true free trade, HALF of Americans under 35 will have to emigrate.

Tom Woods ‏@ThomasEWoods
Especially the US lightbulb industry, which deserves to suck at the proverbial teat forever. Nationhood demands it

Woods is a good Austrian, in the economics sense, but he’s obviously in over his head here. I am entirely confident that he has literally never considered the obvious consequences of free trade from a labor mobility standpoint, despite the fact that labor mobility is a necessary component of free trade from theoretical, logical, and empirical standpoints.

In fact, with a very few number of exceptions, such as Gary North, who rejects the core concepts of “nations” and “borders”, I daresay that fewer Austrian economists understand that their free trade dogma is absolutely antithetical to the survival of Western civilization than libertarians grasped that their open borders policy was self-refuting twenty years ago.

I find it amusing because the conversation usually goes like this:

FREE TRADER: Free trade is good! Just look at how domestic free trade has benefited the US economy!

VOX DAY: Very well. Now look at US labor mobility rates.

FT: (stricken look) Um, labor mobility isn’t necessarily part of free trade.

VD: Yes, it is. But more importantly, it is observably part of the US economy.

FT: (wide-eyed horror, crash, reboot) Why not block out the sun? Japan! 1970s automakers! Ricardo! Smoot-Hawley!

They literally have no comeback for this argument, because most of them are unwilling to openly declare themselves anti-American globalists who don’t believe in nations, let alone national sovereignty, let alone the US Constitution. And that is the only rational response that remains to them if they are going to retain the free trade dogma.

I have yet to hear a single free trader even TRY to respond to my point that if the international economy was opened up to free trade to the extent that the domestic economy is, US labor mobility indicates that nearly half of all Americans would be forced to emigrate by the time they turn 35.

Free trade. Nations. Pick one.