Trump has a point on China stealing US jobs

In China on 22/12/2016 at 5:19 am

In fact three points that mercantilists (think Germany, China and the PAP administration) would agree with.

For President-elect Donald Trump, the biggest issue in the US relationship with China is trade. Chinese imports do cause job losses in the US: up to 2.4m jobs may have been lost, directly and indirectly, as a consequence of imports from China.

Between 1999 and 2011 America lost almost 6m manufacturing jobs in net terms. That may not be as dramatic as it sounds, since America is a large and dynamic place where around 5m jobs come and go every month. Still, when David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), David Dorn of the University of Zurich and Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego, looked into the job losses more closely, they found something worrying. At least one-fifth of the drop in factory jobs during that period was the direct result of competition from China.

Moreover, the American workers who had lost those jobs neither found new ones close by nor searched for work farther afield. They either swelled the ranks of the unemployed or, more often, left the workforce … In subsequent research, the authors found that lost factory jobs also had a depressing effect on aggregate demand (and thus non-manufacturing jobs) in the affected areas. In total, up to 2.4m jobs may have been lost, directly and indirectly, as a consequence of imports from China.



But mercantilists have to ask themselves one question. In a world where the US$ is the hegemon and which the global hegemon can print at will, they are lending the hegemon the money that the hegemon uses to buy stuff from them: is this wise?

Remember that the Anglo-Saxon kings defaulted on their loans to the Lombards, bankrupting them. OK, OK, it’s the Anglo-Norman kings of England.

  1. No need to default, just raise interest rates and you see the biggest mercantilist begin to wobble with its currency and its reserve. The mercantilists cannot generate sufficient demand themselves – they need the hegemon.

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