Monday, August 8, 2016

Jerry Pournelle on Free Trade

"Let me begin by reminding everyone that while unrestricted Capitalism and absolutely free markets are the best known way of producing the most and cheapest stuff, they inevitably lead to the sale of human flesh in the market place. If you do not think that having cheap stuff and baby parts for sale in the public markets is a desirable goal, then you put some value ahead of unrestricted free markets. How much restriction is needed is what we are discussing." 
From "ZenBooks and Light Bulbs. Trump and Putin. A Discussion of Free Trade."

As I have pointed out before, the concept of free trade is based on comparative advantage, which does not include giving away the technology and know-how that provides the comparative advantage. It would be easy to enact a law that prohibited U.S. companies from transferring technical knowledge (including manufacturing techniques) to foreign countries; it would be easier (and probably more effective) to simply remove all intellectual property rights that a company might have in such a product or process, including patents, copyrights, or protections that might be afforded for protecting trade secrets.

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