Made In The U.S.A.

Sonofa…

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Sonofa…

“Buy American” is UN-American
By Harry Binswanger, Ph.D.
Published online at the Ayn Rand Institute and excerpted below.

According to a recent poll, 80% of Americans think it their patriotic duty to give preference to American-made products. But “Buy American” is wholly un-American in both its economics and its philosophy.

International trade is not mortal combat but a form of cooperation, a means of expanding worldwide production. The benefits of international trade flow to both trading partners, even when one of the countries is more efficient across the board. This is the “Law of Comparative Advantage,” covered in every economics textbook. Free trade does not destroy but creates employment.

Philosophically, Americanism means individualism. Individualism holds that one’s personal identity, moral worth, and inalienable rights belong to one as an individual, not as a member of a particular race, class, nation, or other collective.

But collectivism is the premise of “Buy American.” In purchasing goods, we are expected to view ourselves and the sellers not as individuals, but as units of a nation. We are expected to accept lower quality or more expensive goods in the name of alleged benefits to the national collective.

Most “Buy American” advocates are motivated by misplaced patriotism. But for some the motive is a collectivist hostility towards foreigners. This xenophobic attitude is thoroughly un-American; it is plain bigotry.

Giving preference to American-made products over German or Japanese products is the same injustice as giving preference to products made by whites over those made by blacks. Economic nationalism, like racism, means judging men and their products by the group from which they come, not by merit.

Where there is free trade, the exchange of value for value, one man’s gain is another man’s gain.

The same harmony of men’s interests applies in the international arena. One nation’s enrichment raises the standard of living of all other nations with which it trades. Which nation adds more to your standard of living: Japan or Bangladesh? And how would you fare if Japan were suddenly reduced to the economic level of Bangladesh?

The patriotic advocates of buying American would be shocked to learn that the economic theory underlying their viewpoint is Marxism.

Contrary to Marxism, one does not benefit from the poverty or incompetence of others. It is in your interest that other men—in every country—be smart, ambitious, and productive, not stupid, lazy, or incompetent. Would you be better off if Thomas Edison had been dim-witted? Nothing is changed if we substitute a Japanese inventor for Edison.

More and better production is good for all men, everywhere. What’s good for Toyota is good for America. That’s individualism, and that’s Americanism.

Government interference with free trade is un-American. Sacrificing one’s standard of living in order to subsidize inefficient domestic producers is un-American. The tribal fear of foreigners is un-American. Resentment at others’ success is un-American.

A patriotic American acts as a capitalist and an individualist: he buys the best, wherever it may be found.

Sonofa…

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