Trans-Pacific Partnership or a Contest of Boofheads?

Article – Keith Rankin The perpetually nearly-finished TPP negotiations perpetuate once again. Cars and cows are the problem, we are told.Trans-Pacific Partnership or a Contest of Boofheads? The perpetually nearly-finished TPP negotiations perpetuate once again. Cars and cows are the problem, we are told. The TPP is often said to be a free-trade negotiation between the principal western-oriented Pacific-rim economies, South Korea excepted. It’s not. Nor is it a fair-trade or a balanced-trade negotiation. Rather, it’s simply a multilateral trade-off, based on mercantilist principles. In proper economics – Economics 101 – the benefit of an exchange is what you get; the cost is what you give up. Thus, for New Zealand, imported cars are a benefit of trade, and dairy products are a cost of trade. Overall the trade is good for us, because we value the cars more highly than the foreign car sellers do, and we value the dairy products (for our own consumption) less than the rest of the world does for their consumption. Mercantilist economics, on the other hand, is all about production. Ultimately it’s about making money. So, from a mercantilist point-of-view, exports are the benefit of trade and imports are the cost. We may call such mercantilism ‘real-economik’, an economic analogue of ‘realpolitik’. It reflects how just about everyone else, other than economists, think about the international economy. And, most economists are employed...

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