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Tag Archives: Nationalism

How nationalism blinds us

I often have conservations with people about protectionism. One common complaint I hear is that America is a free trader that plays by the rules, whereas foreign countries are protectionist and don’t play by the rules. In fact, the exact opposite is more nearly true. In a recent post, I pointed out that the US has the highest tariff rates in the entire world among developed nations. But what about “the rules”, don’t we at least play by the rules? Here’s The...

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Patriotism and nationalism

Back in September 2002, a little girl was born into a Canadian family with a Western dad and an East Asian mom. In November 2002, another little girl was born into a Canadian family with a Western dad and an East Asian mom. Today, those two women face off in the US Open tennis finals. Boris Johnson says he’s rooting for the player who was born in Toronto in November 2002, not the player born in Montreal in September 2002. That’s because the one born in Toronto later...

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The authoritarian nationalist playbook

There’s a sort of boomlet in authoritarian nationalism, with some prominent conservative leaders touting the Orban regime in Hungary, or even the earlier Salazar regime in Portugal.  But what is authoritarian nationalism? This term has been applied to regimes as dissimilar as the governments of Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Russia, India, China, and Brazil. Some of these countries are democracies, some are dictatorships, and some fall in between those two extremes.  So...

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The Logic of Protectionist Nationalists

It seems that economics and logic were not the strong fields of protectionist nationalists in college—or at least this is the case with the three lieutenant governors who published an op-ed in The Hill at the beginning of the Summer. In the just-published Fall issue of Regulation (the electrons are still hot and the paper version has not yet hit the newsstands), I write: The USMCA, the authors glowingly wrote, will “increase U.S. annual agricultural exports by $2.2...

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Conservatives and the mythical third way

In recent years, an increasing number of conservatives have become disenchanted with “neoliberal” economic policies, which are seen as leading to unbalanced trade, de-industrialization and even the breakdown of the family. At the same time, they are not willing to accept the big government progressivism of left wing figures like Bernie Sanders. Instead, they seek a “third way”. As we will see, their third way is as mythical as the kingdom of Prester John. The...

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Immigration vs. Social Desirability Bias

Consider the following specimens of Social Desirability Bias. 1. This is my country, I would never want to live anywhere else. 2. Patriotism matters more than money! 3. I couldn’t bear the thought of my children not growing up as citizens of [my country of birth]. 4. This is the greatest country in the world. 5. Nothing is more important than keeping our whole family together. 6. We’re nothing without our traditions. 7. Our identity matters more than gold. 8. We’ve...

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Nationalism and tech

Over recent decades, the technology sector has gained relative to other sectors of the economy.  This partly reflects public policy decisions in areas such as intellectual property rights and antitrust laws, but mostly reflects fundamental innovations that move economic activity from “brick and mortar” firms to internet companies. The recent pandemic has accelerated this trend, as tech companies have done much better than more traditional sectors.  So why hasn’t there...

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Wrong headline

Bloomberg has a very good article on the deteriorating global situation, but they gave it the wrong headline: Pandemic Shatters World Order, Sowing Anger and Mistrust Here’s how the headline should read: Nationalism Shatters World Order, Sowing Anger and Mistrust Every time I read an intellectual defending nationalism I think to myself; “Have these people not studied history?”  Haven’t we been here before?

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The Financial Times on the internal contradictions of nationalism

I’ve done a number of posts (here and here) discussing the internal contradictions of nationalism. One example: [I]f all countries become nationalistic, they will end up clashing with each other. No such contradiction exists for neoliberalism. Janan Ganesh has a great article discussing this issue, which begins as follows: Bill Hicks, the late comic and grouch, dreamt of a political party for “people who hate people”. He just couldn’t get them to come together in the...

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The fruits of nationalism

Bloomberg has an article discussing a US planning session for a global pandemic, which took place in 2019: Last October, about 50 national security experts gathered in Washington to role-play a global response to a frightening scenario: a pandemic sparked by a mysterious new coronavirus ravages the world, hitting North Asia, Europe and the U.S. especially hard. They got many things right, but were wrong about one aspect of the policy response: One thing it got badly...

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