Friday, April 20, 2012
The George Kenney Podcast, "Protectionism & Class Warfare" with Dr. Ralph E. Gomory - Electric Politics
Let me say up front: This is one of the most important podcasts I've done. Please listen!
Dr. Ralph E. Gomory has shown, theoretically, how and why "free trade" is not necessarily good and, in fact, in many common contemporary conditions, can be extremely harmful for one or another "free trade" partner(s), notwithstanding that a "free trade" deal has been freely entered into. His latest book, with co-author Dr. William J. Baumol -- a former President of the American Economic Association -- titled Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests (MIT Press, 2001), should have been an instant economic classic but, instead, fell upon the economics profession and society at large with a resounding thud. Despite being written in very readable English the book contradicts much too much of our conventional wisdom. Ralph has subsequently been elaborating upon the implications of his work in many outstanding essays at the Huffington Post.
'So what?' you may ask. Well, two things. First, Ralph is pretty close to being a genius, though I'm not in a position to be certain how close. Second, he's the former head of research at IBM and President Emeritus of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. So a heretical view on free trade from him, deeply grounded in both theory and practice, is important, especially when he says that if we persist with our "free trade" mistakes America will end up permanently, and painfully, impoverished. But Ralph goes even further to say that in addition to proudly carrying the protectionist banner we should also speak plainly and enthusiastically about "class warfare." We don't want a society in which the rich get everything and there's absolutely nothing wrong in saying that. In fact, being honest about it is a very good thing. Here, again, Ralph brings a ton of experience to the table, having been a director for several Fortune 500 companies and having been recognized as one of the top ten directors in the country. He's seen the scourge of profit maximization from the inside, and doesn't like it.
To be honest, if we don't pay attention to Ralph's intelligence, experience, and sound judgment, we're doomed.