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Lopez Obrador: Mexico's next president is 'stubborn' leftist

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By Maria Lorente and Yussel Gonzalez

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Never heard of a "stubborn" rightist! Must be the fake media at it again. Trump will have to deal with a Mexican President who will make the gringos pay (through the nose) for any Trump Wall.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This guy has way too many things in common with Trump.

When he is loosing he calls it a fraud, when people talk about thing he has done calls it fake news, his proposals are extremely vague, he seems to think that just by being president the country is going to change for the better, blames foreigners for economic problems, is against free trade, has a very limited vocabulary, his supporters see him as a demi-god, never apologizes even thou he was showed 100% to be wrong.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

has a very limited vocabulary

"Fiercely inarticulate", was how his American version was once beautifully labelled. Should be a fun relationship.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So are the Mexicans taking a shot at out-Venezueling Venezuela? This can only end well...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wish the new president of Mexico well as he tries to address the many economic, political and social problems in his country. I would also like to give him and the people of Mexico some good news, which is to say that no matter how bad things become or what else happens in Mexico at least you won't have to have Donald Trump as your president, and as Martha Stewart says that is a very, very, very good thing.

Mexico has many problems with corruption and crime. The biggest factor is the demand pull of U.S. citizens who insist on consuming narcotics produced South of the border. Until we reform and rationalize our own laws and procedures, our market for these substances will continue to fuel the crime syndicates in Meso-America that exploit weaknesses in their public institutions.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Mexico has many problems with corruption and crime. The biggest factor is the demand pull of U.S. citizens who insist on consuming narcotics produced South of the border. 

Well you can thank NAFTA for putting so many corn farmers out of business and turning to the narcotics trade.

Im sure Trump will get along fine with Obrador as they both want to make their countries better, not worse.

Martha Stewart?? Where did that come from?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

When he is loosing he calls it a fraud, when people talk about thing he has done calls it fake news, his proposals are extremely vague, he seems to think that just by being president the country is going to change for the better, blames foreigners for economic problems, is against free trade, has a very limited vocabulary, his supporters see him as a demi-god, never apologizes even thou he was showed 100% to be wrong.

Sounds like the deep state is a little cranky today.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

FizzBitToday 03:44 pm JST

Im sure Trump will get along fine with Obrador as they both want to make their countries better, not worse.

Where did you get the idea that t-Rump gives a flaming rat's arse about America? He's all about self-dealing, nepotism & cronyism. Corruption all day everyday is his M.O. His raison d'etre.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Where did you get the idea that t-Rump gives a flaming rat's arse about America? He's all about self-dealing, nepotism & cronyism. Corruption all day everyday is his M.O. His raison d'etre.

That was funny.

Please calm down. Do YOU care about America? How about backing your comment up with some facts instead an emotional rant?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Wouldnt it be awesome if these guys meet up and decided to make America AND Mexico great again?

Isnt wipe out corruption kind of similar to drain the swamp...?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Im sure Trump will get along fine with Obrador as they both want to make their countries better, not worse.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I'm sure they will get fine in things like international trade, since they both think that the way to go is to focus strictly on the internal market of a country... ignoring the global trade, and the facts about how some economies are better at something than others.

Isnt wipe out corruption kind of similar to drain the swamp...?

It's exactly the same thing, and just like "drain the swamp", there are 0 specifics of what he is going to do (other than to put his friends in power positions... like Trump)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Again with the slogans.

why does everyone so far use this sloganeering tactic? So negative. But I guess that should be a given in this MSM brainwashed climate. You hate for hates sake. Because this person or that person is not on your side. Amazing. A long time ago it was smart to never trust governments. What happened?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Again with the slogans.

That's not a slogan, it is a common saying.

It means that just because you have "good intentions" doesn't mean that you are actually doing something that is going to be good.

But I guess that should be a given in this MSM brainwashed climate.

I'm actually libertarian who dislikes for the most part socialism... so no, you are just painting anyone who disagrees with you as your worst enemy to never even listen to what they have to say.

A long time ago it was smart to never trust governments. 

What are you talking about???

Are you for or against being skeptic of what people in the government say, because you are the one who is siding with head of governments that share your own ideology.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What are you talking about???

So excuse me, for a minute there I thought you were standing in a line, bashing Trump because that's what is popular.

Whats your reason?

Is this it?

ignoring the global trade, and the facts about how some economies are better at something than others.

This not only makes no sense and doesn't apply, but also way off mark.

Can you show any evidence that Trump is acting in the normal corporate culture that is/has destroyed the middle class in the US? Please show me. And then your "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" might make more sense.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

So excuse me, for a minute there I thought you were standing in a line, bashing Trump because that's what is popular.

Whats your reason?

Is this it?

So you really believe that there cannot be any valid reason, like a difference in ideology or understanding of concepts like the economy as to why someone would not like Trump?

Can you show any evidence that Trump is acting in the normal corporate culture that is/has destroyed the middle class in the US?

I would have to agree with your world view in the first place to say something like this.

You somehow believe that global trade has "destroyed the middle class", without any data or anything to show this is the case.

First, and is a little bit ironic, the "middle class" idea is a Marxist concept. The idea of the "middle class" refers to the "Working class", which, once again, comes from Marx works which is based on the idea of social classes, and the "class struggle".

These are all talk points that were first used by the left, but thanks to the new populist right in the US, it has gone to the right.

The reason why there is a rise in income inequality in the U.S, i because there is a rise of rich people in the U.S.

If the rich become richer, it doesn't matter how the rest of the population is, the Gini coefficient is going to go UP.

Now, many of the people who are pro Trump because of the economy, are for the most part blue-collar workers which have seen in the last decades a decline in their living standard.

And even thou it is understandable that people are pissed off because of this, they also need to understand that there is LITTLE that can be done to reverse that, since the golden age of manufacturing in the US peaked many decades ago, and is not going back, it doesn't matter how many protectionist measures you take, or how much politicians say they are going to fix everything.

Like it or not, politicians are not gods, and do not have the power to bend reality to what they want.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Like it or not, politicians are not gods, and do not have the power to bend reality to what they want.

Nice reply!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You somehow believe that global trade has "destroyed the middle class", without any data or anything to show this is the case.

True. But is there any need to? We both know that slave labor rules the day. One day China is going to run dry. It's already happening. Then move onto the next slave labor country.

There has been no other president that has addressed this vacume of the "working classes" for the last 70 decades. Is it so surprising that anyone who talks like this will be met by the corporate deep state MSM mafia?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

But I guess that should be a given in this MSM brainwashed climate.

It occurs to me that those who infer that we are nothing more than sheep and promote conspiracy theories might want to question their own moulding.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is it so surprising that anyone who talks like this will be met by the corporate deep state MSM mafia?

You're blaming something that does exist on something that doesn't, and you are wondering why it hasn't improved for '70 decades'?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It occurs to me that those who infer that we are nothing more than sheep and promote conspiracy theories might want to question their own moulding.

Guaranteed up votes, but nothing intelligent.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You're blaming something that does exist on something that doesn't, and you are wondering why it hasn't improved for '70 decades'?

Huh?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Huh?

Deep state players, globalists, elite liberal MSM media, illuminati, immigrants, whatever other ghouls & ghosts you and your multi-billionaire conman of a kleptocrat president has fooled you into believing is the reason for the ills of the middle classes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Guaranteed up votes, but nothing intelligent.

I'm not here for the votes.

There is nothing wrong with questioning the status quo. I do it all the time. But sinking to CT nonsense does not advance any argument.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

We both know that slave labor rules the day. One day China is going to run dry. It's already happening. Then move onto the next slave labor country.

Once again, this was once upon a time a talk point that mainly was brought by people on the left to talk about the evils of capitalism, so it is ironic that you now blame the "MSM mafia" for exactly what the socialist talk point was not so long ago.

The thing is, it's not that easy. Are labor rules horrible in those countries? Yes, they are.

But, once again, sorry for being a buzzkill, but there is no easy solution to this problem.

For many people in these country, the alternative to their horrible labor rules would be starve to death. In fact, that's why many of these people continue to work under horrible rules and abysmal salaries.

The misconception appears to come from the idea that "this is a necessity" of the global economy, but that is not true at all.

For example, even thou far far away from the standard of developed countries, China's labor standards have been going up steadily, and one of the main reasons for this is because of the flow of capital.

And also, and this is a talk point that is always ignored or ridiculed by people of your political view point, but the main engine going on from here that is going to keep manufacturing labor costs cheap are not slave labor, but automatization.

In fact, manufacturing in the US is still a thing, but MOST of the manufacturing work is automated.

For example, in the past, for Ford to make an assembly line of their cars, they required more than quadruple the number of people now are required to run the new automated assembly lines.

There has been no other president that has addressed this vacume of the "working classes" for the last 70 decades. Is it so surprising that anyone who talks like this will be met by the corporate deep state MSM mafia?

It's true that for a long time politicians ignored these peoples struggles... but once again, there is very little that can be done. The best thing that can be done is reeducation for these people so that they can engage in some other type of work.

In fact, it is WORSE for these people what Trump is doing, by promising that they will get their jobs back, when that is NEVER going to happen.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In fact, it is WORSE for these people what Trump is doing, by promising that they will get their jobs back, when that is NEVER going to happen.

It doesn't hurt to try. And that's what Trump is doing. What ever came of Obamas "hope and change"? Did you believe that? Nothing seems to have changed.

How can anything be worse when nothing has changed??

Big question.

Care to answer?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It doesn't hurt to try.

It actually does hurt, because instead of people retraining themselves so that they can work in another industry, many are just waiting for their job to "come back".

What ever came of Obamas "hope and change"? Did you believe that? Nothing seems to have changed.

Never believed in "hope and change", and never liked Obama either.

How can anything be worse when nothing has changed??

The fact that people do not try to move on is way worse than people accepting the fact that the economy and the world has changed, and they trying to adapt themselves to current trends.

It's just as bad as doing nothing or going to see a woo-woo doctor when you have cancer.

You are wasting vital time that is not going to come back.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It actually does hurt, because instead of people retraining themselves so that they can work in another industry, many are just waiting for their job to "come back".

You give too much power to the president I think. I don't think working families have the time to contemplate how to retrain themselves. The smart ones will find their niche, the dumb ones will apply for free money and food like so many are doing thanks to Obama.

It actually does hurt, because instead of people retraining themselves so that they can work in another industry, many are just waiting for their job to "come back".

So what is a leader supposed to say or do? "Hey, give up!"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't think working families have the time to contemplate how to retrain themselves. The smart ones will find their niche, the dumb ones will apply for free money and food like so many are doing thanks to Obama.

Well... the fact that this is still a problem, even thou the manufacturing jobs have in decline for decades now, make me think that at least most of the people who think of this as a problem worthy of electing someone president to fix it are in fact, as you put it, in your condescending "dumb" category.

I know people who lost their jobs in this industry, and just moved on, and never really thought of it as a problem... so yeah

So what is a leader supposed to say or do? "Hey, give up!"

Well, a good leader says the hard truths, a crappy leader says whatever you wanna hear.

That's exactly why Trump is considered a "Populist", because he is just saying things people wanna hear, even if they are not true of make no sense.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It actually does hurt, because instead of people retraining themselves so that they can work in another industry

Do you agree that there is an IQ distribution in every society with people at the lower end taking the manual labour and manufacturing jobs? The idea that everyone is a blank slate with equal ability to retrain themselves into better careers is one of the biggest conceits of both libertarianism and neoliberalism as I see it. No matter how much we try to educate people, not everyone can become a computer programmer, app developer, lawyer, banker, or CEO. If we want a healthy and functioning society, we need an economic policy which provides enough work for people at every rung of the IQ ladder. Protectionism does seem to be an effective tool to retain some of these manual labour jobs. Japan is probably the best example of this sort of policy. We're all a bit poorer because of Japan's protectionism, but the societal benefits are worth it in my opinion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well... the fact that this is still a problem, even thou the manufacturing jobs have in decline for decades now

But they haven't been in decline. They've actually been increasing,.. in Mexico of course.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Do you agree that there is an IQ distribution in every society with people at the lower end taking the manual labour and manufacturing jobs

IQ is a flawed standard, since the requirements for many "skilled" works are not the same, in terms of raw mathematical ability, or for example memory performance or solving problems skills.

Not only that, but there are "skilled" works that are mostly just following simple orders.

The idea that "dumb people can only do dumb jobs" is not that accurate, and most of the idea is just based on stereotypes and lack of knowledge of current industries, like IT industries.

The idea that everyone is a blank slate with equal ability to retrain themselves into better careers is one of the biggest conceits of both libertarianism and neoliberalism as I see it.

Never said that people are a blank slate with equal ability, not ever I heard someone in the libertarian movement say it, that's just dumb.

No matter how much we try to educate people, not everyone can become a computer programmer, app developer, lawyer, banker, or CEO.

Maybe you cannot be a programmer, but you can be a tester.

You don't need to be a lawyer, banker or CEO to be successful, nor it wouldn't make any sense or serve any benefit or purpose if everyone just worked in high salary, high responsibility, high knowledge jobs.

If we want a healthy and functioning society, we need an economic policy which provides enough work for people at every rung of the IQ ladder.

That sounds lovely, but that sounds more like a pipe dream than a reality. Just as you said, not everyone is going to get the same jobs, the same salary or the same benefits.

There are limits to what a government can do, and as I said, a government cannot bend the rules of reality.

Protectionism does seem to be an effective tool to retain some of these manual labour jobs.

At what cost? With things like protectionism you are choosing losers and winners.

Not to say that protectionism almost always ends badly.

In the end, unless you become a complete isolationist, if some industry is getting so developed outside of your home country to the point that you cannot longer ignore it, because not just that industry, but the economy of your whole country can get underdeveloped because of your protectionist policies, the policy is going to end anyway, and in a more abrupt and violent manner.

And once again, if some part of your economy is dragging the feet of the whole economy, I cannot see how that is better, since it means less jobs overall and less development.

Japan is probably the best example of this sort of policy. We're all a bit poorer because of Japan's protectionism, but the societal benefits are worth it in my opinion.

What societal benefits? That a few people can continue to do agricultural jobs that make no sense, and just a simple typhoon can wipe out the whole potato industry for a year, and most people have to waste a lot more of money to buy simple things?

In those kind of cases, If they are really completely unable to do ANY OTHER JOB, I would rather for those people to get the so called basic income than to crash the whole economy just for their sake.

But they haven't been in decline. They've actually been increasing,.. in Mexico of course.

Mexico had a so underdeveloped industry that anything is an increase. But Mexico is still way behind in terms of manufacturing than the US or Canada.

The only reason why it's a talking point for the ethnic nationalists is because they are foreigners, and of course, foreigners are evil.

Just like Lopez Obrador, who wants all foreigners out of many industries in Mexico.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only reason why it's a talking point for the ethnic nationalists is because they are foreigners, and of course, foreigners are evil.

Luis, are you honestly suggesting that the only reason that many people are concerned about American industrial policy and the extraordinary decline of manufacturing employment is because they are all racists and xenophobes?

What societal benefits?

In Japan: lower levels of poverty, lower unemployment, a skilled workforce, lower crime, social cohesion, lower income inequality, higher social mobility.

At what cost? With things like protectionism you are choosing losers and winners... but the economy of your whole country can get underdeveloped because of your protectionist policies

Yes and No. Any productivity risks can be mitigated by protecting entire industries rather than specific technologies. This is basically Japan's and Germany's whole industrial policy. They protect and incentivise the entire auto industry regardless of whether innovation eventually takes the form of internal combustion engines or electric self-driving vehicles. Yes, you could say that they've both 'chosen' the car as a winner, but even if they turn out to be wrong, it's not as if they will be completely unable to adapt. Companies choose winners and losers every time they launch a product or make an investment, why is it unacceptable for the state to do this in specific sectors of the economy?

You mentioned yourself that automation is likely to revolutionise manufacturing in the future. If we achieve close to 100% automation where the only manufacturing jobs remaining are maintaining and overseeing the robots as they work, what is your argument for not imposing steep tariffs on foreign made goods? Once we have automated solar powered clean factories that are just as productive in one country as they are in another, why would imported goods be tolerated in a country that hasn't reached full employment?

(If we want a healthy and functioning society, we need an economic policy which provides enough work for people at every rung of the IQ ladder.)

That sounds lovely, but that sounds more like a pipe dream than a reality.

I think Japan has already achieved this to a very large extent. Germany as well.

IQ is a flawed standard, since the requirements for many "skilled" works are not the same, in terms of raw mathematical ability, or for example memory performance or solving problems skills.

Not only that, but there are "skilled" works that are mostly just following simple orders.

Well, if you're claiming that certain types of skilled work is not actually skilled work, then I'm not sure how to respond other than to say that it probably shouldn't be called skilled work. If it's not skilled work, then low IQ people might be perfectly capable of doing the job well. This seems like more of a semantic argument about job titles rather than the predictive validity of IQ. Also, general intelligence is not mathematical ability, good memory or problem solving skills.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lopez is gonna help build the Wall.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Luis, are you honestly suggesting that the only reason that many people are concerned about American industrial policy and the extraordinary decline of manufacturing employment is because they are all racists and xenophobes?

Don't strawman me.

I said that it was the only reason for ethnic nationalists. Now a lot of people may agree in the measures taken by ethnic nationalists without agreeing with the content of their rhetoric.

And it was also in the context of Mexico, where ethnic nationalism is actually not a dirty word, but something to be proud of. It has been the main motor that justified the oil nationalization, and is one of the main talking points of Lopez Obrador.

In Japan: lower levels of poverty, lower unemployment, a skilled workforce, lower crime, social cohesion, lower income inequality, higher social mobility.

According to Japan's Health Ministry statistics, as on May 2017, 16 percent of Japanese children live below the minimum standard of living. Japan has some of the worst wealth inequality and highest rates of child poverty in the developed world, according to a Unicef report released in April 2016 that ranked Japan 34th out of 41 industrialized countries.

Unlike several other modern countries, Japan has no official poverty line, making it difficult to get accurate figures on those suffering impoverished conditions. Instead Japan measures poverty based on a "minimum standard of living" calculated using median income, the OECD index and other factors differing from prefecture to prefecture. Still, it is estimated that in 2006, when measuring on an individual basis using the Employment Status Survey, that 8.2% of regular employees made little enough to be considered working poor.

Nice talking point for Ethnic Nationalists, sadly it is more fiction than reality.

Also, you need to show that protectionist policies of Japan are responsable for this, since the number of people who get direct benefits from the protectionist policies (which covers mostly agriculture) is extremely low.

In fact, the USA is rated as a more protectionist country than Japan by the Index of Economic Freedom.

They protect and incentivise the entire auto industry regardless of whether innovation eventually takes the form of internal combustion engines or electric self-driving vehicles.

Not sure what you are talking about, since Japan doesn't have a protectionist policy on the auto industry.

There are no import tariffs on cars, and left -hand-drive vehicles can run in japan without even requiring modification.

The reason why Japanese people do not buy American cars has little to do with protectionism, since there are popular foreign brands like Audi.

Companies choose winners and losers every time they launch a product or make an investment, why is it unacceptable for the state to do this in specific sectors of the economy?

Do you understand the difference between a private company doing whatever they want with their money, against a publicly elected government doing things for the personal benefit of a few while using tax money of people who will get screwed by this policy?

If we achieve close to 100% automation where the only manufacturing jobs remaining are maintaining and overseeing the robots as they work, what is your argument for not imposing steep tariffs on foreign made goods? Once we have automated solar powered clean factories that are just as productive in one country as they are in another, why would imported goods be tolerated in a country that hasn't reached full employment?

What is your argument for doing so?

You basically would be forcing for each country to build their own factories of everything, which is redundant, a waste of time and resources for protecting nothing, since with a 100% automation there are really not that many jobs to protect on those industries.

But it would be a proud statement for anyone with nationalistic tendencies, I think.

So, we would be protecting the feelings of nationalists at the cost of billions of dollars. That makes sense.

I think Japan has already achieved this to a very large extent. Germany as well.

How exactly? Have you ever lived in Japan? Because it seems to me that you think that Japan is a demi-utopic nation, which is completely absurd.

Well, if you're claiming that certain types of skilled work is not actually skilled work, then I'm not sure how to respond other than to say that it probably shouldn't be called skilled work.

I agree, unfortunately if you use a keyboard, magically you become a "skilled worker" under most legal meanings of the word.

This seems like more of a semantic argument about job titles rather than the predictive validity of IQ. Also, general intelligence is not mathematical ability, good memory or problem solving skills.

Good to know, because that is EXACTLY what the IQ test tries to measure.

Also the methodologies on how it does it (meaning, the way questions are presented, and their value as the whole of a test) do not follow any scientific methodology, and there are many different standards and measurements of so called IQ.

So it's not even standardized.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It occurs to me that those who infer that we are nothing more than sheep and promote conspiracy theories might want to question their own moulding.

I know exactly how you feel and I totally agree. I remember how I felt when some people inferred that the Russians made Americans vote for Trump by brainwashing them with YouTube videos and nasty posts on social media. I remember thinking "Wow! those Americans are real sheep". What was even more disturbing was the fact that the evil masterminds behind this were none other than Vlad and Donnie. Conspiring and colluding to conquer America and take over the world.

I'm not 100% certain what "question their own moulding" means but I'm assuming it is not home improvement advice. If it means take a good look at yourself, then I agree with the sentiment.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I remember how I felt when some people inferred that the Russians made Americans vote for Trump by brainwashing them with YouTube videos and nasty posts on social media. I remember thinking "Wow! those Americans are real sheep". What was even more disturbing was the fact that the evil masterminds behind this were none other than Vlad and Donnie. Conspiring and colluding to conquer America and take over the world.

Different set of circumstances, though.

Mexico has its problems, no doubt about that but I don't see them meddling in other countries affairs. Both have a long and unpleasant history of doing so.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't strawman me. I said that it was the only reason for ethnic nationalists.

Sorry Luis, I really don't mean to strawman you but I'm struggling to understand your point. Do you think it's legitimate for people to worry about the pace and scale of industrial decline in their country? If so, how does that concern become less legitimate if the person expressing it also happens to favour ethnic nationalism? The two seem completely unrelated. Either it's a legit concern for everyone to have (regardless of their other beliefs) or its not.

According to Japan's Health Ministry statistics, as on May 2017, 16 percent of Japanese children live below the minimum standard of living. Japan has some of the worst wealth inequality and highest rates of child poverty in the developed world, according to a Unicef report released in April 2016 that ranked Japan 34th out of 41 industrialized countries.

Is poverty lower in Japan than in the United States? Is child poverty lower in Japan than in the United States? Is income inequality lower in Japan than the United States? The answer to all three questions is a resounding yes, and that is what we are comparing here. Of course, Japan is not Norway or Iceland.

(by the way, Japan ranks extremely well on income equality. It's more equal than any of the English speaking countries (except New Zealand). Also, the UNICEF report you've cited does not actually measure overall income inequality but seems to only focus on income inequality when adjusted for people with children. It's capturing the fact that children aren't cheap, that there aren't generous welfare programs in Japan, and that there are alot of childless people with high salaries)

In fact, the USA is rated as a more protectionist country than Japan by the Index of Economic Freedom.

You seem to be wrong on this. The US scores higher on every criteria of the 'open markets' portion of the index. Are you talking about the IEF from the Heritage Foundation or are you looking at a different one?

Not sure what you are talking about, since Japan doesn't have a protectionist policy on the auto industry.

Japan obviously adheres to the rules and adopts a policy of open markets and zero tariffs because they want reciprocal treatment in foreign markets around the world. But I think it's obvious that Japan's industrial policy goes far beyond tariffs and includes things like a weak yen which benefits auto exporters, to the TEPCO bailouts to ensure cheap energy, to massive investment in state owned infrastructure like the ro-ro ports that serve the car companies, and on and on. Also, if the shaken is not a stealth subsidy to the domestic auto industry, what is it?

Do you understand the difference between a private company doing whatever they want with their money, against a publicly elected government doing things for the personal benefit of a few while using tax money of people who will get screwed by this policy?

I don't believe the people are being 'screwed'. Governments around the world invest in infrastructure and education as part of their industrial policy. But if you oppose this on ideological grounds as a libertarian, I'm not sure I can convince you otherwise.

What is your argument for doing so? You basically would be forcing for each country to build their own factories of everything, which is redundant, a waste of time and resources for protecting nothing, since with a 100% automation there are really not that many jobs to protect on those industries.

You'd create the 1 or 2 robot overseer jobs and you'd save resources on transport costs. Why would it be a waste of time and resources if the comparative advantage of large scale overseas production has now completely disappeared? It's not unreasonable to hypothesise that automation leads to less cross-border trade.

How exactly? Have you ever lived in Japan? Because it seems to me that you think that Japan is a demi-utopic nation, which is completely absurd.

I've lived here for almost all of my adult life. It's certainly not a utopia, but it does have one of the highest living standards in the world. It's also been a bit of an economic miracle in many respects, which makes it an interesting case study for other countries.

Also the methodologies on how it does it (meaning, the way questions are presented, and their value as the whole of a test) do not follow any scientific methodology, and there are many different standards and measurements of so called IQ.

If IQ is so flawed, why does it correlate so highly with life outcomes?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you think it's legitimate for people to worry about the pace and scale of industrial decline in their country?

I don't know what you mean by "legitimate", but like it or not people do worry about it, and I don't think that if you worry about it, then you are a bigot.

What I do think is that, a lot of these worries are unfounded, and most people do not have an education basic economics, so many of their worries are actually a result of ignorance, which gets exacerbated by politicians like Trump making their ethnic nationalistic talking points, which make people wonder if they are right.

*Is poverty lower in Japan than in the United States? Is child poverty lower in Japan than in the United States? Is income inequality lower in Japan than the United States? The answer to all three questions is a resounding yes, and that is what we are comparing here.*

Sadly thou, you are incorrect.

Poverty rate is increasing at an alarming rate of 1.3% in Japan, since 1985. The poverty rate increase average is 1.0% annually for all other OECD member nations. The OECD report places Japan just below U.S.A., which has a 17.3% poverty measure, statistics indicate that U.S.A. has been cutting down on poverty, by a 0.7% decrease since 1985.

As I explained earlier, income inequality doesn't really answer the question of the economic health of a country, especially if your country has a lot of billionaires and millionaires, which will increase the Gini ratio regardless of the rest of the population.

You seem to be wrong on this. The US scores higher on every criteria of the 'open markets' portion of the index. Are you talking about the IEF from the Heritage Foundation or are you looking at a different one?

You are right, I confused the IEF with other of the many index there are. The IEF actually mixes free trade and regulations in the same category, and regulations are way worse in Japan, and these get qualified as "Nontariff barriers" even thou Japanese companies have to overcome the same barriers.

Japanese Tariffs are one of the lowest of the world (with Hong Kong having the absolute lowest, by not having any tariffs), and as I said, automobiles are tariff free in Japan.

Japan's industrial policy goes far beyond tariffs and includes things like a weak yen which benefits auto exporters, to the TEPCO bailouts to ensure cheap energy, to massive investment in state owned infrastructure like the ro-ro ports that serve the car companies

The weak yen is actually a policy based on the Keynes economic model, which is also followed by the US, which believes that deflation creates a week economy, and that inflation is necessary for a strong economy.

And even thou the Bank of Japan has tried its best for decades to devaluate the yen, they really haven't had much success, and the inflation rate of Japan is still way off the desired and magical 2%.

The TEPCO bailouts haven't been good at all to ensure "cheap energy", since energy prices actually went up, and people from the TEPCO region, have to pay an extra free.

In fact, the policies of the Japanese government have done nothing but to inflate the costs of energy in Japan, and now they have to import more a more gas just to keep the country alive, since they shot down most nuclear reactors.

There is a lot of cronyism in Japan, I don't deny that, but that is different to protectionist policies, since, once again, even the local market has to overcome this cronyism barrier to be able to compete.

Also, if the shaken is not a stealth subsidy to the domestic auto industry, what is it?

I don't get your logic for this, because one of the main reasons people are just abandoning cars in Japan at an alarming rate is because of the high taxes and obligations of just owning a car.

If the idea was to help the auto industry, it seems to me like they are shooting themselves in the foot, since a lot of people just get rid of their car instead of paying the shaken.

Governments around the world invest in infrastructure and education as part of their industrial policy. But if you oppose this on ideological grounds as a libertarian, I'm not sure I can convince you otherwise.

A lot of people get screwed when you pass protectionist policies, which is what we were talking about.

Starting with consumers, which you yourself seem to not only accept as a causality of protectionist policies, but you think it is ok, even thou if you count the number of people who are loosing money against those who are keeping their non-competitive job, you see a net loss to the economy.

Not to mention that because of protectionist policies, people who work in protected industries, since they do not have to compete, they can be as ineffective as they want, and provide a bad service or product, and people will still buy, because there's literally is no alternative.

Also, the fact that people have to spend more in this single industry just to help people to not have to compete in a global market, it means that that money will not be expended somewhere else in the economy.

Protectionist policies basically stagnate the economic development of the country.

You'd create the 1 or 2 robot overseer jobs and you'd save resources on transport costs. Why would it be a waste of time and resources if the comparative advantage of large scale overseas production has now completely disappeared?

Apparently you have no clue how macroeconomics work.

Not all countries consume at the same rate, don't consume the same things, and they don't do it at the same time.

Basically each country would have to make an initial investment on many billions of dollars of factories, and expend billions of dollars in maintenance, but the actual return on investment may not make sense depending on the region, because, as I said, not everyone consumes at the same rate.

So, for example, a small country may not be able to justify the cost of building a gigantic soda factory, but they would be able to just import the soda at a fraction of the cost of what would cost them to build and maintain the factory.

So, in the end, if that was the global policy, a lot of factories wouldn't get constructed, and the availability of goods would vary a lot from country to country, making the world a worst place to live.

It's certainly not a utopia, but it does have one of the highest living standards in the world.

True, but many countries have a higher living standard than Japan, and most of those countries have wide ranging free trade policies. And Japan also does. In fact, as I said, Japan for the most part is pro free trade.

If IQ is so flawed, why does it correlate so highly with life outcomes?

Because the correlation you see there is actually the inverse. People with good outcomes tend to score higher in the IQ tests, not the other way around.

By simply having a better education system, the IQ test improves, which shows how the IQ test have little to do with some sort of inherent intelligence.

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Hi Luis,

Sadly thou, you are incorrect.

Poverty rate is increasing at an alarming rate of 1.3% in Japan, since 1985. The poverty rate increase average is 1.0% annually for all other OECD member nations. The OECD report places Japan just below U.S.A.,

How am I wrong then? The level of poverty in Japan is lower than the United States according to the latest OECD figures from 2015. Japan stands at 16.1% and the US is at 16.8. If you have better numbers I'd like to see them. Of course, if the trends you mention continue I might be proved wrong in the future, but not yet.

I'm also very curious if you acknowledge that one of the main causes of differing levels of poverty and childhood poverty in Japan vs places like Canada or the EU is that Japan does not operate a generous welfare state as these other countries do? For example, according to UNICEF in Canada, the rate of childhood poverty there would be 26% if you strip away child welfare benefits. With the benefits it drops to 14%. As a libertarian, I can only assume you are against these sorts of forced wealth redistribution programs backed by the coercive power of the state? If so, would you acknowledge that Japan would probably have a lower level of childhood poverty than many western countries in your ideal libertarian world?

income inequality doesn't really answer the question of the economic health of a country

I fully agree. I think the inequality we see today is just a consequence of productivity gains brought about by technology. I just mentioned it to clear up any confusion about the UNICEF numbers.

And even thou the Bank of Japan has tried its best for decades to devaluate the yen, they really haven't had much success, and the inflation rate of Japan is still way off the desired and magical 2%.

The weak yen policy is something that has been in place for decades, long before the bubble burst and inflation became a policy goal. The weak yen policy is first and foremost a stealth subsidy to the export sector in my opinion. It's what every exporting nation tries to do. China does this, and Germany has also achieve this in a slightly different way through joining the Eurozone.

The TEPCO bailouts haven't been good at all to ensure "cheap energy", since energy prices actually went up, and people from the TEPCO region, have to pay an extra free.

Yes, but imagine how much further they would have risen if TEPCO had been declared bankrupt and its assets were sold off to one of the global energy players like EDF.

I don't get your logic for this, because one of the main reasons people are just abandoning cars in Japan at an alarming rate is because of the high taxes and obligations of just owning a car.

I'm curious how you conclude that people are abandoning cars at an alarming rate when domestic auto sales have been increasing year on year since 2015?

A lot of people get screwed when you pass protectionist policies, which is what we were talking about.

In my opinion, the idea that any form of protectionism always leads to disaster has become a bit of a dogma in economics. Is widespread protectionism bad over the long term? Yes, I agree. But is it bad in every type of economy, in every industry, in every instance, over every time horizon? Surely not. If it were, it would be the one rule in this world without any exceptions.

Apparently you have no clue how macroeconomics work.

Not all countries consume at the same rate, don't consume the same things, and they don't do it at the same time.

I completely agree with all of the basic economic ideas you presented. The decision on where to efficiently place the factories is likely to be based on proximity to energy sources and the cost of transportation to consumers, and so on. But my larger point is that the world of automation that you propose actually paints an even bleaker future for Mexico than any of Trump's protectionist policies. Currently, Mexico's main comparative advantage with the US is an abundance of human labour willing to work for lower wages (and perhaps looser environmental regulation?) but that will be irrelevant with the rise of 100% automation.

Because the correlation you see there is actually the inverse. People with good outcomes tend to score higher in the IQ tests, not the other way around.

By simply having a better education system, the IQ test improves, which shows how the IQ test have little to do with some sort of inherent intelligence.

I guess I can only recommend that you have a closer look at the literature because these studies are very carefully constructed to control for the variables you mention, and they do not show what you are claiming.

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He's a populist too but this time, on the left side

He got voted with a bigger mandate with his country than Trump with his country

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The level of poverty in Japan is lower than the United States according to the latest OECD figures from 2015. Japan stands at 16.1% and the US is at 16.8.

Barely, and the trend points to a reversal soon enough. With these kind of numbers, talking about how Japan has "less poverty", while "technically true", since its basically the same level, doesn't look too good, even more when you know how poverty in the US is.

would you acknowledge that Japan would probably have a lower level of childhood poverty than many western countries in your ideal libertarian world?

First, the poverty rate in general isn't affected that much by child poverty, specially when you have a big working poor population.

Second, there ARE child benefits in Japan, which is higher than many of those in many European Unions, that have a lower child poverty rate.

Nice try to make a correlation that would prove your preconceptions, but in the first place, I'm not a hard-core anarcho-capitalist, or some hardline libertarian, I'm simply skeptical of the supposed benefits of what governments do, specially when you take into account the unintended consequences of their actions, and how trying to revert any of those policies, even if they are causing more harm than good, can be nearly imposible.

Let me put it this way, if there is a proven program that does show having a good "return on investment", and doesn't really have negative unintended consequences, I'm not against it... problem is, most times it just doesn't work like that.

The weak yen policy is first and foremost a stealth subsidy to the export sector in my opinion. It's what every exporting nation tries to do.

Let me put it this way, even if that was the case, it make no economic sense.

Japan is a export economy... but it is also a very strong import economy, which means that if you have a weak currency, it will cost you way more to import things, erasing any "benefit" you might have had with the exports.

Not to mention that, you don't require to have a week currency to sell cheap, you only need a cheap price to sell cheap. When there is inflation (meaning, when the currency is loosing value) prices go up, so if exports maintain the same prices, that is equivalent to just lowering them when there is no inflation.

but imagine how much further they would have risen if TEPCO had been declared bankrupt and its assets were sold off

I actually think it would have been better. Maybe for the first year of something like that it would have been way higher, but after no so long prices would have actually gone lower than they are today.

The way the Japanese government responded to this crisis has been terrible, and not being able to even remove the "no-entry zones" even when radiation is low enough for people to be able to live without problems, shows just how ill-advised their whole policy has been.

I'm curious how you conclude that people are abandoning cars at an alarming rate when domestic auto sales have been increasing year on year since 2015?

You do know that the increase is mainly in the "Used car" sector, right?

And as I said, a lot of people get rid of their car when they have to do the shaken... and then some of them buy a used car, because it is cheaper than doing the shaken.

Not to say that 3 years out of the last decades going slightly up, against the trend says nothing on the state of the industry.

But is it bad in every type of economy, in every industry, in every instance, over every time horizon? Surely not. If it were, it would be the one rule in this world without any exceptions.

That's really not an argument. You are basically saying that since "there are no absolutes in this world, surely not ALL protectionism can possibly be wrong".

Thing is, on a small scale, it may not seem like that, but on a bigger scale, when you take all the variables into account, it kind of is.

Because, like it or not, if protectionism is contrary to what the market wants, then it's bad for the economy.

And if you have a protectionist policy that aligns with what the market wants... then is useless, because people were going to buy local either way, but even here you screw some consumers who want an alternative, or are not part of the local trend.

Currently, Mexico's main comparative advantage with the US is an abundance of human labour willing to work for lower wages (and perhaps looser environmental regulation?) but that will be irrelevant with the rise of 100% automation.

And I don't see a problem with that. I don't care which country has an "advantage" on an specific sector, because I don't believe that it matters.

In a truly global economy, it shouldn't matter these kind of things, because in a global economy it is not so much countries competing with each other, but people. Problem is that we are actually in a transition period, which is why things like free trade disrupt some of the local trade, and is seen as a bad thing for those who are affected by it.

But the alternative makes no sense. Implementing protectionist ideas is just going to let you maintain your status quo for a while, but in the end, unless you want to be an isolationist, the barrieres are going to have to go down.

In the short term, yes, people are going to see negative effects, and it can be really hard and really easy to oppose if you are in the receiving side. But in the long term, free trade has been proven to be the best policy for everyone.

I guess I can only recommend that you have a closer look at the literature because these studies are very carefully constructed to control for the variables you mention, and they do not show what you are claiming.

I don't think you understand where I'm coming from.

I'm not saying that the IQ test is 100% useless, I'm saying that it is very flawed, and that a lot of people give it way too much credit.

If you have an IQ test on subjects with roughly the same economic status, and the same social situation, then it may help you to discover some people who have higher intelligence in some aspects, like memory, mathematical ability and pattern recognition, which at the same time may be an indicator of general intelligence.

But when you compare between test with subjects with very different backgrounds, the test starts to make less and less sense, and even less sense if you make comparisons between different types of tests.

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