Irish Programme for Economic Nationalism
Economic Nationalism is an old idea that has become a new idea whose time has come for Ireland, but very few seem to know quite where it came from and what specifically it is.
Economic Nationalism is not based on a specific economic model nor is it based on any academic or a philosophical theory. No pompous economist can lay claim to it and that’s not fashionable but it is very practical. Economic Nationalism’s roots are deep and organic; people based and firmly built on the flexibility of a diverse wealth of evolving experiences and built on many successful experiences.
Those outcomes have the common thread of accumulated experience that evolved over time. They evolved into a vast body of practical knowledge that can lead to successful local and national growth. Its practical common sense results often started as an accident or trial and error rather than detached remote academic theory.
Weakness of Economic Theories
Theorists are always far removed from individual, local and the needs of the people or the nation in general. They are therefore prone to divisiveness and inbuilt failure. Economic Nationalism differs entirely from economies based on academic theories such as:
- Global free trade based on the theories of David Ricardo (1772-1823). His “laissez-fairedoctrines were typified by his ‘Iron Law of Wages’ which stated that all attempts to improve the real income of workers were futile and that wages perforce remained near the subsistence level” His theory was used to justify the “Irish Holocaust” of 1845/52.
- The other extreme of economic theory is Communism, based on the theoretical writings of Karl Marx. The implementation of whose political and economic theory resulted on the collapse of the Soviet Union and most of worldwide communism. It is a failed system that has always been held together with oppressive centralised political control and totalitarian oppression. Present day examples are North Korea and China. The new liberal agenda of the West is trying to bring it in through the back door now with devastating results.
- Its softer expression is the democratic socialism of Scandinavian countries whose systems of excessive taxation renders the populace into a state of virtual tax slavery in return for the Nanny States ‘net’ of ‘benefits’ that offer slavery dressed up as security. This is a form of National Socialism (Nazism) in action. The Scandinavians will scream to high heavens angrily denying this but their protestations and screams don’t change the facts. This system requires incessant government and media propaganda to keep the people subservient to its enslavement of them.
- Capitalism is based on private or corporate ownership of the means of production and wealth creation operating for profit including capital accumulation, competitive markets and a price system. On its plus side it includes private property ownership. It also includes the voluntary exchange of waged labour. On its negative side it doesn’t respect and short changes the real creators of wealth its employees.
- Capitalism has now largely evolved into, or has been replaced by a monopolistic Globalist system of ‘Corporate Feudalism’ consisting of a small number of multinational monoliths that are establishing an ever growing stranglehold on most of the world’s governments with no regard for people, resources or a nations needs. That is where we are now.
Economic Nationalism’s Benefits
Economic Nationalism is a means of re-balancing the nation’s trade deficit by developing shared wealth creation structures such as Co-Op’s for the common benefit. It also invests in infrastructure rather than accumulating wealth for its own sake. These principles offer the greatest opportunity for both local and national development. Infrastructure building is a far greater expression of a nation’s true wealth than mountains of silver and gold. Because of its dogma free flexibility Economic Nationalism can be moulded and modified to suit specific rural, urban and national requirement.
Soul of the Nation
To be fully embraced by the people Economic Nationalism must incorporate the spiritual, historical and social values of the nation’s people for without them it has no cohesion or meaning. It is best defined as a variety of tried and tested economic activities that prioritize the common interests of the nation and its people above all external considerations. Its goal is to be nationally and individually sovereign and free while enriching and empowering the nation for the common good.
It recognises the people as the living embodiment of the nation. With that in mind it prioritises rural economic development and employment creation, community stability and national wealth. This necessitates the removal of bureaucratic and financial strangleholds on farmers, fishermen and small to medium sized indigenous service and manufacturing business. The community grows with infrastructural investment programmes designed to create, attract and maximise productive economic activity within the community and the nation. Indigenous industry and production is always the true expression of the wealth of the nation. The Co-Op is an excellent expression of this as in Part 3.
Basically, Economic Nationalism strives to make the national economy as strong and independent as possible by recognising that the people and their industry are the true expressions of the nation’s wealth. Therefore they must not to be exploited by:
- excessive taxation,
- banking short practices and
- strangling bureaucracy
They must instead be encouraged and rewarded to achieve greater endeavours for the mutual benefit of the community and the nation. With Economic Nationalism the state becomes the servant of the people and the nation and not the other way around as it presently operates.
Economic Nationalism is pragmatically based on the foundation of wealth creation from existing resources and conditions for development and growth with prevailing current and future needs in mind.
It’s adherence to pragmatism separates economic nationalism from other economic models based on “theories”. It succeeds because mercantilism is at its heart and is the life blood of economic nationalism. To understand economic nationalism you must understanding mercantilism.
It is often mistaken for protectionism which is passive while mercantilism is proactive.
- Protectionists support and protect local producers and the domestic markets from foreign imports by imposing high tariffs (taxes) on competing imports.
- While still imposing high tariffs to limit foreign competition, mercantilism expands the domestic economy and proactively encourages exports to international markets.
Instead of hoarding gold mercantilism uses it as a driving component of economic nationalism. Gold is linked to mercantilism in the popular imagination because mercantile policies generate trade surpluses. Historically, gold or silver was physically shipped from one country to another to balance the books. If for example Ireland sold France 100 sheep but bought only 50 sheep worth of goods, France would pay Ireland for the other 50 sheep with gold. If this goes on for a decade Ireland will then accumulate a “hoard” of gold.
Rather than accumulating gold the Irish Mercantilists would expand their flocks of sheep, increase their value and create more employment and adding value by building a sheep processing industry. Historically we know this works because mercantilists have shown us their system working.
Antoine de Montchrestien, the godfather of French mercantilism, wrote: “…it is not the abundance of gold and silver…. which makes states opulent… it is the supply of things necessary for life and suitable for clothing…”
To the Mercantilists acquiring gold is of secondary importance. Increasing domestic industrial production, employment and exports to enrich and empower the nation is their goal. Mercantile economics is employed by countries for the sole purpose of benefiting their people and their economies.
Mercantilism is often wrongly confused with colonialism. For clarification let us turn to history. Britain and the America both pursued mercantile policies during the 19th century but then only the British pursued a policy of colonialism and empire. As a result mercantilism and colonialism were linked together. However during that period America remained fairly isolationist.
Both economic nationalism and mercantilism evolved organically and generally in tandem. No academic theorist can say: “I created mercantilism”. Like economic nationalism and together with it, mercantilism evolved out of policies and practices that worked over hundreds of years.
The Wisdom of Experience
During the Seventeenth Century intellectuals finally begin distilling the lessons of economic statecraft into a set of coherent principles. Only in the Nineteenth Century when man’s arrogance clouded his mind to the wisdom of experience were radical alternative systems like global free trade and communism created.
Liberal economists incorrectly suggest that mercantilism is a zero-sum economic model, meaning that mercantilists believe that when one country gains economically another must lose. This is based on the assumption of poverty consciousness that the economic pie is only so big. Liberal economists incorrectly assume that when two countries trade freely with each other, one of them loses so they again conclude incorrectly that mercantilism must be wrong. I have a problem with those who assume because it attempts to make an ass of u and me (ass u me).
Money and Power
The assumers fail to differentiate between economic components and power components. Mercantilism’s political components are about economics and about the maintenance of international stability and the prosperity of their trading partners. The economically impoverished are poor trading partners and tend to be volatile and politically unstable. Economic mercantilism may not be zero sum but power based politics are. Simply put, the more powerful your rival becomes the less powerful you become relative to them. When one country gains power another one loses and sooner or later that leads to reactionary instability. Power politics is therefore ‘zero sum’ and in the long term is bad for trade.
For example, let’s say that America trades with China and America’s economy grows 1% per year while China’s economy grows an extra 4% per year. Both countries benefit economically in the short term so liberal economists who choose only to see today’s balance sheet are happy with this. However, mercantilists say this disproportionately imbalanced trade is bad because China gains much more than America and if this continues China will eventually outperform America. America is therefore relatively weakened by China’s growing strength which weakens and endangers America’s interests both economically and politically. Is that not what has been happening?
Mercantilism welcomes free trade providing no manipulation is involved but it invariably is.
China sells its products much cheaper than their American counterparts and much cheaper than their already lower production costs. To achieve this, China practices predatory trading via currency manipulation, wage suppression, export subsidies. As a result Chinese imports out-compete American products. As a result competing American producers of goods are forced to either relocate offshore or close down. As a result of Chinas manipulation, is America’s “free market” really free? The answer has to be a resounding ‘No’.
Despite outward appearances American companies are not competing in ‘a free market’ with their Chinese counterparts. Those companies are individually competing with the collective might of the Chinese government who intentionally crushes them with its monolithic fist. In today’s version of the “free market” countries such as China unashamedly manipulates the markets in support of their own businesses. That is the antithesis of mercantilism.
Mercantilism differs from the liberal economic model because it focuses on the relative balance of gains or losses in relation to power and wealth creation. That’s why mercantilists and economic nationalists reject the simplistic idea of asymmetrical trade so beloved of globalists. But then globalists have an agenda. Such deals undermine the nation’s power by unduly benefiting its competitor who are not working by the same set of rules.
Domestic and international markets differ considerably. Mercantilists recognize this whereas ‘free market’ proponents don’t. For example, during the Industrial Revolution with relatively free domestic markets people traded freely within Britain. However British mercantile trade policies imposed a 50% tariff on manufactured imports. At the same time they made it a crime to export technology or machinery to rival nations. During this time Irish trade was completely and ruthlessly suppressed by the British to the extent that Ireland was impoverished.
Let us clarify our definition of mercantilism by explaining its 2 main goals:
- To make the nation as rich as possible.
- To make the nation as powerful as possible.
Let us now clarify further.
Goal Number 1
This is pretty simple to achieve when combined with the principles of economic nationalism. Using those principles mercantilists endeavour to make the economy as big and as technologically advanced as possible. To do so, they simply maximize the amount and the efficiency of economic activity with emphasis on advanced technology and industry operating within the nation’s borders.
This often involves:
- Imposing high taxes on (manufactured) competing value-added imports
- Imposing high taxes on raw material exports
- Limiting import taxes on raw materials and non-competing products
- Limiting taxes and supporting value-added exports
- Seeking new export markets for advanced high cost products in exchange for low cost raw materials.
- Investing in productivity-boosting infrastructure to improve the economy’s efficiency such as improved road construction, energy creation, ports, airports and internet infrastructure.
Mercantilism ideally results in the nation
- exporting advanced high value manufactured products
- restricting imports to low cost raw materials that are not available at home
- influencing other markets to expand their demand for its advanced products
Goal Number 2
To protect their position of power mercantilists include:
- Acquiring national monopolies in specific resources where for example Ireland could benefit greatly by aggressively expanding its Irish Whiskey market where we are supplying only 4% of the current world market demand with new export markets constantly opening. Thousands of jobs and unimaginable wealth could be created in this way for Ireland. The Irish Whiskey industry should expand by creating multiple independent boutique distilleries and emulate the French wine industry’s quality and marketing strategies. This is explained in detail in Part 3.
- Restricting foreign ownership or control of domestic companies and resources to preserve our control of native businesses. We must get rid of the EU straight jacket to do that.
- Pursuing exclusive trade deals with new markets where you can trade with me but not my rival. Again the EU prevents this.
A mercantile trade regime can easily be created by a country exporting exclusively national produce and advanced high cost products while encouraging low cost raw material imports. It then becomes a working expression of economic nationalism.
This process stimulates and expands the nation’s production leading to full employment and wealth creation resulting in a possible labour shortage. This in turn stimulates a powerful incentive to invest in advanced mechanised technology rather than importing workers. This model creates and promotes sustainable long term economic growth and national resurgence. Long term sustainable economic growth is developed by creating and expanding exclusive produce and advanced technology exports contrary to what you may have learned in college.
High End Industry
Mercantilism maintains its trading advantage over its partners which remain relatively less competitive. High end industry is concentrated in the mercantile nations while raw materials and resource extraction is relegated to its trading partners. The result is a dependency relationship which increases the relative power and wealth of the mercantile nation. For long term sustainability this trade relationship must not be exploitive as that would damage the market for exports.
An excellent example of this from the past was the trade between Britain and colonial America. The colonies imported everything from tools to tea to firearms from Britain which left them hopelessly dependant on Britain who by comparison was in a relatively strong position at the beginning of the revolution. Only with help from Britain’s rivals were the colonists able to overcome their disadvantage and raise and sustain a viable army. The American Revolution was created by British exploitive greed.
Mercantile Economic Nationalism
Let’s look at how our goal of mercantile economic nationalism works. To do that let us go on an imaginary journey and visualize this with an example that explains it best, a fable if you like.
Once upon a time there was a country out in the Atlantic called Hibrasil and maybe there still is. There isn’t anything particularly special about it, but it does have a lot of sheep.
Right now Hibrasil trades freely with Atlantis its neighbouring island in the Atlantic with whom it trades wool in exchange for woollen cloth and clothing and Atlantis’s famous woollen sweaters. In winter it gets cold in Hibrasil and its people love Atlantian woven cloth and particularly its beautiful warm sweaters.
A liberal economist would say that this trade setup is ideal since both parties are trading freely and both are benefiting. However King Mannan of Hibrasil doesn’t care what economists have to say: he looks at Atlantis and its King Poseidon with envy.
“Why should they have all the advanced textile mills” he asks, and why should they have all the wealth and live a luxurious urban lifestyle while my people live in mud cabins and walk the hills guarding sheep?”
In reply an urgent voice whispered in Mannan’s inner ear saying, “The sheep are worth their weight in gold if only you knew what to do with them.” The voice then presented King Mannan with a plan of action.
To fulfil this plan Mannan imposed a 50% export tax on wool and another on imported fabrics and sweaters. This not only made it lucrative to set up his own textile mills in Hibrasil but Mannan has also been prompted to reinvest these taxes in Hibrasil. Mannan invests in woollen mills, built roads, ships and improved the main seaport to get Hibrasil’s textiles to market easier. He also hired the best woollen weavers and tailors from Atlantis and other places to teach the people of Hibrasil how to weave and make quality
Hibrasil soon had its own thriving weaving industry which benefited from cheap domestic wool and a growing new urban industrial population that came with it. At the same time, Atlantis’s weaving industry was dying out since Hibrasil’s wool was now too expensive due to export taxes.
Eventually Hibrasil replaced Atlantis as the weaving and economic capital of the Atlantic exporting its cloth and clothing far and wide. Hibrasil steadily grew more prosperous and more powerful relative to Atlantis which was now steady in decline.
Encouraged by the success of its new weaving industry and export trade King Mannan decided to employ similar tactics with other industries such as sheep’s cheese, smoked salmon and Hibrasil’s unique whiskey, gin and crafts.
Hibrasil now imported only raw materials or exotic produce not domestically available while exporting only advanced refined products.
This resulted in considerable benefits for Hibrasil:
- It ensured that Hibrasil’s economy was now diverse, since it no longer depended exclusively on wool exports but it was now refining and weaving the wool as well as making garments and producing other products for export.
- Hibrasil’s economy grew much bigger than it could otherwise have because it was now producing goods for both itself and for export. This ensured everyone had jobs, and that most of those jobs were in (manufacturing) value-added industries. Weaving and garment making is more lucrative than shepherding.
- Hibrasil was no longer dependant on Atlantis for its sweaters and was now prosperous and able to act independently.
That’s how mercantilism and economic nationalism operates. This example may seem contrived, but it’s not. This is exactly what England did to Flanders at the beginning of the reign of King Edward III (1327-1377) and continued until Tudor times. England played the role of Hibrasil. Flanders played the role of Atlantis.
Economic Nationalism Working Historically
Does economic nationalism work? This question is often linked to a second one: how has economic nationalism affected trade in the world historically?
- Economic nationalism is the tried and proven historical system for a nation to become rich.
- It concentrated and stimulates power in mercantile nations as opposed to free trading nations.
History provides us with lots of great examples from many different times and places, chief among them being Venice, Great Britain, and China. The context of how those mercantile nations got rich requires a time consuming historical study which is beyond the scope of this presentation. Here is a thumbnail synopsis.
1. Venice & the Advent of Mercantilism
Medieval Venice pioneered the mercantile system by aggressively pursuing national monopolies in the spice and pilgrim trades and by cultivating economic independence via import bans. Venice imported only raw materials and made everything it needed. Because of these policies Venice remained one of Europe’s richest cities for nearly 500 years (c. 1200-1700).
2. Great Britain & Economic Nationalism
Historians and economists wrongly claim that Britain was the home of free trade and this economic freedom led to the Industrial Revolution. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality Britain was Europe’s most ardent mercantilist nation: it imposed 50% tariffs on manufactured imports, banned foreign companies from its exploitive Empire and made it a criminal offense to export technology and machinery. Consequently early Victorian Britain achieved the highest expression of economic nationalism. As a result Britain became the richest nation on Earth ushering in the modern era and conquering a quarter of the planet all driven by its dynamic economy and excessive power hungry exploitation and greed.
3. China & the Canton System
China evolved its mercantile trade system completely separately from that of Europe. The Canton System (1757–1842) served as Chinas means of controlling trade with the West from within by focusing all trade on the southern port of Canton which spoke to its robustness. The world was hungry for Chinese silk.
The Test of Time
The test of time is the greatest test of anything: the longer it lasts the more useful it becomes. Economic nationalism embracing the mercantile paradigm lasted for centuries.
- Venice practiced it for 500 years from the 1200’s.
- Britain continued with it from the 1300’s until the 1840’s.
- It evolved independently, organically and successfully in both in Europe and East Asia.
These three very different examples separated by thousands of miles and hundreds of years became prosperous by combining and implementing mercantile policies together with economic nationalism. The history of mercantilism combined with economic nationalism is one of outstanding stability and success. It was also immune to today’s contrived ‘boom and bust’ economic madness.
Economic Nationalism and Irelands Economy
Ireland’s EU dictated open trade policy does the opposite of what mercantilism and economic nationalist recommend thereby destroying Ireland’s wealth producing native industries and its middle class. The EU destroyed our sugar industry and the idiotic government destroyed the ‘peat moss’ industry. Destruction of such industries increases our level of imports. Instead of supporting native industry and balancing the books Ireland runs a chronic and catastrophic trade deficit which has left it dependent on fickle multinationals and the destructive and all consuming stranglehold of the EU.
Aside from the fact that Ireland is running a deficit in native advanced products, it is importing an unnecessarily surplus of both raw and manufactured materials. We are both a net exporter of unrefined products and a net importer of manufactured goods. The result is idiotic suicidal economics. Companies that were previously manufacturers are now simply importers. It has become more cost effective to import products manufactured elsewhere resulting in job losses and economic damage.
The basics are as follows:
An Irish company hires a foreign company to manufacture products and imports them into Ireland. The same applies to services. When you call an Irish company you may be connected to a foreign call service. This economic model results in trade deficits and job losses in Ireland.
Government policy makes it cheaper for companies to have their products made in a foreign country. Consumers get cheaper goods. In the short term it appears to be a ‘win win’ situation but in the long run it undermines the nation’s economy and causes high unemployment resulting in emigration, high income inequality, and the loss of technical capability.
Although imported products are nominally cheaper, the benefits are offset by job losses and lower wages because of more competition in the labour market. Cheaper imports aren’t really cheaper from the nation’s perspective. In real terms the cost of goods (price v’s earning) has actually increased substantially.
Although average discretionary spending which is spending on wants, as opposed to needs, like food, clothing median spending declined proportionally but the cost of housing mushroomed out of all proportions. This means most people especially the younger generation got shafted. New Zealand banned the foreign purchase of houses and apartments to stop its inflationary effect on house prices. The EU says ‘no, you can’t do that’.
Economic Nationalism to Fix Ireland’s Economy
Economic nationalism would transform Ireland’s economy by making it prohibitively expensive to relocate production abroad. Those products would then be manufactured here and create jobs for Irish people. Economies grow and prosper when we produce more and not when we consume more. Stimulating consumption via cheap imports creates a bubble that inevitably bursts. We need economic policies grounded in reality and in the national interest. The EU stands firmly in the way of this.
Economic nationalism would make Ireland more powerful and prosperous. Prosperity is bigger than economics; it’s about people and politics too. Ireland is a prime example of why free trade and open economies don’t always work. Our open economy has left us vulnerable to the devastating experiences of boom and bust. Economic nationalism is the most necessary key to reviving Ireland’s native economy and enriching the nation. Others components are reducing taxes, stimulating native manufacturing, controlling imports and thus reducing our debt burden. The tax regime I propose in Part 5 is a key component for achieving this.
Economic Nationalism in a Globalist World
Donald Trump despite all his detractors who never achieved anything but wars, has shown people that globalization and ‘free for all trade’ can be reversed and there is a future for sovereign nation states politically and economically. Venice proved that size doesn’t matter.
Despite the propaganda, globalization is not the historical norm nor is it a viable model for us to follow. The present Irish regimes blind adherence to globalist policies will impoverish and completely destroy our identity and viability as a nation unless it is checked and reversed. Economic nationalism is nothing more than a retrenchment to historical norms. History always repeats itself. Let us create a paradigm shift and embrace independent political and economic nationalism based policies that work and make Ireland the proud and prosperous nation it is capable of becoming.