Hammer Time: Protectionism Uber Alles?

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

I love stability. Give me a world where folks can put forth a solid effort in their work and not worry about their future, and I’ll gladly join it with membership in hand. But then with too much stability also comes mediocrity. In times of yore, a lot of folks could simply get by with offering products and services that were less than world class. To put it kindly, they sold crap. But they also benefited from a playing field where the strongest and fiercest were kept far from the action and their kids inevitably got the education needed to make the laggard company successful. Auto Companies in South Korea, Japan and now China have benefited from protectionist policies that offered different degrees of medium-term stability and long-term learning for their once weak automakers. Should we follow suit?

I don’t know. I do believe that the current system we have now stacks the cards against the domestic automakers and encourages them to produce their products overseas. For those of you who believe that this is the only function that’s exported, dream on. China is literally building an exceptionally large market by educating their population and stealing technology whenever possible. The South Koreans throw in a very long line of trade barriers and restrictions that have made foreign competition very minimal in their market. Who did they learn that from?

Primarily from the Japanese. And nearly every country and economic union have policies that intentionally regulate foreign competition. Throw in the fact that a lot of Volkswagen’s (and Daimler’s) success is determined by being the in-house favorite in several developing countries, and you end up with a ‘myth’ of truly open markets. Given our untenable deficits and high unemployment, I repeat: is it time for us to follow suit?

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

More by Steven Lang

Join the conversation
2 of 43 comments
  • Greg Locock Greg Locock on Oct 15, 2009

    Won't the continual and ongoing devaluation of the dollar eventually solve this ? Importing a car will become more expensive, and overseas labor will become more expensive compared with domestic labor and production.

  • Morea Morea on Oct 15, 2009
    jmo : Morea, I was asked to name one. And so you did. Then you over reached by saying "Many...".
  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.