November 3rd, 2008


Get finished with your election already

I need to recalculate the future. Right now, it seems almost certain that the "Fair trade, not free trade" party will have both the White House and a landslide majority in Congress. The question is whether they will have a filibuster-busting majority in the Senate. Fewer places are up for grabs there, but theoretically it could happen. In that case there would be nothing but a fast track between the trade unions and protectionist laws, similar to the Smoot-Hawley* Tariff Act, which exemplified the beginning trade war that turned the Great Stockmarket Crash into the Great Depression. (It is a bit unfair to single out Smoot-Hawley, as it was only one of many. Death by a thousand cuts.)

What we can with a little confidence still hope is that the world will retaliate only by blocking US exports, not with generic unilateral tariffs. Decoupling the US from the global economy would still be painful for both sides, but not nearly as painful as a complete meltdown. Unfortunately, the EU - which would be the key player after the US - does have a spotty record on free trade. It tends to prefer bilateral deals over global agreements, and fanatically defends its agriculture. Still, if it merely maintains status quo except for reacting to new US legislation, we should be OK.

I will also remind you that nearly 96% of the world's population lives outside the United States. What this world cares about is mostly America's money and guns. If those disappear from the world, you will not be very interesting anymore.

(*Ironically, Smoot and Hawley were both Republicans.)


November 3 and my voice is already used up. Well, I can talk, but my voice is rough and unfamiliar. This confuses the speech recognition software too. It doesn't hurt unless I try to force myself, and hopefully it will grow back. But I guess my novel isn't going to progress as fast anymore.

I guess it is the cost of being a hermit and almost never talk in everyday life. It is a price I am willing to pay. I no longer know why people would even want to talk to each other all the time. I remember they do. A lot. Thousands if not tens of thousands of words a day. But I have forgotten what for.