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Tariffs Aren’t a Terrible Idea—If They’re About Well-Being of People Not Corporations

Tariffs Aren’t a Terrible Idea—If They’re About Well-Being of People Not Corporations

David Korten

Those who pay attention to trade and economics saw President Trump’s imposition of new tariffs—25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum—as just one more bad policy decision by an administration in disarray. Trump may, however, have done us all the favor of reopening a discussion of tariffs, trade, and the competing interests of communities and corporations.

At last ! - some informed common sense on the issue of ‘free trade’(for corporations) and tariffs - in line with my own thinking.

Yanis Varoufakis, David Korten, Herman Daly… the list is growing of economists who grasp the situation.

This is a race now against time.

See this newly in from France, where insects and birds are in “catastrophic decline”, probably from the extensive use of pesticides on our monoculture crops, another hair brained idea from the hare-brained human beings in charge of things these days.

‘Catastrophe’ as France’s bird population collapses due to pesticides


I’m pretty happy that we bought our appliances for our kitchen remodel before Trump announced the steel tariffs, because the one item we didn’t buy, a stainless steel sink, just went up 22% in a week’s time. In a world where corporations aren’t writing a global corporate constitution, tariffs may be a good thing, but the reality is they are not good for the people’s pocketbooks in the current economy. This is going to wreak havoc with the Construction industry. The price of Trump’s wall just increased by approx. 25%, overall housing prices will increase as well. It will affect the automotive industry, and the food industry as well–raising prices across the board with no offsetting program to reconstitute an industrial base–sustainably or otherwise. This tariff is all about redistributing wealth to corporations and their owners, and has little to nothing to do with reorganizing our economy so it works for human beings across the board.


Just have to jump in here again - this article is so good - so timely.

I have David Korten’s book, a report to the Club of Rome in fact,
Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth by David C. Korten

As usual, progressives are more taken with news of the minute here on Common Dreams, which is normal, so I’ll accept that (as if I had a choice !)

But when more come around to this article by a first rate AND PROGRESSIVE economist, who does the profession proud, I want to make sure we address these issues brought up here, which in the ‘on topic’ milieu are about tariffs, but in the longer term view, are about a much more comprehensive outlook, which I know David Korten and now Yanis Varoufakis share and understand.

Without a healthy and fully functional world ocean and biosphere, all purely economic efforts to remediate the existential crisis we all now face are utterly futile - Greek Tragedy to the MAX - Suicide in fact, at a planetary scale - Murder if one chooses to see it that way - it makes little difference.

We wake up or we die.

This is just in from Europe - and as I write this I have Rachel Carson’s seminal treatise Silent Spring beside me. In fact I have all four of her books, but Silent Spring was THE CALL to ACTION - JFK knew of it and of Rachel Carson, which is why we have an Environmental Protection Agency, now, of course, ‘captured’ by the same profit oriented culture which is overseeing our extirpation.

Here is the Europe news on biodiversity crash, predicted by Rachel Carson so long ago.

Europe faces ‘biodiversity oblivion’ after collapse in French birds, experts warn

Knowledge really is power, which is why the Military Industrial Complex funds all research, directly or indirectly.

This must change - I think the National Academy of the Sciences in the United States and the Royal Society in Great Britain absolutely need to be given major authority and power - the sooner the better.

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So it looks like the global economic justice movement, which was derogatorily called “anti globalization”, really ARE anti-trade-between nations and protectionist-isolationists now…

Has it occurred to Mr. Korten that there is more to the world’s economy and trade between people in different nations than big corporations outsourcing stuff? Solar panels are largely made by a large number of relatively small Chinese manufacturers - and their buyers are a mostly small solar contractors. The components for my home EV projects are all come from China, and are either unaffordable or not available at any price from a US source - especially to a garage-tinkering little schmuck like myself.

It’s the corporation itself that must be amended to rein in its ability to commit anonymous destruction. Barring that, abolition.

The “pro-business” democrats say that products made by American workers are “unaffordable”.