This is actually good news: Measurements show the volume of global trade has been falling since the start of 2016, global consumption and investment are slowing, and real incomes have stopped rising.
“Why the heck is this good news, Doug?” It’s good news because of what articles like this are saying in code and between the lines. (Anyone who understands these things better, please kick my ass if I’m misreading things, or if you see flaws in the article itself).
It’s good news if you believe in Creation and Trade as essential to our quality of life — if you think we all benefit where there are more people that are more free to be making/exchanging more things. Growth through inclusivity and innovation.
It’s good news because it says there’s something wrong with the current policies and current ways we’re exploiting resources. (That’s not “news” to “developing nations” and most African countries, btw. We’re just catching up.)
We are not getting the results we want.
Whether it’s health care, transportation, food, or electricity… we are not getting the goods and services we want, especially not at the rising cost (financial, environmental, social).
We’re not even satisfied with the way we measure and describe the way trade and economics works. We don’t even believe our policy makers understand how trade and economies work.
We shouldn’t even trust our own assumptions anymore. We need to move beyond capitalism, communism, anarchism, libertarianism and the like. We should apply the same skepticism to Bernanke and Piketty and Krugman that we throw at Kanye and Kant.
And this is a worldwide sentiment. Nobody wants the old model of full speed exploitation of low-cost labor and low-cost natural resources — not even China wants that model anymore, and they refined it to perfection.
We’re not satisfied with the way the system is affecting our relationships with our own bodies, our families, our neighbors, and people we’ve never met all across the globe.
Why should countries with billions of dollars worth of resources have populations that live on less than a few dollars per day? And why do we spend billions of dollars fighting amongst ourselves, when all we want is to be able to fairly work and trade with one another?
Let’s take trade back to its roots. Trade is about trust and risk and collaboration. Trade is organic. Atoms trade electrons. Animals trade favors. Humans trade everything.
I guess this is sounding like a call for Fair Trade Ferengi? (Someone help me launch that meme).