Monday, February 02, 2009

Socialist=Protectionist=Facist or Whatever

Notwithstanding the complete (although very amusing) madness this thread has descended into, I suppose I should follow Tom's lead and say something serious on the subject of whether this whole BNP=Left Wing madness:

If the BNP were to announce as part of their policy programme and increase in the road maintenance budget, road maintenance would not suddenly become a facist policy. I think the same can be applied to many of the left wing policys that have found their way into the BNP stable.

Since Iain also mentions centralised command and control, trade tariffs and state owned businesses, I feel I should address this too. There are a couple of views coming to the fore, one inaccurately portraying the role of protectionism in the great depression the other associating protectionism with facism. As one of Labour's few advocates of protectionism I feel I should write a few words in it's defence.

As I often like pointing out average tarriffs in the US in 1875 the US's average tariffs were around 40-50%, they were 44% in 1913, 37% in 1925. The Smoot-Hawley tariff raised them to 48% which although higher is not outside of historical levels. The role of protectionism in the great depression has been seriously overstated.

On the idea that protectionism=facism, I reject it completely. Yes, protectionist policies can be used dangerously but that applies to any number of policy tools available to the government. There are plenty of examples where strategic use of protectionism has worked wonders in improving the livelihoods of a ordinary people, anyone who thinks that's not a whacking great positive needs their head examining.

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