One of the questions that is often asked is, “What is the difference between a political economist and an economist?” Great question! And the answer is, a political economist takes into consideration the power relationships inherent in politics that can skew pure economic relationships. A good follow-up question is then, “Can you provide an example?” As a card-carrying (or more accurately, a diploma-carrying) political economist, my natural go-to example is my thesis, but let’s assume, purely hypothetically, that the world isn’t captivated by my thesis. So what other example might there be?
My colleague Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse has been writing about real-world, non-academic international political economy for some time. And he has some theories that — gosh darn it! — make more sense than a most I’ve read from lofty academics. The example examined in this post refers to Sundance’s analysis of Tom Donahue’s U.S. Chamber of Commerce (CoC), which is far more committed to globalism than any form of U.S. nationalism that its name might suggest or that people unfamiliar with the ways of Donahue and the CoC might assume. Sundance has multiple theories, observations, and insights that — because they are based in complex reality rather than academic abstraction — have caught my attention.
The CoC is in the process of being “unmasked,” as it is forced by the nationalist policy agenda of DJT to reveal it’s true economic incentives. Specifically, the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) has put the globalist CoC into the position of supporting Mexico and Canada rather than the United States, which is strange for an organization called the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Part of the explanation underlying this expectation surprise is that there is an economic divide between globalist Wall Street and nationalist Main Street, with the CoC supporting the former and DJT that latter. Without DJT forcing this unmasking, the CoC might have continued appearing to support Main Street while in fact supporting Wall Street.
Other surprising realities are revealed once one recognized how Washington, DC actually works as opposed to how it is supposed to work. The political establishment, both Democrats and Republicans, are driven by essentially the same economic incentives, which means that they are more closely aligned with each other than the voters in America, outside the DC “beltway” may realize. Sundance explains that politicians are less “leaders” than they are “salespeople” who sell the policies desired by their funders, like the CoC. Moreover, these politicians don’t even write the laws they’re selling. Instead, the lobbyists write the laws and the politicians sell them, which is nice work if you can get it.
This is a very serious game however because, as Sundance points out, there are trillions of dollars at stake as the DC establishment has organized itself to support globalism while appearing to support the American people. Globalism creates concentrations of wealth in the billionaire class, which recycles a percentage of that wealth to fund and help elect pro-globalist politicians to keep the cycle going. While the globalists, the political establishment, and the mainstream media (MSM) who support them all do well, the economic losers in this system are the American people who have had their wealth extracted and their jobs shipped overseas. The consequences in terms of reduced standard of living, increased indebtedness, and diminished life prospects help propel DJT into the White House. This presidency is less than a year old, and its consequences are just beginning to be felt.