Umberto Eco and the Trade War

Liberal columnist Paul Krugman makes the pretty obvious argument that we’re in for a trade war in his most recent column. Towards the end, he points out that the capitalist class seems pretty much oblivious to that threat:

For what it’s worth, I don’t think most businesses, or most investors in financial markets, are taking the threat of trade war seriously enough. They’re acting as if this is a passing phase, as if the grown-ups will step in and stop this downward spiral before it goes too far.

But there are no grown-ups in this administration, which basically makes policy by temper tantrum. A full-blown trade war looks all too possible; in fact, it may already have begun.

Of course it is, because they’ve fallen for Trumpism, Trumpism is a form of fascism, and fascism is founded on the words of the leader alone, irrespective of those words’ truth value. Since human vanity will inevitably cause that leader to engage in self-delusions, fascism is inevitably based on lies.

Which brings us to Umberto Eco’s observation: “Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy.” Those words are as true for a trade war as they are for the shooting kind.

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