|»Vivek Kaul's Diary|
Marriage: The Original Win-Win
13 JUNE 2018
POITOU, FRANCE - You can divide the world's people - all its bumblers, fumblers, fools, and saints - into two categories.
There are the decent people who go about their business trying to improve their lives by honest toil, invention, forbearance, and luck.
And there are the scoundrels.
All of us are one or the other... and often both.
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One of the readings at last Saturday's wedding was about the famous wedding at Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle. He turned water into wine.
In his sermon, the priest elaborated (here we embellish; we lost track of much of the sermon, as the sound system was poor):
He didn't mention it, but a marriage is the most ancient form of win-win deal.
Like all win-win deals... the parties enter into it freely, each expecting a miracle. Often, they get one. They add one plus one... and get three, four, or five.
A better life, more wealth, higher status, more love - whatever they are after, they hope the deal will bring it to them.
Of course, it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes, a marriage results in miserable people and a drug problem... and a school shooting. But these results are rare.
Win-lose deals are completely different. The world improvers never take any personal blame or responsibility. And they never admit that they need to change.
Instead, it's always the other guy. He has to stop worshipping false gods... stop exporting cheap steel... stop taking drugs... and stop giving jobs to illegal aliens. He has to do what the win-lose world improver says - or else.
Even when they perform pretend acts of kindness and charity, the scalawags do so with slave labor and stolen money.
Force the rich to support the poor! Use young people's earnings to pay for old people's medical care. Banks must give mortgages to deadbeats... Employers must provide access ramps for cripples.
Believers pay for abortions... Atheists use paper money emblazoned with "In God we trust." Even climate change deniers can damned well pay for subsidizing our pals in the solar energy sector!
And what does anyone learn when the programs fail? "I won't do that again," has no meaning. If the victims had any real choice, they wouldn't have done it in the first place.
And in the dense fog of campaign slogans and claptrap... reflected on the shimmering muck of fake news... who really knows what is going on anyway?
Last weekend, the problem du jour was America's trade deficit of more than $550 billion. Is it really a problem? Donald Trump says it is.
Who's to know? And who's to blame?
It must be the other guy. Canada!
But wait. What's the big deal? Under pressure from Wharton and other business schools, trade barriers have been coming down for more than 30 years.
And until Peter Navarro's ascent to Washington power as Trump's top man on trade, practically all economists and all policy wonks agreed: trade barriers should go. Donald Trump said so himself; free trade is better.
Canada has gone a long way already. Its average trade-weighted barrier with the U.S. is less than 1% - nothing, in other words.
But while trade barriers have gone down, spending and debt have gone up... and now threaten the solvency of the whole economy.
So why spend so much time and political capital squeezing the orange with so little juice left in it?
Why not attack the plump fruit south of the 49th parallel... on the banks of the Potomac?
Oh, Dear Reader... you already know the answer, don't you?
More to come...
Bill Bonner, Bonner & Partners
Vivek Kaul's Diary
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