Dean Baker is fond of blaming journalists’ pro free trade bias (which they supposedly have) on the fact that they are a protected professional class because of the limits on skilled immigration, and that without those protections their jobs would be subject to more foreign competition like manufacturers are. With all due respect to Felix Salmon, Andrew Sullivan, and all of our other imported foreign pundit labor, I always doubted the extent of this argument. After all, local knowledge, understanding the cultural, and language barriers represent significant barriers to entry for journalists and pundits. At the very least competition from developing countries will be limited; it’s not like the New York Times could move it’s operations to China and start operating from there. In short, while I believe there would be some impact, I don’t think removing all legal protectionism for journalists and pundits wouldn’t amount to all that much more competition.
That’s what I thought until I read some reactions in China to American elections courtesy of the New Yorker. Allowing perhaps to the distance and detachment from the issues, the insightfulness in the analysis easily surpasses many bloggers and pundits. For instance, there is this “common” reaction to the anti-China election ads we’ve been seeing:
“A country that couldn’t be any weaker is always emphasizing its rising clout, while a truly powerful country is always dwelling on its weakness and vulnerability—how ironic.”
That’s exactly correct, and a better take on it than the average blog post or op-ed on the topic.
And there is this perfectly calm and reasonable analysis of the Tea Party which I think is much more judicious and far-sighted than the average American pundit analysis, so much of which is exaggerated:
The Tea Party is a product of a certain period of time,” as a recent piece from China National Radio put it. “As the economy gets back on track, with more income and more stable jobs—when the country is richer, and people will be more at ease—the Tea Party will probably not have as many supporters. This is a bit like those radical anti-war organizations that popped up in America in the past. After some time, their voices faded out. When that day comes, we will realize that the Tea Party movement had pushed forward some rather insignificant figures in the world of American politics.”
I think that’s exactly right, and history will prove China National Radio correct… did I just write that? In any case, and perhaps due to the detachment, it’s also far better analysis than the average blogger or op-ed.
This raises a question: will my blogging be outsourced? Well, since my blogging wage is $0, I cannot be underbid. Also, for the time being I presume my particular brand of moderate libertarianism is probably illegal in China.
I could however, be replaced by a blogger from India or another country with more freedom of speech. Putting me at a disadvantage compared to anti-trade liberals and conservatives is that if I am replaced by foreign competition I will be unable to complain, ask for protectionism, or appeal to any sort of nativist favoritism without also simultaneously exposing myself as a hypocrite and thus destroying my blogging career anyway.