Who else but a Practicing Capitalist, in the Age of the Death of The Neo-Liberal Swindle, to admonish the reader, and other persons and institutional actors, that Government can’t fix what is not broken, but only in need of a bit of revision?
But government should not be tempted to meddle in the detail of supply chains. That is the job of business. As lockdowns froze trade around the globe, many companies were unable to produce goods domestically because a key component came from a single supplier in another country. Some companies had more than one supplier, but both were in the same country. Every company, as it prepares its postmortem report, needs to determine where its vulnerabilities are and remedy them. This would add robustness as protection against disaster whether it stems from a country (natural or pandemic) or a supplier (such as a fire).
The collapse of that Neo-Liberalism will and probably has rendered Mr. Cote’s political intervention as mere – all this Anti-government rhetoric will be met with the specter of National Security, as it will be in political debate.
Yet the vexing question remains what shape will the re-industrialization of America, and other state actors, take to a set of the un-knows of possible threats? This endeavor will have to be, of necessity’ on a broad front. Mr. Cote offers a reheated Cold War with China and ‘a decline in productivity’ as reason for maintaining ‘supply chains’ in his reformed version.
This legitimate focus on local suppliers can stray into isolationism if government is involved. American arguments that pandemic responsiveness and the threat from China require the reshoring of everything now produced outside the US are misguided. They would result in a decline in productivity if the reshored functions are more inefficient than the overseas suppliers they replace.
What will the reinvigorated ‘local suppliers’ mean to Technocrats like Mr. Cote? The rebirth of Unionism will be a threat to Global Capital … if in the political present of collapse, of Renters, Homeowners and others face the loss of income, jobs, health insurance and domiciles as summer fades, and fall approaches.
To skip to the final paragraph of Mr. Cote’s intervention: we know one thing, that America’s Political Class, as in 2008, rescued Capital, the 1%, from its own economic toxicity. And offered a mere $1200 to the 99% . What is clear is that Mr. Cote repeats the Party Line on the the blessings of ‘Globalization’ tinctured in the ‘Hippocratic Oath’! What is that old adage ‘Physician heal thyself’ in Luke 4:23 ?
Productivity increases driven by globalisation are raising standards of living worldwide. We always want to smooth the rough edges of capitalism and globalisation, and we must ensure that companies have robust supply chains, but the cure will be worse than the disease if legislators respond to xenophobic impulses. It is a good time for government to remember the Hippocratic oath: first do no harm.