I have been wrong in dismissing protectionism for so long, and I have finally seen the light.
For a long time I thought that this mythical division of labor benefited me, and that shipping low skilled jobs overseas made us richer by letting me concentrate on those jobs at which I excelled, while making labor intensive products cheaper for me as a consumer, but I now see that that is just a lie. The real goal is to keep our country engaged in as much labor as possible without thought of costs or results, that it is simply the quantity of labor which matters.
So, I am applying this to my own life.
I used to give my wealth away to the grocer in exchange for food, thinking it was better for me to work at a job at which I was skilled while letting skilled farmers produce food. But that outsources jobs from my own household and minimizes the labor I do, thus impoverishing me. So I am quitting my job and building a grain silo in my back yard. I can use the den as a threshing room, and I think I can fit a millstone in the basement. No more slave to the farmer am I! I am going to make sure I do as much labor as possible for my food.
In fact, to make sure I am not deprived of the all important full employment, I have also decided to eschew grains which actually grow in my climate and concentrate on rice and quinoa, neither of which will grow here without a huge amount of human intervention. But since before getting those grains required shipping my wealth overseas, growing them myself must be beneficial. And if that doesn’t fill my day, I think I shall set up the first citrus and banana farm in Maryland, just to make sure I reach full employment of all my available time.
I do admit I am a bit upset that I recently bought pots and pans, as that deprives me of the chance to prospect for bauxite in my back yard, which I can then refine into aluminum and cast into new pots. But, my son is growing, he may need braces soon, so there is a chance for me to indulge in amateur metallurgy and increase greatly the number of hours I work.
Not to mention his education! No outsourcing of education for me! I won’t be giving wealth to other households. I have plenty of trees whose pulp can be made into paper, and my memory should suffice to compose a few textbooks. And as for the teaching, why those are a few more hours of labor I won’t be giving away to others! How rich I will become!
So, everyone, I have adopted a policy of total autarchy. Expect to see me gracing the cover of Forbes any day now. For if this is the path that will make a nation rich, imagine what it will do for me!
NOTE: I know economists prefer to spell it “autarky” for some reason, but since every other word from the same root is spelled “-archy” I just can’t do it.
Previously published in a somewhat different form in the Ghostsquirrels blog.