A Proposed New American Doctrine

By Cesar Fernando Lumba

The Monroe Doctrine. From Google comes this brief definition of the Monroe Doctrine.

“The Monroe Doctrine is a United States policy that was introduced on December 2, 1823 (by President James Monroe), which stated that further efforts by European countries to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas would be viewed, by the United States of America, as acts of aggression requiring US” response, which may include war.

Simply put, the Monroe Doctrine grants the U.S. the moral right to come to the defense of any country in the Americas (North, Central and South) if such countries are threatened by foreign powers, including and especially European powers.

The New American Doctrine I am proposing for President Obama, or whoever emerges victorious from campaign 2012, is this:

Any business entity that markets manufactured goods to American consumers residing in America must, within five, seven or ten years (depending on the complexity of producing.such goods) manufacture 51% of the products that they sell to American consumers within the borders of the 50 states of the Union plus Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and other territories under the jurisdiction of the United States..

Implied by this New American Doctrine is a revamp of the definition of free trade. The concept of free trade must include the notion that free trade benefits all trading partners and not just the giant export economies such as China.  Also implied is the notion that trade where the flow of goods and services is one way is not free since no country is presumed willing to engage in such trade if it were in its power to resist such an arrangement.

Whenever the trade between and among countries degenerates into a competition of those countries to determine who walks away with the greatest benefits then it is no longer free trade. It is instead managed trade, where the export economies maximize their exports and minimize their imports. The trade between China and the U.S. is an example of such trade. Chinese companies and multinational companies that manufacture their products in China have flooded the American market, while American-made products are unable to penetrate the Chinese market, with the exception of just a few products, such as airplanes. Even GM cars that are beginning to make major inroads in China are increasingly made in China, not the U.S.

Technology transfers occur without abatement, which means that the presumed technology advantage of the U. S. over China is either disappearing or has disappeared, depending on the industry.

The result is the Wal-Martization of America. Nearly all the consumer products sold in Wal-Mart, Target and other department stores are made in China. Some are made in other developing countries. Finding products that are made in America is often a fool’s errand.

This is untenable. Another twenty years of this condition and America will be reduced to an insignificant economic power, dictated to by its biggest creditor -The (Communist) Peoples Republic of China.

As long as I can call myself an American, and if it is in my power, I will not let that happen.

That is why I am proposing this New American Doctrine – 51% of all manufactured products sold in the 50 states and Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, etc., must be made in America. Made in America, as I’ve stated in my previous posts, may be defined as assembled in America. This policy acknowledges that the reality in the global village is that most components that go into the manufacture of most manufactured products these days come from all corners of the globe.

I would encourage all other countries in a position to craft their independent economic policies to adopt variants of the New American Doctrine. They too should require that a significant percentage of all products sold in their markets are made in their countries.

What this will accomplish is the world’s wealth shall be spread among citizens of many countries and will not be concentrated in the hands of a few billionaires in China, Japan, the U.S. and Europe.

Should foreign companies, including American multinationals manufacturing their products in foreign countries, fail to comply with the 51% requirement, their products shall be slapped tariffs which will then be used by the U.S. government to provide subsidies to U.S. factories that manufacture the tariffed products.

Hello, managed economy? You bet. The U.S. government must manage its economy more selfishly. It can no longer afford to be the bastion of classic, laissez-faire free trade while its major competitors protect their manufacturers either through outright tariffs, banning entry of foreign competition, such as China’s ban on Facebook, or through currency manipulation.

Meanwhile, through blogs such as this, U.S. consumers shall be educated in the virtue of insisting that 51% of all products they buy are made in the U.S.

Hello Apple. Hello Vizio. Hello Nike. Hello Everybody. You are now on notice.

There will no longer be pure export economies, such as China today and Japan in the late 20th century. There will eventually only be export-import economies.

What this will do is slow the development of China, which is a good outcome since its development has so far come at the expense of the U.S., Europe and arguably, Australia and much of Asia.