January 21, 2010

Protectionism and the Division of Labor

or, an attempt to put abstract ideas into a concrete pattern.

[note: this is something I wrote awhile ago...therefore I'm editing it here and there]

So these thoughts were running throughout my head whilst I read a few posts from this blog in conjunction with thinking about this post. This is what can occur when Ashton has random thought processes running about like crazy all at one time. They collide and make me ask questions. ;)

Basically, I asked myself this: is protectionism and the obstructing of outsourcing (or generally, inhibiting the division of labor) unbiblical when taking the dominion mandate into consideration?

Just some thoughts to throw into the wind and see if they take flight...or fire...

Certain Americans want American goods, American people, and other American aspects to stay within America. I remember from a few years ago seeing a billboard in Springfield one time that said "Keep Doctors in IL" or something along those lines. I remember telling myself, "yeah! we want 'em here, don't let 'em go! don't let those executives take 'em away from us!" Yet over time, more exposure to the weather (ie, economics) brings a better understanding to it...if one's open to instruction, that is. Protectionism basically defines itself...according to the wiki site, it runs as thus:

Protectionism is the economic policy of restraining trade between nations, through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and a variety of other restrictive government regulations designed to discourage imports, and prevent foreign take-over of local markets and companies.

Ok, sounds great! We want our stuff to stay where it is and not let others conquer over it. But, there is a caveat. By not allowing foreign goods, possibly better foreign goods, it discourages progressive measures on account of the American companies because they know that the government is taking care of how they conduct business transactions. Back last fall (fall of '08) when taking my econ course, we studied this concept and one of the examples mentioned was the automotive industry within India back when they enforced restrictions on foreign imports. As a result, their industry became stagnant and the vehicle quality standard was lower compared to those produced by nations around India. After a time, of course, the government eventually put away with those restrictions and now India enjoys both exports and imports of their vehicles and the Indian automotive industry now must put forth measures to improve their cars.

Another wiki quote for outsourcing...

Outsourcing is subcontracting a process, such as product design or manufacturing, to a third-party company.

This allows for the division of labor, cutting down overhead costs and generally benefitting the economy overall. Another book we studied last fall, "I, Pencil" discusses the division of labor perfectly. It's nice and short...if any dear blog reader of mine has time, be sure to take a look at it. Protests to outsourcing may be like mine which I mentioned earlier or various personal reasons that might be put forth.

Now, according to the Dominion Mandate, it runs as follows...from Genesis 1:28...

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

We are to [please correct me someone if I'm extrapolating from this too much] not confine ourselves to one area in general, but instead fill it instead. "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth."

A perfect example to contrast this comes from Genesis 11:1-9...

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. [emphasis mine]

Applying the ideas of protectionism and obstructing the division of labor (outsourcing) to this circumstance in a more theological manner, the Lord said, "Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imaged to do." The people had set themselves aside from the Lord and desired to fulfill their sinful ideas to the fullest extent in the land of Shinar (protectionism) as one people, "lest [they] be scattered abroad upon the race of the whole earth" (obstructing the division of labor).

Already, within the Dominion Mandate we're to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth," and Babel resulted from a people not desiring to subdue it, instead being limited to one area. Protectionism desires goods to be confined. Obstructing the division of labor limits the possibility of diversity within the industrial world. The natural tendency, in accordance to biblical principles, is to spread out and take control.

We'll call this part 1 of something.