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Debates about national security and the global economy are merging into a single debate about relative national power.


FOR DECADES, the study of international security has been divorced from the study of international trade and investment, along with domestic economic development. In political science departments on university campuses, self-described realists debate defense and diplomacy with idealists of various kinds. In the economics department next door, there is no debate; the academic economists almost unanimously agree that free trade and investment benefit all sides. They instead postulate an ideal world where national borders would be insignificant and there would be free flows of goods, services, money and labor.


Many of the same factories that produce capital goods or civilian consumer goods can be converted to produce weapons. It is thus not enough for rival powers to monitor each other’s standing armies, navies, fleets and stocks of weaponry; they must also monitor the overall industrial capacity of their actual or potential rivals. Industrial capacity, in turn, has to be defined broadly to include the entire economy of the rival state—not only its factories, but also its infrastructure, energy and telecommunications systems, resources, workforce and financial system. In the mass mobilization wars of the industrial age, like the two world wars, whole economies have gone to war with each other. Even in the less-intense Cold War economies were partly mobilized.


There can be no simple dividing line between civilian and military production. The space race between the United States and the Soviet unx—prompted by the latter’s launching of the Sputnik satellite—always had military implications.

民用生产和军用生产之间没有简单的分界线,美国和苏联之间的太空竞赛——由苏联发射人造卫星“斯普特尼克”( Sputnik ) 引发——总是具有军事意义。

Any country which hopes to be an independent great power must be able to obtain and maintain its own state-of-the-art manufacturing sector, if only for fear of falling behind in the economic arms race inspired by the security dilemma. As Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, wrote in his Report on Manufactures, the United States must be “independent on foreign nations for military and other essential supplies.” Overall, Hamilton, who viewed with scorn the Jeffersonian vision of America as an agrarian paradise, sought to protect America’s nascent industry from the depredations of the more developed European nation-states.

正如美国第一任财政部长亚历山大 · 汉密尔顿在他的《制造业报告》中写道,美国必须“在军事和其他必需品供应方面独立于其他国家” 。

What is true of firms is also true of the nations in which the firms are based. In theory, a single country or trade bloc can monopolize all of the manufacturing in a particular industry. China could make all of the world’s iPhones, Europe’s Airbus could make all jetliners, Japan could make all automobiles and South Korea could make all ships. Once achieved, these national or bloc monopolies in particular industrial sectors characterized by increasing returns could be long-lasting. Their very success ensures high barriers to entry, protecting incumbents from would-be competitors. Indonesia would have a hard time breaking into a global jetliner market monopolized by Airbus.

中国可以制造世界上所有的 iphone,欧洲的空中客车可以制造所有的喷气式客机,日本可以制造所有的汽车,韩国可以制造所有的船只。

Conventional academic economists might see nothing wrong with such a world. Traditional trade theory is based on the idea that countries should specialize along the lines of absolute advantage (Adam Smith) or comparative advantage (David Ricardo).

传统的贸易理论是基于这样的观点,即国家应该沿着绝对优势( 亚当·斯密 ) 或比较优势( 大卫·李嘉图) 的路线进行专业化。

BUT GUIDED by the logic of the military-economic security dilemma, prudent national strategists will ignore the academic free traders and their libertarian allies. From the point of view of national security, industrial interdependence is not a courageous step toward the utopian ideal of a borderless global market and a golden age of perpetual peace. Far from that, it is a dangerous risk that must be minimized. In particular, national strategists must ensure that the supply chains in the country’s defense industrial base are not located in the territory of potential military rivals or in coercible third countries. They must protect the militarily-relevant industries they have and, if necessary, obtain new ones. This is the essence of the approach that the economist Robert D. Atkinson and I have described as “national developmentalism.”

但是,在军事-经济“ 安全困境”的逻辑指引下,谨慎的国家战略家将忽略学术上的自由贸易者及其自由主义同盟。
这就是经济学家罗伯特·阿特金森 ( Robert D.Atkinson) 和我所描述的“国家发展主义”的本质。

As we have seen, the very scale and success of existing manufacturing sectors pose barriers to entry into a sector on the part of not only new firms, but also of entire nations. This being the case, late-developed countries which seek to acquire industries that are already flourishing elsewhere can do so only by means of market-defying policies.


In the early industrial era, Britain had a near-monopoly over global manufacturing. Acting to promote British interests, economists like Smith and Ricardo tried to persuade other countries not to compete with British manufacturing, but to specialize in supplying raw materials to British factories and cheap food to British factory workers. For example, in The Wealth of Nations (1776), Adam Smith wrote:

例如,在《国富论》(1776)中,亚当 · 斯密写道:

The truth is that every country that has successfully caught up with earlier industrialized nations has protected its infant industries by one method or another. Consider Asia. Following World War II, as part of their programs to catch up with the West in industrial capacity, Japan and the “Little Tigers”—South Korea and Taiwan—used nontariff means such as regulations, currency manipulation and other tactics to protect their domestic firms from imports while subsidizing their own exports. More recently, China has followed in these footsteps by “cheating” in order to build up its manufacturing. Beijing has promoted a variety of policies—including luring Western firms with cheap labor, protecting its internal markets, stealing foreign intellectual property and subsidizing its exports by means of currency manipulation—to bolster its economic prowess. Only now has Washington begun to respond to this systematic exploitation of American industry.


Such developments raise an obvious question—if considerations of national security and industrial self-sufficiency are so important, then why has free trade ever existed at all? The answer is that free trade is something of a historical aberration; it has been extremely uncommon in the two and a half centuries since the industrial era began. The world economy between the early modern era and the 1940s was carved up among protectionist European empires and protectionist nation-states like the United States. There was a brief period of trade liberalization in the mid-nineteenth century, promoted by Britain and France, but that was rejected by late-developing nations like the United States and Germany.


As economic realism would predict, free trade is promoted very rarely, and only then by great powers which do not fear military or industrial competition. Put otherwise, countries are apt to promote free trade, not in the abstract, but in proportion to the amount that it is likely to benefit them directly. Exhibit A is Great Britain: after having employed protectionist measures for centuries to build up and expand its manufacturing lead, Britain opportunistically became an evangelist for free trade in the mid-nineteenth century, hoping to open up fresh foreign markets for its exports. A century later, after 1945, the United States also switched from infant-industry protectionism and preached free trade with the zeal of a convert.


Neither Britain nor the United States following their heydays have acted on this common-sense logic. Britain should have abandoned its policy of unilateral free trade in the 1870s and 1880s in response to the rise of protectionist America and Germany. Instead, it did not adopt neo-protectionism until the 1930s. By then, a crepuscular glow had set on the British empire—its elites realizing all too late that their might was disappearing.


Likewise, the United States dallied when it should have abandoned liberal hegemony for a more transactional Nixonian economic nationalism in the 1970s and 1980s, once American manufacturing began to be battered by revived German and East Asian imports, even before the industrial rise of China. Instead, for the last half-century, the United States, like Britain a century earlier, has done the reverse. Mesmerized by a putative liberal world order, Washington has extended its military frontier, taking on more and more imperial commitments, while allowing mercantilist Asian and European trading partners to wipe out much of American manufacturing. Likewise, U.S.-based multinationals have transferred over much of their production capacity to China, Mexico and other countries, where cheaper labor or government subsidies exist in abundance.


In my view, the persistence of free trade policies in Britain and the United States, even after they became harmful, is perhaps best explained in terms of domestic political factors. The most important among these is the political influence of finance.

在我看来,英国和美国持续的自由贸易政策,也许最好用国内政治因素来解释(即使在它们变得有害之后), 其中最重要的是金融的政治影响力。

Nations that rise to dominance via manufacturing enjoy vast profits, which are ploughed back into finance in the same country. Initially, a country’s financial sector tends to grow on the back of manufacturing and other industries. Consider how the Rockefellers moved from manufacturing into banking, or how Texas oil profits seeded Houston and Dallas banks.


The problem is that a politically dominant financial sector may be willing to sacrifice the interest of domestic manufacturers in the service of other goals, like opening trading partners to financial investment. More than a century ago, in the debate over British policy, the City of London successfully defeated the British economic nationalists whose fears about German military and economic power and the decline of British industry were brutally confirmed in the world wars.

一个多世纪以前,在关于英国政策的辩论中,伦敦金融城( City Of London )成功地击败了英国的经济民族主义者,后者对德国军事和经济实力以及英国工业衰落的担忧,在两次世界大战中得到了残酷的证实。

In the long run, the restoration of liberal globalism on a smaller scale minus China is unlikely to succeed. For one thing, America’s European and Asian allies cannot agree whether China is a threat or a commercial opportunity. For another, India, should it rise to great power status, is no more likely than China to give up self-interested economic nationalism and convert to quaint nineteenth-century British free-trade ideology of the obscurantist kind recycled in mathematical form in American economics departments.


Thanks to the logic of the security dilemma, in a multipolar world of rival great powers in which the major centers of military-industrial power are North America, Europe, East Asia and South Asia, in the decades ahead international liberalization as a general economic strategy is unlikely to find powerful champions. To be sure, there may be a high degree of economic integration among allied countries, as well as free trade in particular industries of lesser strategic significance. But the major powers will not allow market forces to compel them to lose not only narrowly-defined military industries, but also a much larger set of strategic industries with both military and civilian applications.

由于“ 安全困境”的逻辑,在一个敌对大国多极化的世界中,军工强国的主要中心是北美、欧洲、东亚和南亚,在未来几十年,作为一般经济战略的国际自由化不太可能找到强有力的支持者。

Power politics is back. The dream of a global free market is dead.


Michael Lind is a Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and co-author, with Robert D. Atkinson, of Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business.

迈克尔 · 林德是林登 · B · 约翰逊公共事务学院的教授,与罗伯特·D·阿特金森合著有《大即是美: 揭穿小企业的神话》( Big Is Beautiful:Disunking the Myth)一书。