They say that history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.  I've never heard it rhyme, but I've sure seen it repeat itself many times.
 
For example, they say that devaluing a nation’s currency will bring prosperity as exports are stimulated creating growth and employment. Europe has practiced currency depreciation for decades. Yet, Europe has been mired in economic stagnation and historically high unemployment.
 

During the Bretton Woods era nations devalued their currency hundreds of times against the dollar. This is said to be the years of the gold standard. But nothing is further from the truth. Bretton Woods was set up with an implicit bias -- export or devalue. It led to years of what was known as speculative "hot money". Citizens would go to bed on a Friday night and awaken to their money being worth 10% less the next day. And this after vehement denials by their political leaders that they would never devalue their currency.

Since the end of Bretton Woods we have gone on to a floating exchange rate system, where instead of midnight devaluations we see the slow but continuous depreciation of national currencies. It is theft, and can best be expressed by an ounce of gold being valued at 35 dollars an ounce then, and near 1300 dollars an ounce today. All currencies have fallen in relation to gold, and prices have risen to consumers over the decades commensurate with the theft. Gold has retained its exchange value. Paper money has not.
 
                                                                              ***************
 
They say that raising tariffs and imposing quotas will lead to trade surpluses, which will lead to growth and employment. Europe has always been a protectionist zone. With all their protectionism they have run an unemployment rate of around 10% and a growth rate in the zero-to-2% range. They have run trade surpluses for decades, yet have an economy worse than the US economy, which has run a trade deficit for just as long.
 
But it is Japan's Industrial Policy that I want to focus on. During the 1960's and 70's, Japan became an economic force in the world. By the end of 1980, Japan was known as “Japan Inc.” It was run by the government with the intent to export as much as possible while preventing imports from entering the country. They also outlawed most immigration. This was called an "Industrial Policy" but it was protectionism in its purest form. It was intended to give Japan a trade advantage, but did so only briefly.
 
The result of this policy is what you see today -- a country mired in recession, deflation, and stagnation. Almost all forms of innovation have vanished, and for 36 years Japan has refused to reject its protectionist policies and has instead watched its standard of living decline and its national debt soar. Meanwhile, the US went toward free trade, opened its markets, and pursued a vigorous immigration policy. For twenty-five years the US economy soared. Unemployment, inflation and deficits fell yearly. The middle class thrived and the word “poor” became virtually extinct in America.
 
Japan's Industrial Policy that attempted to favor its country through trade policy - restricting imports, immigration, and pushing exports – has failed miserably to this day. Japan is still running a staggering trade surplus and the US runs a staggering trade deficit, yet the US has fared economically better than almost every other country in the world over the last three decades. And this in spite of our lackluster economy brought on by the counter-productive policies of the last eight years.
 
                                                                           ******************
They say that raising taxes on the rich and giving it to the less advantaged will create greater equality and to a better society. In the Soviet Union, the economic model was based on Karl Marx's proclamation "from each of ability to each of need." It was tried for fifty years until the country fell of its own weight. Margaret Thatcher was right when she said, “Socialism is fine until you run out of other people’s money”. The Soviet Union did exactly that.
 
But it's Cuba that provides the best example of the futility of egalitarianism. Cuba provides free education, free medical care, and huge subsidies to those who need them. It is what every progressive wants for America. But along the way something went wrong. Although the wealth and property of the rich were confiscated, the wealthy got poorer and so did the poor. Soon progress came to a complete stand-still. Economic progress stopped. And the people with talent, ingenuity, and intelligence fled to other countries.
 
The Cuban government couldn't allow that, so they prevented escape from Cuba and forced their businesses and their factories and the people’s money to stay within Cuban borders. In spite of all this (or more correctly because of it) Cuba is frozen in time with no new industries and a stagnant economy and has been decaying for fifty years.
 
What is interesting is there is still a huge division between the rich and the poor. Income inequality still exists. The difference is that it is the bureaucrats and government officials that are the rich and everyone else is poor. There are no industrialists and no middle class…they’ve disappeared. There is only stagnation and continuous poverty among the people of Cuba with no hope of escape.
 
The system would have fallen of its own incompetence except for subsidies provided by Russia and Venezuela. But those have vanished as both countries can no longer afford to provide them. Only the rescue of that government by America allowed Cuba to continue its tyranny and its grip on what's left of the wealth of the country.
 
 
                                                                              **************************
 
They say that nationalizing companies or industries and controlling the economy from top to bottom will create better companies and benefit society. Whether a nation is socialist, communist, or fascist, nationalization is common to all. The banking system is one of the first industries to go. In this country we were on a gold standard as the basis of our monetary system which was set down in the US Constitution.
 
In 1913, the government semi-nationalized the banking system, took control of the money supply, went to a new money by decree, and then in 1934 confiscated the gold and silver in circulation. America recently nationalized Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, and the mortgage market is now for the most part controlled by government.
 
But we are small potatoes compared to a nation like Venezuela. They have confiscated and taken control of almost every aspect of the economy. It was claimed that the government could run companies and the economy better than greedy industrialists and rich businessmen that were “ripping off” the people of the nation.
 
Step by step they took charge, and what was the fourth most resource-rich nation in the world is now broke, shop shelves bare, medical supplies dwindling, energy almost non-existent and debts increasing to the point of default while hyper-inflation is running rampant. There are riots in the street, and demonstrations and even a mock trial planned to take the country back.
 
What was once a prosperous nation is in ruin and people are dying in the streets. This is what happens when the government tells you that they can run an industry better than free men and women. Obamacare is a case in point and is going the way of all nationalized industries as we speak.
 
And look at our education system, which is run by government. They say that more money for education will lead to better educated kids. The sad fact is we have spent more money on education than any nation in the history of mankind and have continuously seen declining grades with greater amounts of drop-outs. Another nationalized failure.
 
                                                                     **************************
They say socialism is the best economic system in the world and that capitalism is the worst. But where is the proof of that claim? All of the examples provided above are proof of just the opposite. Yet Bernie Sanders claims that socialism will save America when it has in fact destroyed nations.
 
And Donald Trump wants to prevent industrialists, and their money, from leaving the country; and he wants to impose protectionism on this nation when all of the evidence shows nations that practice these policies, end up broke and dying.
 
And Hillary Clinton wants to go to socialized healthcare which has been a disaster wherever practiced as witness the VA hospitals that are "one-payer" systems and an example of what happens when the government runs an industry.
 
And almost everyone believes devaluing a nation’s currency decreases unemployment and creates prosperity. Currency manipulators only hurt themselves, not others. They believe that tariffs and quotas work to raise a nation’s standard of living -- but they do the opposite. They believe that raising taxes on the rich to give benefits to others enriches society and brings equality; they in fact only serve to enrich the thieves that take the money. The poor remain poor. All of these policies have failed – not succeeded.
 
These truths are self-evident. Capitalism works -- socialism, communism, fascism, and all forms of statist policies, many being advocated by our political leaders today, don't! 
 
When will they ever learn?
 
Paul Nathan
paulnathan.biz