Trade notes

Just came from Bangkok in relation to some trade work. Anyway, here are some notes made while bored in the plane:

First, something to raise the hackles of anti-trade people:

"Any discussion of trade and globalization should begin with this fact: Over the last 30 years, world trade has grown twice as fast as output - and the economies that have grown fastest have been those that trade most. Nothing is more important to global economic growth than trade. Far from being a zero-sum game, expansion in trade benefits all countries - big and small, rich and poor.

Citizens of nations that reform their economies and open themselves to trade and competition have better jobs, improved living standards, and greater opportunities. At the same time, nations that try to close themselves off from competition, hinder free markets and fail to invest in their people simply get left behind. Indeed, no country has escaped poverty without opening up trade." (The Case for Free Trade, Gordon Brown and Hank Paulson, 28 November 2006, AWSJ, p.15)

So let the long cranky (and sometimes really bizarre) anti-trade comments come, he-he! But seriously, the simple fact still remains, it is those countries that open their economies and subject local industries to competition that do far better for their citizens in terms of income and standards of living than those who don't. It may be selective, partial, or gradual but the important thing is to open up.

Incidentally, while in Kinokuniya (for which I came out with Morton's "The Rothschilds" and Giddens' "The Third Way") I saw a copy of Jagdish Bhagwati's “In Defence of Globalisation”. I highly recommend readers to buy this book.

Mr Bhagwati is an eminent scholar, author of numerous important works, some with Robert Hudec (one of the acknowledged fathers of international economic law). “In Defence of Globalisation” is one designed for the layman: free of statistics, quantitative economic analysis, and is of simple ambitions. It strives admirably to educate the layman on the issues surrounding globalization and trade, and answers some of the more specious arguments raised by its detractors.

Thus, far from worsening poverty, destroying cultures, abusing the environment, and weakening democracy, Mr. Bhagwati shows the beneficial effects of globalization and the misleading premises (to put it mildly) with which globalization’s critics base their arguments.

Some uncommon wisdom learned from an economist co-lecturer at the Philja lecture series:

"We should stop beating ourselves down. Enough with the lament that 50 years ago we were second only to Japan in terms of GDP per capital and that now other countries have overtaken us from that slot. It must be remembered that 50 years ago, it was rare for a country to actually measure its GDP and the Philippines was one of the few (along with Japan and India) who did.

So if we limit the comparisons at present to the same three countries, we'd still be second to Japan in terms of GDP per capita."

Some additional uncommon wisdom:

"Countries in which it is easy to fire are also those in which it is easy to hire."


"To those who favor increasing tariffs, it must be remembered that such merely increases the motivation of the unscrupulous to increase smuggling."

Was asked by the Bangkok police to get off the walkway and walk instead on the polluted streets this morning. It appeared that their king would be driving by and the Thais don't like the idea of someone walking above the king's head. Everybody was therefore forbidden to use the walkways over the streets where the king would be passing. Interesting.

Anyway, after Suvarnabhumi Airport, the NAIA really is ... interesting. Well, let's see what happens with NAIA Terminal 3. After all this time it should be really good, considering its been aged to perfection already.

However, just found out that for some reason Thailand does not have Stolichnaya. They have Absolut, Smirnoff, and a host of other vodkas (Kristal, etc.) but no Stolich. Just another reason why I really like Manila.

Anyway, in Bangkok and thirsty for beer. Heineken? Singha? San Mig pale! Chilled to balance my Tabacalera Robusto. Even in another country, Buy Filipino.