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Is "Economic Patriotism" - vague and lethal - ever good policy

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In August, Obama began to boost his voice for the middle class by arguing that corporations who take their operations elsewhere are unpatriotic.  Close loopholes for millionaires, he said, and give tax breaks to working families to pay for kids' college.  “Tax fairness stuff polls really well across the board,” said Frank Clemente, executive director for 'Americans for Tax Fairness.' All an effort to hold onto the majority in the Senate.

 

The President never uses the word "inversion."  It's too hard to understand.  When a company is taxed both at home and abroad, a corporate inversion lowers the burden by re-locating company headquarters to a select country that has lower tax rates.  I guess the word "loophole" is easier, and casts more aspersions, but it's not accurate.  Burger King moving to Canada sounds less like a loophole and more like voting with one's feet. 

 

At present, inversions, hopscotch loans, and skinny-down dividends (so you don't have so much of your company in the unfavored country) all appear to be legitimate actions.  Unlike other countries, the US lays taxes on income earned in both this country AND abroad, where the income is often also taxed by the host country.  US top rate is 35%, Europe 20%.

 

My questions is, is advocating 'economic patriotism' ever a sound practice within the principles of Objectivism?  What are the pro-arguments?  As much as the US has fallen, there are still qualities which would go extinct under the long thrash of base-erosion. What about building a business in a country that does not support freedom of the individual?  

 

Realistically, in the context of colossal pressure on executives to perform for Board of Directors in market competition, Obama is worse than whistling in the wind, even with the new treasury regulations.  Is it just rhetoric, or is America enough of a value to stand by at the expense of one's company?

 

 

 

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It's just rhetoric. Leaving might actually help the US, the way it did the UK (where a massive tax hike on the rich ended up collecting less revenue - because many millionaires changed their residence - and in response people elected saner politicians who've been able to entice most of those millionaires back with tax cuts).

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My questions is, is advocating 'economic patriotism' ever a sound practice within the principles of Objectivism?  What are the pro-arguments?  As much as the US has fallen, there are still qualities which would go extinct under the long thrash of base-erosion. What about building a business in a country that does not support freedom of the individual?

 

Like all candidates for concepts "economic patriotism" and "patriotism" may or may not be a relevant concept within an Objectivist framework... it depends upon whether the differentia of those units inside and outside the concept have relevant differences.

 

Recall, laissez-faire capitalism and the protection of individual rights is the model for government according to Objectivist principles, and the good for the individual is rational self-interest. 

 

What then is a "nation" (collective?) or devotion to that nation - the current collectivist definition of patriotism, to be?  In a nation of sovereigns, unswerving devotion to principles of self-interest and the rights of the individual... might be the pinnacle of patriotism.  If this now is labelled "patriotic" what then is "economic patriotism"?

 

 

To the extent certain actions could be grouped together under the new concept "patriotism" is there enough of a consequence as regard to economic action, to warrant a concept "economic patriotism" and secondly are the effects positive enough to warrant encouragement of thinking of economic decisions in this manner?

 

 

I think that there will be a myriad of perfectly obvious benefits, if you are in a future Objectivist society, to dealing economically with persons from that Objectivist society.  But every proper business decision, pros and cons, must be rationally decided based on all the factors, and if dealing with someone from a "foreign" "nation" or society is better for individuals of a business over the long term, it would only be "patriotic" for all of us to encourage that that business to deal with that someone *precisely because* it is in the rational self-interest of the individuals of that business.

 

Welcome to the new "patriotic".

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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Moreover, in the real world, where Objectivists live in actual "nations", I would say being true to Objectivist principles is easier to do than trying to understand what to do about "patriotism" in a mixed economy, partially religious, partially socialist society.

 

Life is the standard, deal with whomever serves your rational self-interest over the long run in view of all the circumstances.

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... unpatriotic. ...

Such appeals to patriotism or loyalty are the song of scoundrels, demanding that people should sacrifice themselves to their fellowman, for no reason at all, ...just because altruism is good. Edited by softwareNerd

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