We are going to treat irresponsible countries the way we will treat irresponsible companies. Except for humanitarian aid, they will be entirely cut off from the free-world economy. The rest of the world will be a free trade zone. When the leaders of irresponsible countries are ready to join the free-world economy, we will send in the Corps of Engineers to rebuild their basic infrastructure and then provide low interest loans to refugees that want to return to their country and rebuild their businesses and homes.
Trade wars hurt our own economy and no one else. Our foreign customers will just find new sources and we will lose those markets forever. Do we want to give up the opportunity for our agricultural industry to feed a billion people? Do we want to give up the opportunity for our lumber industry to build a billion new middle-class homes? This is a classic example of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Politicians on both sides vilify China for political purposes. Our business establishment has a de facto alliance with China. We each have enormous investments and dependency in the other. We both have a strategic need to keep Russia in check. The worst thing we could do is push China into Russia’s arms. China is not a strategic threat to us. Their economy is worse than ours and they need us.
China is not taking our jobs. Try to hire a workforce to build cell phones in this country, and you won't find any Americans willing to do such mindless, tedious work. It makes more sense to leave them in their own country, where their government can take care of them, and just use their labor to make our products. I can assure you that there is plenty of work to be done here at home, so you shouldn't be concerned about enjoying the benefits of their work too. Also, free trade agreements give our businesses patent, copyright, and trademark protection. This is the only way we can protect our intellectual property.
China isn't hampered by politicians getting in the way of doing what is best for their economy, such as building a new airport and a high-speed cross country rail system. They have an exploding middle class like our economic expansion of the 50’s that resulted from our interstate highway system. Their government has also recently started cracking down on exploitation of their workers by their businesses. This is good for us because as their labor costs are increasing, American labor becomes more competitive.
On the human rights subject, we haven’t done a very good job ourselves, considering they have four times the population to manage. Try to imagine how little freedom we would have with that many people.
While there are still irresponsible countries, we will need to continue development of smart weapons and offensive and defensive cyber warfare capabilities. Other than bringing home our war-torn solders, I don’t see any reason to scale-back our global military presence or operations anytime soon. The need for large expensive offensive weapon delivery systems will be subject to review by the business community that will have to pay for them, and a large standing army is probably not needed. Since the U.S. military only exists to protect business assets, the business community will have to decide how much to tax themselves for that service.
This is the missing leg of the standard libertarian platform, which includes personal responsibility and personal freedom, but only includes corporate freedom without responsibility. Businesses are already realizing that responsibility is good for business.
I have had personal experience with several companies that I believe are good examples of responsible corporate citizens. In no particular order:
General Mills, Inc is based in Golden Valley Minnesota, a first ring suburb west of downtown Minneapolis, a couple miles from where I grew up in the 1950s eating General Mills cereal every day. In the 1970s, I did a contract project for them, using computer mapping software that I had developed, to geographically analyze marketing data by zip-code versus demographic data by census tract.
G. H. Tennant Company is based in Golden Valley Minnesota. They manufacture floor and street maintenance equipment, also a couple miles from where I grew up. I did some lawn mowing for them when I was a teenager. My grandmother worked there and my older brother spent his entire career there. The Tennant family treated everyone in the company like family.
Target is based in Minneapolis Minnesota. I was a customer of Dayton's department store long before they started Target. The Dayton family has always been considered as responsible citizens. The first Target store was located a few miles from my house in east Minneapolis and I shopped there the first week they were open.
US Bank is based in Minneapolis Minnesota. I've been banking at US Bank or its predecessors for my entire adult life. Due to my business and real estate activities I needed a banker who could understand my sometimes unusual situation and look for solutions. I always felt they actually cared about my success and went out of their way to help.
3M Company is based in St. Paul Minnesota. My first full time job was as an entry level computer programmer for the electrical engineering department at 3M Company in 1967. The department designed the control systems for the machines that made Scotch Tape and everything else. Although the company had more than 100,000 employees at that time, they really made you feel like you were part of the 3M family. I had a serious crush on a girl in the keypunch pool who I had do my keypunching, but I went back to college before I had the guts to say anything to her.
3M invented some of the "forever" fluorinated chemicals (PFCs,PFOS,PFAS) that are now polluting the entire planet. 3M got where it is by inventing new materials. 3M memos clearly show that DuPont was instructed to use proper disposal methods for these chemicals. These instructions were completely ignored by DuPont, although 3M didn't do much better job of disposal themselves, but now I think they are trying to set things right.
In the late 70s, I did a couple of contract computer projects for 3M including one involving developing these new materials. They showed me a sample of the material they were making which had the slipperyness of Teflon, the tensile strength of steel, and the compressive behavior of rubber. They had no idea what it could be used for, but it was extremely dangerous to make which is why they hired me to build a remote monitoring and control system that was flexible enough to be reconfigured for each experiment run.
The apparatus was set up in the middle of an enormous room with 2 foot thick reinforced concrete walls except the 4th wall which was 2x4s and sheet metal designed to blow away if the experiment lost control. The door between the lab and the control room was 10 inches of solid steel. They put all of this money and effort into developing a material with no use. 3M has culture of invention and quest for knowledge that has resulted in many significant products throughout history.
The last company that impresses me is Schweitzer Engineering Labs located in Pullman Washington. S.E.L. makes the equipment that monitors and controls our electrical distribution infrastructure which will be increasingly important in the future. This high-tech engineering and manufacturing company is employee owned and is rapidly expanding manufacturing operations in Lewiston and Moscow Idaho. I applied, and wasn't hired, for a software job at Schweitzer in 1998 and later I used some of their communication devices in a couple of projects.
This is the kind of growth industry I want to bring to central Idaho and take advantage of our skilled workers, minimal regulations, clean water, clean electricity, low taxes, a sea port, and endless recreational opportunities. The southeastern Washington and central Idaho region is becoming a diversified industrial powerhouse. This would be a good place to manufacture the next generation of agricultural robots.
Workers and consumers need to demand fair and honest treatment from businesses, or we will shut them down. Responsible businesses should also put pressure on irresponsible businesses who are unfairly competing with those that are trying to do the right thing. For example:
Environment – Businesses that poison the air, water, and land compete unfairly with responsible businesses.
Taxes – Businesses that try to avoid paying taxes compete unfairly with responsible businesses while shifting their tax share to the responsible businesses.
Customers – Businesses that lie to customers compete unfairly with responsible businesses.
Workers – Businesses that exploit their workers compete unfairly with responsible businesses.
Shareholders – They deserve a fair return and steady growth from their investment.
Management – If there is anything left after meeting ALL above responsibilities, give management a bonus, they did a good job!