The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Creative Destruction

11/29/2020

The late Austrian-born economist Joseph Schumpeter popularized the idea that good things can result from bad things and described it as creative destruction.

When President Trump appointed Peter Navarro to the newly-created office as Trade Czar, AKA as Director of National Trade Council, I had mixed emotions.  He has the affable persona one would expect from a musician-father and secretary-mother, but he was regarded as a fringe economist with a Ph.D. from Harvard, obsessed with our “mistreatment” by China.  He even wrote two incendiary books on the subject, i.e., The Coming China Wars and Death by China.  I worried he would be the classic “bull in a China shop,” destroying all the carefully made objects of art.

That was unfair.

Instead, he was a pit bull, sinking his teeth into the subject until everybody noticed.  The relationship with China was clearly one-sided and badly needed repair.  While he was also involved in the reboot of NAFTA, that was simple updating, compared to the entire reconstruction of our China relationship.  He correctly saw the nuance.  China was happy that President Trump lost his re-election bid, but absolutely joyous that Navarro would also be gone.

I disagreed with Navarro’s unilateral approach and thought we would be more effective if we had actively-enlisted allies.  Nonetheless, he broke something that needed to be broken.

Thank you, Dr. Navarro!

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