Mercantilism

April 20, 2010

Obama spoke recently about his desire to double our current amount of exports by 2015.  This is a pretty lofty goal.  This would require the US to grow at a rate faster than any other time in the last 30 years.  Think about that for a second.  We used to export Furbee and Tickle Me Elmo, to double that would be significant.  But it basically boils down to mercantilism. It means to sell more than you buy, kind of.  Not to be confused with meerkatilism which means forage for food daily and look cute in big groups(Pretty sure I am the first to use the word Meerkatilism, so if you are from Webster, give me a call, I want the credit). Back to mercantilism, sell more than you buy, this is possibly the most elementary definition for a term you may never have heard.  Why do we need a word to describe something so basic, well, it’s not really all that basic, but it’s a straight forward principle.  But it’s like “juxtapose”, when do you need to say juxtapose instead of beside or alike? The use of words like that is fine, but not entirely necessary.

Like I said earlier, mercantilism is a little more than export more, import less.  It’s almost a model of complete efficiency.  No wasted space, effort, resources.  That means no arts, no cultural things, none of that stuff.  If all resources are used on creating exports there is no room for other stuff.  This is however, when art seems to thrive.  Arts must be cheap because in times great strife, great art has prevailed.  The renaissance came right after the plague (yersinia pestus shout out).  After the initial mercantile state came the Victorian era.  I am not sure if it’s because people are inspired by strife or that paint is really cheap. Either way it seems to work out.

So I’m all about making more stuff and China playing fair with their monetary regulations.  I am not sure how we can peddle more American things to foreign countries but apparently we will.  Some of this is opening the door to small business to gain ground in the international game, but it looks like not only will foreign kids be given “Butler 2010 National Championship” t-shirts, they will also be able to buy the correct counterpart.  More importantly afterwards there may be actual art.

Modern art sucks.  There is some good stuff out there, but most of it blows something aweful.  It’s like the emperor’s new clothes.  Some one screwed up but then convinced us all it was supposed to look that way.  Well I’m the little kid that doesn’t get all the sensation.  A BBC show called “Top Gear” recently took all of the art out of a museum and replaced it with car stuff.  Some of it was part splatter from an exhaust pipe, some was cheesy stuff that you could find made miniature and minted onto a commemorative coin.  The point was that using mediocre car art they were able to draw more people in one week than the crappy regular stuff ever had.

I am inclined to agree with Obama, ashamedly.  Let’s improve the economy, let’s sell stuff to other countries and help small businesses.  But more importantly let’s usher in some new art that doesn’t look like a crayola sneeze or a piece of furniture stacked upside down.

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