lbo-talk-digest V1 #386

jeffrey sommers jsommers at
Sun Sep 6 00:12:38 PDT 1998

jeffrey sommers wrote:

> For Brad...
> Two quotations from business leaders in the US government published journal the
> Bulletin of the Pan American Union. The quotes are from 1916, really the golden
> era of diplomatic history. Gems like these exist before 1940 when government and
> business leaders meant what they said and typed it for easy reading! as there was
> little worry what the mass of people would think. After this time we get the
> obfuscation resulting from the growing interference of the people in governance
> where most official sources are garbage not worth the paper they are printed on.
> I think they reveal something about North/South trade lacking in Brad's handling of
> the topic....
> 1)"Every article of commercial export, a ton of coal or a piano, represents two
> things, and the one is always a national loss, and the other a national gain. The
> raw material entering into the product, proportionately great or proportionately
> small, is a natural loss, but the value added to the raw material by skill and
> labor is a national gain. The country grows rich by export in the proportion that
> values created by skill and labor outweigh values of raw material. Export of any
> quantity of raw material is pro tanto a depletion of capital resources. It is
> profitable to the country only when it represents a small, and the smaller the more
> profitable, proportion of the value of the exported product. A ton of coal on
> board ship represents but little added values over the raw product in the ground,
> but it represents great potentialities of energy to be utilized by some other
> country. A piano represents but insignificant value in raw material, but much
> value to skill and labor.
> 2) "Concerning the United States in its trade with Latin America, it was better
> to buy than to sell." "False notions about trade balances, which are even yet
> current in a measure, disposed many to argue that because Brazil, for example,
> exported in values twice as much to the United States as it imported from there,
> that as a consequence the latter country was in some ways a loser. The notion
> seemed to be that profit was only in selling; that buying like eating was a
> necessary but destructive procedure." "The world is beginning to recognize that
> the most important element in the future of manufacturing countries is raw
> materials." (italics added) "The belief grows that in order to make the future
> secure there must be ownership control of the sources of supply." (italics added)
> "Hides and skins, sisal, nitrate, copper, rubber, mineral oils, wool, manganese,
> tin, linseed, all Latin American products, enter directly in the industry of the
> United States and furnish a basis for a substantial part thereof.
> Jeff Sommers

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