Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Cotton is Not What Made the United States Rich

Lately, everyone is arguing that the United States got rich off of cotton. The New York Times recently put out a story arguing that American capitalism “begins on the plantation”. This completely misunderstands the relationship between slave and serf-based agriculture and industrial capitalism. A dominant agricultural industry is not the foundation for industrial success–it is an impediment. Let me show you why…

Read the rest of this entry »

The Real Stakes of Trump’s Trade War With China

I have a new piece out at New Republic on the president’s tariffs. You can read it here:

https://newrepublic.com/article/154852/real-stakes-trumps-trade-war-china

They have edited it to sync up with their preferred style, so it reads a bit differently from the rest of my work.

Andrew Yang is Playing Hide and Seek With the Left Press

When a politician is caught out for taking the wrong position or constructing their proposals poorly, they often try to cover their tracks. If they change what’s on their website or in their policy white paper and remove all traces of the previous language, most voters will never know they’ve flip-flopped. Andrew Yang does this in an especially flagrant way. It’s a game of hide and seek. Let me give you two examples. Read the rest of this entry »

The Main Difference Between Warren and Sanders

In the second round of Democratic primary debates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were in the same room, but the two of them were surrounded by centrist Democrats who poll at almost nothing. Stephen Bullock, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, and Tim Ryan all clock in at 1% or less. Together, they spoke for more than 50 minutes, and they used most of their time to insinuate that policies like Medicare are a socialist pipe-dream. Sanders and Warren each received about 18 minutes, combining for about 36. By including all these centrists that poll at negligible numbers in the debates, the Democratic Party drowned the progressive candidates in a cacophony of establishment hand-wringing. There was never an opportunity for Sanders and Warren to argue with each other, and now many in the media are portraying Sanders and Warren as if they were on a progressive “team”. This obfuscates the very real differences between these candidates, so let me do the job that the Democratic Party and the moderators failed to do, and illustrate those differences for you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Five Forms of Retreat

In the Roman Empire, during the Crisis of the 3rd Century, everything began falling apart. The army was swapping emperors out left and right, and the political system could no longer generate the legitimacy or stability that had prevailed in the two centuries prior. Chunks of the empire lost faith in the ability of the central authority to restore order, and began looking to their own defences. It was bleak:

Read the rest of this entry »