There I was … thinking. I was thinking about writing another book.
I know, I know – you are saying, “A fighter pilot thinking sounds like an oxymoron.” But I am not only a former fighter pilot; I have been a little bit of a lot of things. One of those is a wannabee academic, which means some tendency to think. And, what better date to launch a new and probably doomed book idea than Friday the 13th, a date, for those reading this who are not from Western European culture, that is considered generally unlucky for just about anything.
Yet I have been pondering this question: is an offset policy any worse an idea than any other governmental policy written and implemented with the stated goal of benefiting the domestic economy? It was a question I grudging arrived at during my doctoral research and that I left unanswered as it went beyond my research on what led to long-term benefits in offset programs. I say ‘grudgingly’ because of the now-admissible fact that I started my research with the intent to prove offsets superfluous at best and counter-productive at worst. Instead, I arrived at nearly an opposite conclusion: that well-implemented offset policies and projects could serve an economically useful purpose. The above question is a long advance towards an admission that offset have their place. But what is their place in national policy?
Perhaps my thesis should be restated as the following hypothesis: Offset policies perform no worse in the generation of economic benefits than any other government-driven intervention in commerce.
So, for the next year or so, I will return to researching and book-writing, but this time with a more serious demeanor than my first book on my experiences as an international businessman (Accidental Internationalist – Memoirs of a Businessman, buy the book at any major reseller, in either print or eBook, hint hint). This time there will be charts and tables, end-notes, and a bibliography. I will attempt to research the performances of tariffs, free trade agreements, GATT/WTO positions and impacts, special economic zones, small business incentives, and any other form of government policy (such as tariffs or duties collected, expenses incurred, or revenues deferred) that impacts a nation’s economy in general and international trade in particular. The goal will be to accumulate enough data to compare those policies in a cost/benefit analysis with offset policies (which will be devilishly hard to do, as most of my contemporary researchers in offsets know).
I will occasionally blog a snippet of my book’s progress. Now, if I can just find the proper data … after all, it is Friday the 13th.
Moral: Many government policy roads are good intensions well-paved. Hopefully they lead up, not down, if you understand which saying I am paraphrasing …