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I’m dead bye

Emma tries not to laugh when they come to pack up Killian’s things for the house. Belle’s definitely added a woman’s touch to the captain’s cabin – she can’t be jealous of the fact, Belle’s actually living there and she deserves flowers and a million baby books scattered around if she wants them. But Killian picking through gauzy fabrics for his treasures and telling Emma where he’s moved things into storage just reaffirms the fact that this is a good thing. Belle deserves her own space and Killian –

Killian deserves as much of a happy ending, as much of a future, as she can give him.

But when they pull up to the house with the back seat of the Bug filled with crates and knicknacks, Killian’s almost shy as they start unloading and bringing things inside. “I’ll, ah, I’ll set up in here shall I?” he asks as they top the stairs and he indicates the spare room just to the left.

Emma raises an eyebrow, a bemused smile on her face. “Killian. When I said move in with me, I meant move in with me.”

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anonymous asked:

this question is about japan. in 1853, commodore matthew perry sailed a small fleet into an edo harbor and forced the japanese to sign a treaty allowing foreign trade, ending 200 years of shogun-imposed isolation. at this juncture, if i'm not mistaken, japan would've been at a similar level of development as other areas which found themselves colonized by europeans. in your view, what did japan do "right" that allowed them to escape colonization and become a capitalist power in their own right?

What would be the best course for economic development for a poor nation in the third world? One with little capitalist penetration and a minuscule industrial base?

So I’m gonna wrap these two asks up into one thing because giving a concrete example along with an abstract guideline seems like a good idea.

First off, you liquidate your landed classes and make your agricultural sector full of smallholders. In the absence of an excess of energy that you can put into industrial agriculture, smallholder agriculture is by far the most efficient. Big land plots under the control of a gentry with the vast majority of people as tenant farmers is how most of the world’s agriculture is structured (Guatemala: 2.5% of population own 65% of arable land, Colombia: 14% of population own 80% of land, Pakistan: 5% of population owns 64% of land, Bangladesh: 9% of population own 54% of land, China pre-1949: 10% of population owns 70% of land, etc, similar asset distributions for virtually all of the third world). This works great for that gentry, because they can suck up all of the surplus product that these tenant farmers produce through high rents, but it’s awful for nearly everybody else. It’s bad for food security, since the gentry will order the planting of cash crops for sale on international markets in the knowledge that their food needs will be met first and maybe the international community will come with some aid in case of a drought. Tenant farmers won’t have money to spend on consumer goods, nor will they ever bother to spend to improve land they don’t own. When they travel to the city in search of work, smallholders know they can go back to the plot and make a living, meaning they don’t have to accept awful wages, while tenant farmers forced off their land have to accept whatever’s offered. That’s a major reason why China is China and Haiti is Haiti. World Bank loans are attractive to landlords because they comes with clauses that prevent changes in the distribution of land ownership, which forces countries into debtor positions. Finally, landlords are typically insulated from the effects of free trade. They team up with corporations to promote industrial agriculture through imports from the first world, while smallholders can’t afford those kinds of improvements to stay competitive and end up going bankrupt and getting forced off their land. Now, this kind of liquidation doesn’t have to be violent, but it tends to be. Landlords are a countervailing order to industrialization, and they don’t tend to want to give up their power peacefully. Often, they’re associated with colonial powers, which means wars of national liberation tend to end up doing the job, like in China or Vietnam. Other times, economic pressures force peasants to revolt and change their situation, as in France or Russia. There’s also a third option, where one side in a civil war is sponsored by the industrial sector while one is sponsored by landlords, and the industrial sector wins, as in Japan. In this case, the liquidation of landlords isn’t literal, but took place because the landlords, the Samurai, had to be punished for their support of the Shogunate over the Emperor. Their landownings were confiscated, and since they were the most well educated class, they were made state bureaucrats instead. This wasn’t the only policy necessary for industrialization, but it was necessary. Now Japanese landowners couldn’t influence state policy against industrialization, and there was a class of people who kept enough of their surplus production that they could buy consumer goods and provide the government with a strong tax base (see the 1873 land tax reform).

Second, protectionism. Consumers in industrializing nations tend to prefer better quality internationally produced goods over domestic ones. The World Bank and the IMF take advantage of this demand by offering terms to buy these goods in the short term in exchange for instituting free trade reforms that prevent industrialization. In contrast, most industrialized nations have spent a significant period of time with their tariffs intensely high. As local manufacturers grow, capital controls and high taxes are used to induce re-investment of profits back into research and development and organic capital. Wages rise, and so do living standards. Now, Japan seems to buck this trend, at least on the surface level reading. Treaties forced Japan to set its tariffs at 5%. However, protectionism isn’t only tariffs. Japan used a number of sneaky tactics in the 1870s to make access to domestically produced goods easier than internationally produced ones. We know these were intentional because Japanese economists around that time generally praised the writings of protectionist advocates like Henry Carey (his works were translated to Japanese in 1870) and Friedrich List (translated in 1888) while denigrating Ricardo’s comparative advantage theory. You can see a lot of their tactics if you look at the complaints registered by the British to their embassy. The Japanese government refused to increase capacity at the treaty ports, built roads and railways from new factories to cities much faster than they built land transport infrastructure from treaty ports, blocked foreigners from going into the interior to assess consumer demands, subsidized domestic production, used the military as a vehicle for research and development on new production techniques, etc. Imports of finished cotton goods from the UK rose through the 1870s, then declined in the early 1880s, marking the point at which the Japanese clothing industry started being able to hold its own. By the late 1880s, imports from the UK were rising again, but so were sales of domestically produced clothes, in tandem with the increasing wages and purchasing power of Japanese workers. This was the feedback loop between the increasing capital intensity of industry and the increasing demand of workers in those industries that leads to self-sustaining industrialization.

Third, technology transfer from the first world. Trotsky’s most important contribution was probably his theory of “uneven and combined development”. Traditional Marxist thought emphasized each country going through stages, as though they each had to progress linearly and independently through a predetermined path.  In actuality, capitalists will search spatially for comparative advantages against competitors, leading to capital flooding in and out of spaces in order to create growth zones then dead ones. Third world nations can use state intervention to regulate these flows and ensure that they get the best new technologies, leapfrogging stages. Japan for instance strongly regulates its imports and exports. Initially, it concentrated on areas of high demand in East Asia, where British imperialism required certain raw material outputs, specifically coal, rice, and tea. Any foreign currency gained from this was reinvested back into advanced military technologies, like ironclads, which were then studied and copied back at home. One of the slogans of the imperial government was “strengthen the economy, strengthen the military”, although it tended to work in reverse, with the military getting the best of everything, and the benefits to advances in productive technique working their way down to the private sector, much like with the military-industrial complex in America. South Korea, Taiwan, and China all took advantage of this too. The former two became centers for Japanese offshoring in the 60s, while China became a center for Taiwanese and Korean offshoring in the 80s.

Fourth, government spending. Build yourself a transport and communications infrastructure, a serious education system, and a strong military to ward off imperial powers. These have to be done in specific ways though. Your transportation system is shit if it’s for imports rather than domestic transfer of goods and people. India had more miles of railway than China until very recently, but all it did was facilitate the flow of raw materials out of the country and finished goods in. You need literate people to work in your factories. In India, literacy is being able to spell your name, while in China, it’s knowing how to write 300 words. This takes a vast investment of capital, so those World Bank advisers who say you’re spending too much and you need austerity should be ignored. Japan modelled its education system after Germany’s after it saw how well it worked for that newly industrializing nation. Education was compulsory, nationalistic, taught a standardized language, and disciplined students so that they’d accept hierarchies. Japan also built, at great expense, a railway and telegraph network that stretched across the country. Rails were highly efficient at transporting people for a low energy input. One of the two major loans in foreign currency Japan took out after the Boshin War was to import British railway designers . A military is important not only to fight off foreign imperialism but to colonize other territories for yourself, since if you can expropriate somebody else’s surplus, you can reinvest that in your own nation. Japan was geographically very far from Europe, and British merchants were primarily interested in selling goods to Japan, not taking any natural resources. This made Japan a natural ally of British imperialism in the region, and an alliance lasted from 1902 to 1923 (Later, it would also use its position in the American imperial system to gain a leg up). Japan’s rising military power gave it the ability to ward off other invasion threats, particularly from Russia. By the 1890s, Japan had renegotiated its unequal treaties to remove extraterritoriality from foreign subjects, ended foreign control of tariffs, and had an almost equal spot at the table for the divvying up of China. Japanese colonization of Korea and Taiwan gave it the capital it needed to really jumpstart its industrialization. Grand projects like big ass car factories are a bad idea though. Stuff like when Yugoslavia tried to get into car manufacturing with the Yugo, when Poland tried to get into shipbuilding, or when India tried to industrialize by starting with every heavy industry on the book. It’s a surefire waste of scarce capital resources and a major setback. There’s no demand yet for these goods domestically, and a lack of experience means that other nations won’t want to buy them as exports. You need local conditions to determine development, and central planning to aid it, rather than having everything decided at the central level by people who’ve never been to the region before and who think “make everything look like the first world” is a great idea.

Fifth, currency tactics. Along with its 1873 land reform, Japan also instituted Western-style banking, chartering a new central bank and giving it the power to create a new currency. Since Japan didn’t have the gold reserves to maintain a gold standard, it went on a silver standard instead. This meant its new currency, the yen, was highly devalued against the other international currencies of the time, making Japanese products relatively cheaper. This attracted Western merchants and Western investment, and along with import controls, brought enough gold into the country that Japan could put itself on the gold standard in 1897, allowing it access to the “gold standard club” and boosting exports further. Of course, this is meaningless today, since nobody’s on the gold standard anymore, but it’s a good sign of whether a country has “made it”. The modern equivalent would be when a nation begins to have such a dollar surplus that it has nothing to do other than to buy American debt, as China did in the early 2000s. The more important lesson is to devalue your currency to make your exports more attractive. This can be a double edged sword, because it makes importing goods tougher, and if your people are accustomed to a certain lifestyle based on imported goods, they’ll get angry at the rises in price. However, if you’re industrializing correctly, you should be producing more and more of those goods at home, and so the purchasing power of your currency will be much greater than the trading value is. That also entices people to buy domestically produced goods rather than imported ones. Now, the worst thing for an industrializing country is low liquidity. Inflation is a very poorly understood figure. It can’t be used as just a general figure, since it often comes from rapidly increasing wages rather than prices. It’s used a lot to fearmonger about the amount of money in the system, but high liquidity in a growing economy is almost never the cause of inflation, because true inflation only occurs when there’s more money than there are things to buy. In a growing economy, there’s always a need for more capital, so high liquidity should be a priority, especially in crisis time. The question is how to keep this liquidity from being used for bubbles and push it towards productive investments rather than speculation. Japan teamed up its banks with its industrial corporations in what were called “Zaibatsu”. If a company wanted to build a factory, it would immediately have access to central bank funds since the bank was a part of the company. It was only a matter of writing a few things down on a few sheets, and the money would be created and spent. This prevented issues of low liquidity, and it also meant that most bank money was going to productive investments rather than stock market bullshit. After WW2, America broke up the Zaibatsu since it felt they helped push the country to war, but the Japanese government maintained this level of planning by formalizing the state-private cooperation in a branch of government called the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. MITI was so good at its job that Japan’s 1968 import and export totals were within $100 million of each other, on a budget of $12 billion. America then forced Japan off its undervalued currency peg in 1971, ending that arrangement and limiting some of the power of MITI. It still remains a case study in how to run a developing economy though. Central planning of a sort (“decentralized planning”) and a high degree of public-private coordination has been used at times by virtually all developed economies today, and anybody who says you develop a country by letting the risk-averse private sector lead is just spouting bullshit.

Sixth, social security. Now this is stuff that most countries implement later on because capitalist elites wildly resent being taxed. However, social democracy tends to produce far higher growth rates than any other system, and generally leads to more satisfied workers who strike less. Lets go through a few things you might want to do:

  • State-guaranteed healthcare. If you have a private healthcare system, either you have people who have to save up large amounts of money to pay for care out of pocket, which puts a drag on demand, or you have insurance companies, drug companies, and doctors in a rentier position, who have every interest in increasing the cost of healthcare as much as possible. Now, if you’re smart and you’re getting your healthcare system in early on, you’ve got one of three choices. You can regulate a market of health insurers, which is probably a bad idea because you’re probably dealing with loads of corruption, so regulations will generally be ineffective. You can build a public system in tandem with the private one, like the NHS, but generally doctors employed by the state won’t be paid competitive prices, which leads to higher quality care in the private system than the public one, like in Mexico. Or you can get a national insurance plan, and use your monopsony power as the sole buyer to pay whatever prices you want for anything. Probably go for the third one. Japan was rather late to start its healthcare system, only getting it in 1961, but it uses a national health insurance plan to keep costs well under control for such an old population.
  • Public housing. You’ve got people flooding in from the countryside now to get at your higher wage industrial jobs. All these people want homes, driving property prices through the roof. Suddenly, your banks prefer to speculate in mortgages rather than invest in factories. What do you do? You subsidize the cost of housing, cooling off the market and giving your people valuable assets they can use as collateral. Plus, the more the state pays for housing, the more people can spend on consumer goods/the less your capitalists have to pay their workers. Hong Kong, where all land is owned by the state, used this to great effect before 1997 (after that, the PRC wanted to get Hong Kong’s elite on their side, so they stopped building public housing, driving up the prices of the rich’s assets. Except now they have protests because young people can’t afford houses, so joke’s on them!). Japan gave its public housing directly to corporations to provide to their employees so that they could foster a creepy family-style level of intimacy among them as a form of social control, which works I guess.
  • Unemployment insurance. Most Neoclassical economists believe that people become unemployed as a bargaining tactic with employers for higher wages. This is to mask that it’s in the short-term interest of capitalists to not pay any unemployment insurance, because then workers are forced to accept any wage given to them to get back to work. This is also an example of capitalists putting short term interest above long term interest. Unemployment interrupts consumption, especially in recessionary periods, but generous use of unemployment benefits can restore consumer demand quickly and make recessions painless. This prevents deflation, which is a much greater threat to an economy than inflation. Workers who are unemployed for long periods of time become deskilled, but can be retrained as part of unemployment insurance distribution, especially if schooling is free. Hiring costs go down if the system is used to connect employees with prospective employers. A more stable economy results. Japan has a very poor quality unemployment insurance system, which is some of the reason it hasn’t been able to recover from the lost decade.
  • Agricultural subsidies, in the form of price floors. To prevent mass unemployment of farmers in times of low prices, the state can buy up a good at a higher price than the market will. By only buying certain goods, you can use this monopsony power to influence the crops grown in the agricultural sector. When loads of farmers go bankrupt in the third world, bad shit happens. The Syrian Civil War in part stems from a quarter of a million farmers who went bankrupt between 2007 and 2011 and then couldn’t get jobs until they were offered money to join rebel groups.

“But nameless untrained political economy enthusiast,” you ask, “if it leads to such a high rate of growth, why would capitalists want to oppose these policies?” Well, it’s because capitalists tend to focus on creating a shorter term stable equilibrium rather than a longer term one, which is why they tend to need a state to whip them into line for any growth to happen in the first place. The problem is, it’s capitalists who have the most control over what states do at any given time, so it’s only in periods of extreme stress that these reforms can occur, like mass strike waves by workers. Hopefully, the theoretical third world nation that you’re developing can avoid that.

Okay, I think I covered everything in the space of a reasonable post. Of course, you can also go anarchist, build a participatory economic planning structure, and democratically decide what to put your social surplus into first, rather than building a whole new economic elite and giving them the levers of power. But if you really want to go capitalist, then this is what you should probably be doing.


Welcome to our new & updated blog. 

We will be posting personal inspiration & photos as well as the latest news of what’s going on at the Tandem design house. I believe that it only allows us to connect more with our friends & followers to have a place like this where we can keep you updated.  Feel free to leave comments, reblog, or just read and take it in.

 All photos are original unless otherwise stated.

With love,

Kelly Tandem

Kelly here.

This weekend [ SUNDAY ]  we will be releasing our newest hat additions to the online store.  They’re pretty bold and graphic, just the way I like it.  Peek at my head above to see a little bit of what I am talking about.  We do not plan on restocking these, so get them while they are here, mine is staying safe above my head.