Rogge's Effect on Trade
By David Henderson
To the direct success we have achieved—the sinking of fifteen ships of more than 100,000 tons aggregate, often with most valuable cargo—should be added the indirect effect on the trade war, such the tying-down of warships and the diversion of merchant ships near the coast, which must have resulted in a higher consumption of fuel and a slower turn-round of the ships. Ships have been compelled to zigzag on moonlight nights and in daytime, ports have been blacked out, lighthouses have been extinguished, booms have been raised at night, even ships that were only working in the Indian Ocean have had to be defensively armed, and alarm and despondency has [sic] spread among native populations. Ships’ crews have been paid danger-money even in the Indian Ocean and the recruiting of crews in the colonies has been impeded. Navigation in narrow coastal waters has been made more difficult, mails have been unreliable and official despatches have been lost. War-insurance rates have risen, the need for extra personnel on ships and in coastal radio-stations has caused a drain in manpower, and the enemy had to send defence units to East Africa and Indian seaports and to allocate mine-sweeping flotillas to them.
This is a quote from Wolfgang Frank and Captain Bernhard Rogge, Under Ten Flags, which I posted about on Tuesday. It’s an excerpt from Rogge’s log, written April 8, 1941, just 9 days before he attacked the Zam Zam.
Read through it again and ask yourself whether his reasoning is logical. I’m not saying that you should apply your ethical standards. But does his economic reasoning make sense? Is he correct that in making it more costly to ship goods between countries, he hurt trade? And does it take much of a stretch of the imagination to see that means that he hurt exporters and importers?
Do you see where I’m going?
Here’s a hint. Noted defender of free trade Henry George once wrote:
What protection teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.