Dining out as cultural trade

By Joel Waldfogel, here is the abstract:

Perceptions of Anglo-American dominance in movie and music trade motivate restrictions on cultural trade. Yet, the market for another cultural good, food at restaurants, is roughly ten times larger than the markets for music and film. Using TripAdvisor data on restaurant cuisines, along with Euromonitor data on overall and fast food expenditure, this paper calculates implicit trade patterns in global cuisines for 52 destination countries. We obtain three major results. First, the pattern of cuisine trade resembles the “gravity” patterns in physically traded products. Second, after accounting gravity factors, the most popular cuisines are Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and American. Third, excluding fast food, the largest net exporters of their cuisines are the Italians and the Japanese, while the largest net importers are the US – with a 2017 deficit of over $130 billion – followed by Brazil, China, and the UK. With fast food included, the US deficit shrinks to $55 billion but remains the largest net importer along with China and, to a lesser extent, the UK and Brazil. Cuisine trade patterns appear to run starkly counter to the audiovisual patterns that have motivated concern about Anglo-American cultural dominance.

For the pointer I thank John Alcorn.


"excluding fast food"
So America is number one! Once again the USA defeats the former Axis powers Italy and Japan.

excluding Christianity and Islam buddhism is the dominant world religion.

Any thoughts on VA making Deepfake nudes illegal? Do we libertarians care about free speech anymore or only when Nazis get deplatformed?


I'm not sure that imagery "proving" I had sex with someone, when I didn't and it was somebody else, falls under the rubric of free speech. It's more like fraud and malicious mischief (that could end someone's marriage).

Revenge porn is usually fake. Its not proof of anything. Deepfake revenge porn is even faker. If that's illegal, then pro wrestling is a form of fraud. There's are some here who believe in the legalization and monetization of blackmail. Deepfakes would be a weird case where it is both fake and could be used for blackmail.

If someone uses it to make that claim, it probably falls under that classification.

If they openly say it's a deepfake, then it doesn't.

Legislation seems to hit both. Going after an entire "Free Speech" phenomenon in order to get a subset is usually classed as a legally problematic infringement of rights.

But then my view here is that people just need to grow up and accept that "computer graphics done got good" to the point where people can do with photorealistic visuals what they have long been able to do with the written word and stylised cartoon visuals, and which we do not really regulate at all (particularly for the written word), and accept that what you see is not always what actually happened.

(How much difference is there between Boris Johnson's Erdogan limerick and a CG "deepfake" version of the same? Not very much, once the general cultural inconsistencies are cleared up. If you believe the former is the justified exercise of free speech, it seems hard to object to t'other as an infringement on rights.)

'and which we do not really regulate at all'

As noted below, libel, slander, and defamation do actually regulate free speech, and to the extent that deepfakes merely represent an extension of these concepts, regulating deepfakes is not exactly a free speech issue (and again to credit Lord-Admiral of the Pyrenees, how such laws are interpreted is important - overreach is certainly possible, and needs to be pushed back against).

Well, it depends on whether the regulation simply treats deepfakes in line with existing material - so long as you say it's not actually real, or it's reasonably implied, or the reasonable person would not expect it to be, it's largely fair game. Or whether there is a different standard being applied.

I'm for consistency here between various forms of media and no special treatment for neural network generated images because they're "too real" or it squicks out some protected class out a bit more than the others. Don't really have a stance or interest in how that level of consistency is applied.

(Although in general, permissiveness seems like it has more benefits for various groups; promiscuous people through more plausible deniability, people considered not conventionally attractive through being able to explore an idealised version of themselves, adventurous people, etc.).

Example of exactly these kind of issues - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-48838659.

Two popstars being depicted in TV in a way that they don't exactly like, in fiction and in cartoon form. (The article, btw, is specific that this is inspired by the fact that lots of teen girls basically write up these sort of stories on the internet, depicting celebrities in relationships that they probably wouldn't want to be depicted in). The legal opinion is that they couldn't sue. Should this be vastly different if more sophisticated computer graphics had been used? It's hard to see why.

You're an idiot. Or obviously someone who wanted to do revenge porn on someone.

Or someone who cares about free speech. I'd love to put a politician's face on one of these and then put it on social media as a meme. Political speech is protected speech, son.

You can do that already in MS Paint to get your point across

I suppose it depends how broadly this is interpreted. If it attempts to criminalize obvious parody then I agree with you but otherwise the charges of idiocy stand.

So, from a free speech perspective, can you explain why Virginia's libel and slander and defamation laws are now somehow no longer applicable when seen as part of a framework that also includes punishing those who generate faked imagery and present it (broadly speaking) as real?

It helps to remember that free speech applies in absolute terms to the truth and to opinions. Lies, not so much.

(And Lord-Admiral of the Pyrenees has the correct point - the interpretation is what matters at this point, as there is no inherent conceptual problem in extending the basic legal concept(s) behind libel and slander and defamation to generated false imagery.)

I'm pretty sure that a group of corporations colluding to restrict a group of people from using their private property based on their personal beliefs has been the biggest libertarian wet dream since those photos of Ayn Rand came out. It's one of the many reasons why libertarianism is inherently an infeasible ideology.

I had some scepticism about identifying "American" cuisine in restaurants that are outside the US, but looking at a few examples on TripAdvisor, it does appear that when a restaurant is listed as such, it does indeed have an identifiably American menu.

But I'm still puzzled by the numbers in the article. It has this passage:

"The most common cuisines vary by country. In China, they are Chinese (30.0%), Asian (6.7%), Cantonese (5.1%), and Japanese (4.7%). In France, they are French (25.7%), European (14.5%), and Italian (5.8%). In the US they are American (17.9%), bar (6.8%), Asian (5.9%), and Italian (5.4%)."

That last sentence seems to say that 18% of the restaurants in the US serve American food, which is absurdly low. (Equally absurd is 30% of the restaurants in China serving Chinese food, and 26% of the restaurants in France serving French food.)

The appendix has numbers that make more sense. Including fast food, the percentages are US 66%, China 71%, and France 45%.

But I don't understand what that passage is trying to measure with those numbers.

Can't access the paper but where does Mexican food rank in the USA? It doesn't even get a mention in your citation nor Tyler's but I think it is pretty popular stateside.

The table in the appendix is hard to interpret, but I think the answer to your question is in the columns of the table, where the numbers are (these are from table 2, which includes fast food):

US 65.6%, Italy 9.3%, China 4.1%, Mexico 4.0%, Japan 2.7%, etc. Yeah, those numbers seem low (and the entire column sums to about 94% although one can imagine that "unknown" could account for the missing 6%).

But those numbers are surely a better answer than what we get from the rows of the table:

US 65.6%, Russia 22.7%, France 14.9%, Germany 13.8%, South Korea 10.5%, etc.

Those numbers presumably are measures of American "exports" into those countries, rather than measures of Americans eating "imports" from those countries.

The table's caption seems to confirm this, saying that the numbers from the rows are for the "origin countries" and the columns are for the "destination countries". It also says "see text for details" where presumably we get an explanation of how to read the table but I'm too busy/lazy to look.

"In the US they are American (17.9%), bar (6.8%), Asian (5.9%), and Italian (5.4%)."

People go to restaurants for food that is good and hard, or at least inconvenient, to make for themselves. So it doesn't surprise me that this light listicle claims:

"A majority of Americans (77 percent) eat ethnic foods while dining out at least once a month, and more than one-third (38 percent) order ethnic food weekly, according to Technomic, a Chicago-based research firm."

(In dividing fast food, are breakfast burritos Mexican? Pineapple pizzas Italian?)

That 17% is restaurants that brand themselves "American". The problem is self branding doesn't necessarliy have too much connection with the food they cook; consider that as "modern European" restaurants in the UK are really often more modern British etc or that in Britain many steak restaurants adopt American branding but don't really sell particularly American food but the same old British chophouse fare.

So the author tries to estimate using conversions from ambiguous and non-ethnic categories into national categories, presuming that every food type is "owned" by a nation (not the product of exchange!), combined with taking self declared "national cuisine" at face value. There's probably a lot of dubious conversion in that - more cosmopolitan and adventurous cultures (or at least ones where national pride and lack of adventure does not centre around food) will be more willing to accept foreign branding, without differences in food being served, etc. You'll also see differences between nations that have less of an eating out culture (Greeks vs Italians for ex) which will have the effect of moving national home dishes into cafes etc.

Speaking of which, imported pasta, parmesan cheese, olive, and whiskey are getting tariffs raised. Why? EU aircraft subsidies. Never understood our tariff system.


Somebody gotta pay for the new Sherman tanks.

What's difficult to understand about a country leveraging its purchasing power to protect its own workers?

We need high-paying jobs manufacturing American aircraft and exporting them to European customers a hell of a lot more than we need cheap ingredients for Italian food.

The fact that the tariffs also happen to help American producers of these goods (particularly whiskey, of which there is no shortage of distilleries here) is icing on the cake.

All free trade has done for us is create a nation of consumers punching the clock at make-work jobs so they can pay foreigners for cheap plastic junk. Nice in theory, less so in practice.

a country leveraging its purchasing power

You mean the government restricting what it's citizens are allowed to buy. "A country" is not an agent capable of intentional acting.

This is only true if you think of countries as arbitrary economic zones with fungible and amorphous populations, rather than the legal construction of a people with a shared lineage, culture, and/or ideology acting to further its own best interests. But then that's the source of the problem, isn't it?

You are wrong both ways, because you don't really have the utilitarian solution. You aren't making a change to make *all* citizens better off. You are penalizing *most* citizens to benefit a *few*.


Now, if you want to protect the few disadvantaged or displaced by international trade, I'm with you on that. There are just much better ways to do it.


Again, that depends on whether you self-identify as an American citizen or an independent economic meatbag unit of the United States Economic Zone and Discount Shopping Outlet.

One might say I am in fact better off if my neighbor / cousin / fellow Pastafarian has a better job, or a job at all. You don't even have to be all sentimental for that to be true, the money that he makes stays local and can be used to purchase ill-considered blog post comments or whatever it is that you produce, thus enriching yourself.

It's in fact entirely possible that this is worth the higher amount you pay to import goods from foreign strangers who hate you and don't give a flip about anything you do that isn't giving them money, especially considering that you might instead consider giving your patronage to more of your neighbors / cousins / fellow Pastafarians. Perhaps the tariff itself is just your government (again, the sum total of you and your neighbors / cousins / fellow Pastafarians) giving you a gentle reminder of this simple reality.

Now of course, if your neighbor is just one of those foreigners who hate you and just arrived in your economic zone last week to make whatever money he can off you before leaving for greener pastures in the next recession, then you would be entirely justified in not wanting to pay a penalty to help him on behalf of a government also run by foreigners who hate you and are just trying to extract whatever economic value they can from you before you die. But yet again, you might do well to consider whether that is the source of the problem.

But if you buy your cheap crap from the CHinese, you will have more money left over to pay your fellow Pastafarians to do something that is actually useful instead of making cheap plastic crap that you could just as easily purchase from a Chinese person. And if they are doing something that is actually useful, instead of a fake job that only exists because of government intervention, then their lives will have more purpose and meaning.

Money staying in the country > money going out of the country. I typically am on board with the argument that we don't need to be doing the low-skill, low-wage work here, except for two reasons:

1) We are throwing open the borders to all sorts of folks that have been doing the low-skill, low-wage work in the countries they came from; and

2) We are apparently on the verge of an automation apocalypse where we don't even need people to produce the cheap plastic crap anyway.

In case 2) we would have even more spare cash to go around paying people for services that cannot be imported, like massage therapy.

Which would you rather have:
(a) a society where all of the low-skill low-wage work is performed by robots and everyone spends their money on spa treatments.
(b) a society where you pay through the nose for groceries so that check-out line attendants can have jobs scanning bar-codes.

The question is how realistic that scenario is. Not everyone can be a massage therapist and not everyone needs six massages a day. As it stands, the trajectory is towards a nation with a permanent underclass getting their weekly allowance from the government to buy disposable goods produced by robots owned by oligarchs, not necessarily because robots are going to take all the jobs but just because that is the most efficient money laundering arrangement for both the oligarchs and the government. This is the sort of thing that happens when you let notions like free trade, cheap labor, and stock prices override indicators of the actual health of your economy.

There's no law saying only oligarchs can own robots. Patents only last 20 years.

There's no law saying only oligarchs can own, for example, social media networks either, yet here we are.

Human nature has a lowest common denominator and the open-borders, free-trade agenda panders to it. People who have been loyal followers all along aren't suddenly going to discover agency when the robot overlords take over, especially once the UBI pittance starts rolling in.

Hope you have enough food in your pantry to last 20 years, though.

The solutions generally tend to involve "fake" jobs - various varieties of "service" that only exist because of weird regulatory codes! It's hard to argue that a steelwork job that exists because of market distortion at the border is less real than many jobs that exist because of weird regulatory code distortions within a state.

Or they involve direct transfers to the unemployed, which it's hard to argue are more efficient than protecting trade. anonymous above tries, but I don't think this is a serious argument. They're probably hedonically worse and create resentment and dependency.

But the serious arguments for protection and management of trade are that it simply isn't a good idea to nurture competing, hostile authoritarianism through "free" trade, offering some pablum that the politically liberal systems will simply "win out" through the free market. There's absolutely no guarantee that a free market will concentrate growth and advances in liberal democratic societies (those being the lucky result of political bargaining, not an competitively optimal form to compete in the free market). Even if that were so (which it is not), there's no way that it's worth the risk of strengthening aggressively opposing regimes for gain in efficiency which are small at the work productivity frontier.

Though these questions are actually a good litmus test to tell if a person is more of a libertarian or simply an "anti-nationalist". "Anti-nationalists" will be much more against restrictions between trade for nationalist goals than they are for reducing all "fake jobs" and transfers as a whole. Even when they seem to be against using arguments of being against inefficient "fake jobs" to do so!

If a person gives responses which strongly decry "fake jobs" created by trade restrictions, but is rather ambivalent on creating fake "diversity officer" positions by promoting ethnic minority groups, then it's probably the case that they're mostly motivated by being against majoritarian cultural and ethnic nationalism, much less than they are any sort of pure-minded free marketeer robot against "fake jobs" on the groups of deviation from pure market efficiency.

This argument might work for a local community, but it makes no sense when applied to the United States because the Fed can create as much money as it wants. If there isn’t enough money in the US to be a medium of exchange, that’s a monetary policy issue not a trade issue.

That brings up the question of whether we ought to be printing money in the first place, or more specifically, whether printing money in order to send it overseas in return for cheap goods is in itself a sustainable economic model (as opposed to one propped up by petrodollars).

Besides, I thought libertarians were on the crypto train.

The money supply should expand to make sure there is enough medium of exchange around. And there is no sign that us printing money to buy goods from foreigners is unsustainable. To the contrary, the value of the dollar has gone up substantially in recent years. And contrary to what many think, Americans actually earn more money from foreign assets than foreigners earn on American assets. It’s a fantastic deal for us—we own over a third of all global wealth despite having 5% of the population.

I’m no expert on crypto and it doesn’t seem ready for prime time, though I do think a workable crypto that displaces the dollar would be good for the world (while being bad for America).

How could you miss my argument so completely?

You aren't making a change to make *all* citizens better off. You are penalizing *most* citizens to benefit a *few*.

Do you not understand that American consumers pay the tariffs? Do you not understand that this creates a kind of transfer from shoppers to benefited workers? Do you not understand this is inefficient?

For years the US maintained an internal sugar price well above the world price. That meant all of us paid more (insert your crazy words about "meatbags" if you want) to benefit sugar growers. We had less money to spend elsewhere, on dentists for instance!

Coincidentally I find this after I wrote that:

If US Sugar Tariffs Make Americans Poorer Then Donald Trump's Tariffs Will Make Americans What?

Let me answer your questions with two more questions:

1) Do you believe your job is most efficiently performed when you are performing it?

2) How much purchasing power are you going to have if you don't have that job?

It seems there are a lot of people on here who either assume a) they are the cheapest option available to their employers and customers; b) their pay cuts are going to match their decreased cost of living; and/or c) UBI is going to save their behinds, because that's the only way you maintain a nation of consumers when you ship all of their jobs out to more efficient economies (other than the current strategy of printing money and printing government regulations to keep people busy at following them).

Let's say you could outsource your own job to China, like this guy:


Bob had hired a programming firm in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang to do his work. His helpers half a world away worked overnight on a schedule imitating an average 9-to-5 workday in the United States. He paid them one-fifth of his six-figure salary, according to Verizon.

Followed promptly by his employer firing him, hiring the Chinese at the same rate he was paying them, and pocketing the difference. Well played, smart guy.

So which would you choose.
A) Force the employer to keep employing this guy at his size figure salary.
B) Let the employer hire the chinese guy, tax 50% of the profit, and give it to the former employee. Who then gets ~40% of his former salary for doing nothing, and is free to get another job on top of it.

I'm confused as to how keeping an American citizen employed at an American company serving American customers is an abhorrent infringement of corporate rights yet letting them hire Chinese workers but taxing the hell out of them to pay an American citizen to do absolutely nothing for them is A-OK.

I'm also confused as to how the tax itself is not effectively a tariff on labor, which I thought was the government restricting what its citizens are allowed to buy.

I'm also also confused as to why this wouldn't incentivize the company to just find someone to work for 60% of what they were paying this guy, since it seems the crux of the matter was that he was massively overpaid to begin with (although in today's world they'd probably lobby for more H-1B visas)

I do appreciate your insinuation that the government could administer a redistribution program with zero deadweight losses, however. We all need some humor in our day.

The point is not the exact numbers. It's that hiring the Chinese guy is more efficient, and it's possible to arrange something that would permit both the former US employee and the corporation to benefit from the more efficient economic arrangement. In option (B) both the company and the citizen get to keep some of the gains from trade for themselves. The net effect of the tax is less of a cost than the cost of being compelled to employ the US worker, and thus less of an infringement on their liberty.
And of course writ large what this indicates is that transfer payments are better because you preserve the gains from trade and compensate the losers so they get some of those gains without having to work for them.

If America has a shared culture and ideology, it's that people ought to be able to pursue happiness. Not "the national interest", whatever that means. Talk about burning the village in order to save it.

Nobody is stopping you from buying American. What we object to is forcing this duty down everyone else's throats.

Arbitrary economic zone it is! Thanks for your insight, Fellow Purchasing Agent #168,201,422!

Also, it's much nicer to be a consumer than a producer.

Only if you include in those consumables anti-depressants, dopamine-releasing fast food, and porn. We've lost our way because we've chosen a life of meaningless decadence over purpose and the drive to make a difference.

Because working in make-work factory jobs where you stamp the same metal part repeatedly, for hours on end, is so full of meaning and purpose. Also, we need to make our plastic crap in America, because it's meaningful, instead of buying it from the Chinese.

I'd personally much rather stamp a part all day than be an HR rep or work in virtually any government job. At least you have something tangible to show for your efforts at the end of the day.

Of course I had in mind more of the old-school artisan vocations for goods but I would not expect someone whose primary purpose is to consume to be have that much discretion about what he consumes.

Of course I had in mind more of the old-school artisan vocations for goods

You're right. Down with mass production. Only fine, handcrafted shoes for everyone. Let's bring back the guild system while we are at it.

Wouldn't you rather have a pair of fine, hand-crafted shoes made by your neighbor than disposable Nikes sewn together half a world away? Heck, the price difference probably wouldn't even be that much.

The point you're missing is that human capital is as important to economic health and quality of life as regular capital. Most Americans don't know how to produce anything as a result of their jobs but TPS reports and Candy Crush high scores. You can pretend this is okay because you can still pay to have all your plastic trinkets imported to you but ultimately this makes you beholden to the system that allows it as well as to the nations that produce the actual goods for you. Furthermore, your government is importing immigrants to displace you from your role as mindless consumer because they can do it without the Zoloft prescription, i.e., they're more efficient.

The alternative here would be to acknowledge the reality that a first-world society full of consumers only is not a sustainable economic model, and act accordingly.

(I am 100% unironically in favor of guilds, though)

Are you fucking kidding me? Have you looked at the prices for handmade shoes ? At least $100 a pair. AT LEAST.

Indeed, it's worse than that. Serious backpackers know about Limmer boots, custom-made in New Hampshire for $650-$750 a pair (and that was 10 years ago: https://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/0622/entrepreneurs-peter-limmer-footwear-bootstrapped.html#69b5fdd9167f).

Those are heavy duty backpacking boots, which are more expensive than ordinary shoes. But even heavy full-leather backpacking shoes such as say Vasque Sundowners cost just $220 (less if on sale), 1/3 of what Limmers cost.

Handmade stuff is very expensive in an economy where people can make more money working at just a regular job.

You can buy handmade woven items from artisans in Santa Fe and Taos NM. But even as expensive as they are, they use machine-made yarn. Some of the artisans occasionally spin their own yarn, but it's an exceedingly time-consuming process, so much so that if they tried to make items made only from homespun yarn they'd be able to make only a handful a year -- and thus would have to charge a ridiculously high price to make enough revenue to survive.

Yes. Mass production exists for a reason. Sorry to say, but mass production jobs are boring and not particularly meaningful, but it also happens to be the most efficient way to produce a shit ton of things like shoes so that you can sell them for $20 a pair.

Shark Laser sounds like my idiot Marxist sister who thinks that we should save the planet by going back to some sort of agrarian socialist economy where everyone lives on organic farms and makes artesianal cheese in their quaint cottages that are not at all disease ridden despite having no refrigeration or air conditioning.

We'll just bring back the guild system and everyone will have jobs making artesianal handmade clothing. And we'll spend our winter huddling together for warmth and fending off wolves, which will build a strong sense of community! It will be great!

Aren't we all libertarian economists here? Production has to precede consumption. Free trade existed, to the extent it ever did, when Italian merchants traded gold ducats with Damascenes for silk and the books had to balance. Government and central bank footprints are impossible to disentangle from international trade at this point. "Free trade" is one of those idealized, academic concepts, like "cheap labor."

In practice, every study of tariffs that has been done shows that the harm to consumers is wildly disproportionate to the job gains, often close to $1 million per job.

So I don't forget, here is a study of the balance of payments among the states. https://rockinst.org/issue-areas/fiscal-analysis/balance-of-payments-portal/ What's striking is how few states pay more in federal taxes than they receive from the federal government; or stated inversely, how many states receive more from the federal government than they pay to the federal government. Do you live in a moocher state? One will notice that the states that complain the most about federal government spending are the biggest moochers. Correlation or causation?

Not sure what this is doing here but states do not pay taxes to the federal government, nor generally do they receive taxes from it. rayward's data basically shows where billionaires live.

This blog post is about the balance of trade in cuisine; the linked study is about the balance of federal tax tax payments and federal government spending (who gives and who gets) among the states. Duh.

Given that the US routinely runs trillion dollar deficits, I'd be surprised if any state paid more in taxes, than received in spending.

One might also notice that the states you consider to be the biggest moochers have high proportions of certain demographic groups residing in them.

Aside from that, the irony of coastal progressives using the redistributive policies they voted into place as a bludgeon against "the [people] who complain the most about federal spending" is not lost on myself at least. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

According to the link, the four states that get more than twice what they put in are Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, and West Virginia. What demographic groups do these four states have in common?

Working class white people.

Upper class white people too. (That's the thing about being a majority, you've been everywhere, man).


For all this talk about California vs Texas, it's interesting that they're both pretty close to break-even states. California BOP is 0.1%, Texas 3.0%.

Well, I guess California is a little more pulling it's own weight.

That is to say that it's pulling a bit more of the weight that it loaded up on its and Texas' shoulders.

If more Texans were running the show it's entirely possible Californians would be pulling hardly any weight at all, if any, but then again if this were the case then there wouldn't be any opportunity for virtue-signaling by Californians.

Ray, you live in FL, correct? How many new Yorkers there who paid their SS in NY and retired to FL and receive all their payments there? The link you provide is interesting, but should not be showing contracts and wages. This is just the Feds paying for something they receive value for. It's like saying FL is getting money because an Air Force base is there. No, the Feds are purchasing something, and FL makes sense for a base because it is a lower cost state.

I don't find these balance of payments charts particularly enlightening. New York has such a high balance of payments because, unsurprisingly, a lot of huge banks are headquartered in new York City, and they pay a lot in taxes. The fact that Wall Street is in NYC has nothing to do with the policies of New York's government - it's a historical accident that predates the 20th century. Most of those banks have branches all over the country, but the profits and taxes are credited to New York.
Same for California. It gets credited for the fact that a lot of tech companies are headquartered there, but Google has operations all over the US. I think a straight analysis of how much federal aid per capita is received per state would be more enlightening. Broken down by social welfare and total spending would also be more interesting.
It just doesn't make a lot of sense to count up the total federal taxes paid by national companies in the states balance sheet, just based on the location of the headquarters.

This is another way of making my point. States don't pay taxes to the federal government, and by and large federal aid is not apportioned by state. In other words, rayward is peddling fraudulent misinformation.

What looks like states paying a lot of taxes is simply an indicator of where high-income individuals and corporations are located. rayward is showing you where billionaires happen to live; the tax policy implications of this information are completely meaningless.

There used to be one legitimate way on which certain states were moochers off of others -- setting high state tax rates, knowing that their citizens would be subsidized by the citizens of other states via the state and local tax deduction. Presumably rayward thinks that President Trump acted commendably in securing the elimination of this largely regressive inequality.

How does cuisine imports or exports translate in economic terms?

I mean, when a new MacDonalds opens in Beijing some part of its revenues will flow to MacDonalds in the US but when a new mom-and-pop Chinese restaurant opens in Washington DC will some of its revenues will flow back to mainland China?

That is really the diffeence between cuisine and other forms of cultural products (music and movies... and US fast food joints). While the former imply money flows from the "importing" to the "exporting" countries, the latter won't.

Cultural trade? I guess this is not about money flows.

That’s true, although people usually try to justify restrictions on cultural imports on cultural preservation rather than economic grounds.

In any event MacDonalds is Scottish cuisine, not American. You can tell by the name. ;)

It's sort of Scottish-German really. I don't see any head cheese on the menu.

And Belgian for a major item on the menu.

Wouldn't that be Peruvian-Belgian fusion?

Hey, I'm Scottish-German too! It's the best ethnicity to have.

A month ago I was in a Mexican restaurant owned and operated by a guy from Pakistan. Is this a Mexican cultural export?

Lots of Japanese and Korean are operated by the Chinese.

What does net export means in this context if neither the know-how or the ingredients come from the origin countries?

This brings up another facet of the equation, which is that the cultural exports that come to America are both the people and the customs they bring. The ethnic food may not be exported in the sense of being exported from the location it supposedly represents, but it is authentic in the sense that the person making it is from somewhere else and it represents what they came up with upon becoming an American.

I guess that's great for personal growth, entrepreneurship, etc.

A pizza that is not a pizza because someone believed one day he could cook pizzas, is it a true cultural export?

Cooking can be learnt and copied. But, is it possible to copy something if you have never tasted the real thing? Of course, I'm not taking about proving your ancestry 5 generations ago to be able to make a pizza, but a 6 month / 1 year internship with someone who knows should be a minimum.

For me, there must be a link between master and apprentice for cultural transmission. It can be either cooking with your mother or a restaurant apprenticeship. If there's no link, it is not a cultural export. It is the creation of something new and the world would be a better place if people created new words to name their creations.

Requisite specificity, per favore: if "Anglo-American dominance in movie and music trade" has/have been perceived globally, the globe has surely been deceived.

"Anglo-American dominance in bad movies and saccharine pop music"--ehhh, a different story waits to be told. (revelatory pop songs about the industry in the wings? some brave animation feature in production "to keep it real"?)

Now: are the world's films and pop music so poor because American movie and music producers have corrupted global perceptions of and tastes for good films and substantive music? --or is real life just not giving contemporary producers any stories or material substantive to produce or promote?

The real tragedy is that we had the opportunity to use our creative industries to promote the values that made our national culture so enviable in the first place but instead we sell sex, violence, and degeneracy instead. Small wonder the rest of the world hates us. But who exactly is flying the plane here?

It is probably caused by a lack of musical innovations. The music industry still relies heavily on samples from 1960s to early 1980s.

The current world based on American movies as the champion exporters *looks* bad compared to our fantasy world where otherwise everyone would be watching Jodorowsky's Dune, our favourite Hong Kong / Taiwanese art film that we revere above all others, etc. And especially if those were given fantasy level budgets.

But less if we dismally compare it to the real world: Less Tarantino and Spielberg just means more Jon Luc Besson. Fewer Marvel movies simply means The Great Wall and (China funded) World of Warcraft movie actually being a big commercial success. Kind of a worse world.

(Personally less interested in US movies as less interest in US's cultural psychology, especially in today's Social Justice Warrior dominated era. But seems like Americans generate, on the whole, greater "quality" at any given level of commercial constraints and format ("Blockbusters", taut little thrillers, etc).).

A lot of this is probably artefact of method;

Scorsese films are probably classed as "American", but "Pizza Hut" and "Dominos" counts as an export from Italy? While Hollywood genre style films produced in Korea count as Korean? Seems neither solid nor sound.

Similarly, we could ask why katsu curry might be considered Japanese rather than a Portuguese+British import as it is. (And the same for various Yōshoku, Chinese naturalised Japanese dishes like ramen etc.)

Adjusting for openness to migration and population size (particularly historical population size) also matters. Net of "gravity" small countries, particularly historically small countries, that receive high immigration should have more "imported" foods, but that's not really an import as much as Italians in America eating wholly locally produced Italian food, etc.

You could probably argue that the opposite, that this demonstrates which countries are able to successfully catch up to reproduce production of food from other countries in their nation (as reflecting a competitive advantage).

Not that I really believe there is a solid or sound way to do this! Of course there's probably something *real* at base (e.g. Italian pasta really is somewhat more divergent and innovative from generalized European traditions of bread, stew and grilled meat that largely obtain even in Spain and France), but I can't imagine you can get a good method to look at it.

Fair point, but I think the more convincing response to claims of cultural imperialism via media, fast food etc is not to focus on the prevalence of “ethnic food” as an “export,” but instead to focus on the fact that America is largely comprised of people that were “exported” so to speak. The fact of Italian prevalence in restaurants is less due to exports of food by Italian companies and more due to Italian immigrants cooking Italian as best they could and Americans liking it and imitating it. In short, who needs the Italian stuff when you can just bring in the Italians.

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