The existence of nukes essentially made wars between super powers obviously unprofitable, hence eliminate one of the main motivation of war. However there are still beliefs that trade wars could be profitable, hence we see trade wars happen more often than we'd like, which has caused substantial damage to all parties directly or indirectly involved.

How could we implement an assured financial mutual destruction mechanism similar to nukes to also render the profitability of trade wars impractical? And how would you demo it Hiroshima-style to convince its effectiveness?

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    The answer to that seems hypothetical, as in theory it doesn't exist yet. – user29681 May 17 '20 at 20:38
  • @Chipster So political constructs are not allowed to be invented any more? – user3528438 May 17 '20 at 20:41
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    Oh no, they certainly are. It's just we don't usually allow questions with hypothetical answers on this site. We try to answer things as factually as we can here. Hypothetical scenarios usually draw opinions for answers. It's not that hypothetical answers or constructs aren't useful, it's just not a good fit for the way our site is designed. – user29681 May 17 '20 at 20:44
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    Well, financial MAD already exists - in case of total trade war both the economies of US and China would lie in ruins . – rs.29 May 18 '20 at 7:07
  • @rs.29 [citation needed] – Fizz May 19 '20 at 3:54

I don't think the comparison with nukes is very useful when it comes to trade. The are lots of sub-optimal things (some) people do and you can't treat everything in that regard like the world is going to end (because of it).

The usual economic theory is that trade wars (and protectionism in general) aren't usually profitable except to a minority [in each country], who benefits from the protectionism. (Alas the interaction of that with politics, e.g. a swing minority, has not been enough explored--quantitatively--in my view, although plenty of things have been written qualitatively about that, e.g.)

Perhaps a more apt comparison (of sub-optimal policies being a world threat) would involve global warming being profitable to fossil fuel (vested interests) etc. Unsurprisingly, less trade and economic activity also means less global warming as recent data has shown during the Covid-19 lockdowns and travel bans. So, in some sense, one could say it's even the other way around when it comes to trade because "economic apocalypse" and "ecological apocalypse" are not necessarily the same thing. (Although in a all-out nuclear war they are both likely to happen. In fact any "big enough" ecological catastrophe will also mean economic catastrophe.)

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