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The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast
The slow one now, will later be fast
As the present now, will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now, will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'

~ Bob Dylan (1964) The Times They Are A-Changin'

We used to laugh, smug in our "American exceptionism" whenever we saw cheap goods with the stamp "Made in Japan" or "Made in China". American workers had always thought of themselves and their country far superior in every way. We belonged to labor unions and had job security and healthcare. We were patriotic and waved our flag and sang "God Bless America". We were proud to be American. Our parents used to tell us to eat all our vegetables because people were starving in China.

My, have the times changed. Establishing democracy in South Korea, Japan and Germany after World War II was one thing...even going so far as to paying war reparations to GM after bombing their factories in Hitler's Deutschland. But then after we lost the Vietnam War, our major industries immediately started the escalation of outsourcing ever more jobs to India and Asia.

For decades we believed the great urban myth of American business history, that the head of GM once said “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” If the boss wanted to cut our hours or pay, we took a hit for the team, thinking that if that's what it took keep our employer's business viable and "competitive" in a global market, then so be it, we'd make the "shared sacrifice" to remain #1 in the world.

For the past 40 years we believed in the "trickle-down" economy, believing in a "shared prosperity". We allowed corporate America to destroy the labor unions and influence our congressional leaders to do what was only best for their profits, and not for the American people. Now the American workers have learned to their chagrin that they have been the laughing stock of the whole world.

Two years ago a former president of the World Bank Group had made a stunning admission and told us what we may have already known for years -- or a least, had suspected deep down in the pit of our stomachs, but had remained in denial -- that America was indeed in decline.

"And the first one now, will later be last" --- and now today the Chinese are mocking us. And we have no one to blame but our leaders. We can't blame ourselves because they all lied to us.

At YouTube there is an 18-minute long  video with over a million hits so far. It was posted in May of 2011. The former and 9th World Bank president, Sir James David Wolfensohn, is giving a lecture to what appears to be a group of college students. Wolfensohn is describing the changing world demographics of the population and the current economic changes that have been taking place, describing it as "tectonic shifts".

He says China and India will dominate the world markets by 2050 and have the most people in what we call the middle-class, with Europe and America in decline.

Wolfensohn had said that by as early as 2016 China is predicted to overtake the U.S. in GDP --- and by 2050 China will have a billion people in their middle-class.

This is what's happened since European and American-based "multi-national" corporations erased the national borders in their quest for profits, enabling growing populations in Asia and Africa to dominate the labor force by using low wages.

And Wolfensohn notes that there are far more people from China and India studying here in our schools than there are Americans in theirs.

He also notes that at first it was manufacturing that had left the Western economies to move to Asia and India, and then it was the service industries, and now it's the technology-based industries that are shifting more and more to China and India. Wolfensohn describes this as "tragic".

Earlier this month, the current World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim outlined a bold agenda for the global community toward ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting "shared prosperity" to boost the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of the population in each country.

The Next Step in Corporate Globalization

The Obama administration is now pursuing a new free trade agreement with the European Union that would grant corporations new political power to challenge an array of regulations both at home and abroad.

While the plan is still in its early stages, the effort alarms consumer and environmental advocates who worry it will lead to a rollback of important rules and put multinational companies on the same political plain as sovereign nations. If states are unable to pass and enforce laws within their own borders, it could change the nature of their community and government.

Exactly how broad these corporate political powers will be is undetermined, but one aspect of the agreement, known as investor-state dispute resolution, would allow a company to appeal a regulatory rule or law to an international court, most likely the World Bank. The international body would be given authority to impose economic sanctions against any country that violated its verdict, including the United States.

Phillip Morris already sues sovereign nations, as does Coke, to impose their will and agenda on others.

Here in Las Vegas

Three years after the recession "officially" ended in June 2010, the U-3 unemployment rate is Las Vegas is still 10.2% (much higher if you count the "discouraged workers" in the U-6 rate and those that the Bureau of Labor Statistics no longer tracks after one year.)

But Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson doesn't earn most of his profits here in America (like many other major U.S. corporations now don't); Adelson now derives 60% of his profits from the growing middle-class in China, where he owns four casinos.

Matthew Maddox, chief financial officer for Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas, says the Las Vegas casinos "overly rely on 150 international customers willing to wager millions of dollars." The casino owners call these high-rollers whales, and the casinos' major customers come from China and Mexico.

Sheldon Adelson and his wife had donated an unprecedented $100 million to Mitt Romney and other Republican causes last year --- and Adelson is now currently testifying in a lawsuit against him -- while also being under investigation for bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act regarding his casinos in China. (Wal-Mart is also under investigation for bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for bribes in Mexico, India and China.)

But no, regarding our middle-class, we weren't imagining anything --- our great nation really is in decline, as we've witnessed first hand and became more aware of since the Great Recession. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and grocer, has cut so many employees that it no longer has enough workers to stock its shelves properly.

The Worse Case Scenario

Will we eventually see people waiting in lines to buy toilet paper by 2050? Because if Sir James David Wolfensohn (the former World Bank president) is correct, by 2050 America could very well be a third world nation - - - or as I like to say, the "new emerging market". (See the links below for other related posts I've written on this subject.)

If all 150 million Americans in the work force had a STEM education, it wouldn't make one bit of difference; because at this rate, we'd still be eventually left with nothing but jobs shining shoes for $1 a hour --- or worse, subsisting on Soylent Green.

The only question remains: Will we go out with a whimper, silent into the night? Or will we go out with a big bang, like many people in Europe have been doing?

START DIATRIBE --/ What will happen after the richest .01% has hoarded 99.99% of all available wealth in world? Who will work and who will buy things? Will we all be living underground by then, while they live above in the sun light, as we slave for them on ancient machines in dark, damp and cold caves to provide them with all their worldly goods? Is that what they think Utopia will eventually be? Will they finally be content after slaughtering the rest us in their class war? /--END DIATRIBE

CONGRESS SOLD OUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

China's Greatest Generation and the Chinese Dream

China on Track to Pass America as #1

Chinese Wages Too High - Now Hiring Robots


Albert Einstein's Job Outsourced to China

As America Declines, China Emerges


Why all Major U.S. Corporations Should Move to China

Will the U.S. be the Next New "Emerging Market"?

Secret Trade Agreement Subjects Taxpayers to Foreign Corporations.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rise of China I don't see as necessarily bad . . . (9+ / 0-)

    or inevitable.  There are still some serious structural problems in China in terms of politics that could put the skids on growth.  But let's say that there are 1 billion Chinese in the middle class in 40 years.  As has happened almost everywhere, when the middle class reaches a critical mass it tends to push for democratic reforms.  Additionally, those Chinese consumers are going to have money to spend on goods and services -- many of which might be made in the USA.  There is no such thing as "free trade" -- only "trade agreements".  But it wouldn't be a net loss for the U.S. if Chinese consumers have the ability to purchase American made goods.

    A number of these same arguments could have been made about the United States in the first part of the 20th century and into the middle part of the 20th century with respect to Europe.  Yet, the end result hasn't been wide-spread poverty in Europe.  European economies have also continued to grow -- at least prior to the most recent economic crisis -- and trade works in both directions.

    There are other issues that you touch on related to the concentration of wealth, which present a serious problem for developed, industrialized democracies.  Globalization has created some real challenges, but trade in and of itself I don't see as the problem.  The issue I see as at least partly due to domestic issues -- the role that money plays in our own politics and the distorting impact that this money has on policy.

    The agreements that govern those trade relations are an issue, and the rules that govern financial transactions are the big issue -- all of those reflect the distortions that money in our political system plays.  But these things aren't necessarily zero-sum with China getting richer and the U.S. getting poorer.  The problem is that the gains from trade aren't being shared equitably within the U.S.  This, once again, relates back to our own politics more than anything else -- not so much because the Chinese economy is growing.

    •  I see our decline as stemming from our (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NotGeorgeWill

      increasing view of ourselves as servants of the wealthy.  Servants can only accomplish so  much (and it usually isn't much), and they ultimately don't care if they are serving wealthy americans, brits, chineese, or columbians.  A servant is a servant is a servant.  This attitudes also makes the country irrelevant (a further source of decline).

      Corny as it sounds, until "the people" change their views of how to live, all that will be accomplished is swapping one feudal lord for another.

      To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

      by ban48 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:43:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the U.S., I think it's much more subtle . . . (0+ / 0-)

        when was there a big public debate about "bankruptcy reform", for example, or the carried interest loophole, or incentives to create and use off-shore tax havens?

        These things were never a big part of any political campaign.  But these were priorities of wealthy individuals and business lobbies in between political campaigns.

        Most voters aren't consulted on these issues.  They aren't even aware of these issues.  They plug in during elections and then largely tune out in between them.

        The real work is done in between elections and the only people who tend to have full time lobbies and lobbyists in place in between campaigns -- people who do the most to finance political campaigns and who provide post-political employment for politicians, their staff, and in many case employment for family of politicians are the ones who get the attention.  

        If these issues were debated more openly, and voters generally had an easier way to keep score, I suspect a lot of politicians would be reluctant to vote as they do.

        •  I don't know. There is a strong knee-jerk (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NotGeorgeWill

          reaction to 'protect the rights of the wealthy'.  I'm surrounded by degreed professionals who buy the right-wing memes hook-line-and-sinker and are unwilling to question the structure of our society.  These are the people with the education and ability who would have to lead the change.  Maybe the secretly think they have more to lose than gain.  Maybe the structure of our education has reinforced too much the "you tell me what to do and I'll do it better than the next guy so I get the 'A' / 'job'" approach to life.

          To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

          by ban48 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 07:11:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's something to this . . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban48

            Much of the mass media is occupied by people in the very, very top income tier, and the coverage of economic issues tends to reflect the attitudes of that particular world, which keeps moving further and further away from the median voter.

            So for people who are casually interested in policy, I think that they are maybe less inclined to understand or engage with the policy issues beyond the boiler-plated version that gets reported.  Maybe, in their own lives, these folks are somewhat sheltered as well, or simply unaware of what things are like for a large number of Americans.  Maybe they don't care.

            Still, when it comes to how things are actually done in DC, it is important to underscore that more money is spent lobbying Congress in between elections than gets spent on elections.  The political process and legislative process is so complicated, that unless a person has a serious avocation and follows these issues closely (at an absolute minimum), he or she won't understand how certain kinds of policies are put into law.

            e.g. Right now we are talking about tax "reform".  In 1986 there was a big spotlight on closing loopholes.  Initially that worked, but then later these loopholes get reinserted when the public attention is focused somewhere else.  If these lobbies really were confident they might expend the capital to try to sell these kind of moves, but you only tend to see that on the really big policy debates -- things like Medicare and Social Security -- where there is strong resistance to certain kinds of changes.  Financial Reform is similar.  When these issues were being debated, there was a fairly fierce public fight in order to get even a watered-down piece of legislation.  However, even more money has been spent by the industry post-legislation in an effort to kill the law by a thousand cuts.  Most of these actions are not playing out in the public spotlight.

            So while there is made some degree of intellectual capture on the part of voters, in terms of political incentives for politicians, I think they tend to prioritize certain issues because there is no real counter-balancing force against organized, deep pocketed special interest lobbies.  So many of these items don't even enter the public debate (e.g. look at the "Monsanto Protection Act").  This provision was put into a piece of legislation, no politician wanted to attach their name to it, yet there it is, and it passes.  There isn't a real public debate.  It is just put into the law.

  •  Simplistic historiography is always wrong. (4+ / 0-)

    The world's largest and most rapidly growing economy in the 1960s was not the United States - it was the Soviet Union.  I'm not saying the US will always be on top of the pyramid, but the idea of China being on a perpetual course toward world domination has no basis other than mere extrapolation of trends that has never in history produced accurate consensus predictions.

    China's problems are far vaster, more fundamental, and more intractable than our silly, self-inflicted ones, and its advantages are largely the result of maintaining huge trade imbalances in perpetuity - i.e., forcing the rest of the world to subsidize growth it's not capable of internally sustaining.  Moreover, its technologies are all overwhelmingly bought, copied, or stolen from the West for decades because both its stifling social environment and suffocating politics makes the kind of sustained, disruptive, blue-sky innovation that the US has excelled at virtually impossible internally.

    The East has a historical pattern: It advances a certain distance, stops, and then just stagnates until something external changes.  The West is different - we froth bubbles of Republic, Empire, and then Chaos.  But, you can't know in advance or even presently which of the three we're headed for, because all three are relative and overlap to some extent.

    The United States for most of its history, including in the 20th century, has lived under some shadow or other, but it never held us back.  A small new country crouching furtively in the melee between huge European empires; a big but still developing country that couldn't hope to match the industrial, technological, and economic power of Europe; a superpower, but still living in the shadow of Soviet economic and military might.  We were only undisputedly on top for a couple of decades while the world caught up.  It's not a big deal.

    Going faster miles an hour, with the radio on.

    by Troubadour on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 12:42:30 AM PDT

  •  I'm thinking (2+ / 0-)

    since almost 40% of the worlds population is either Indian or Chinese, that they will have a major influence in the future. The US will fade like all empires before it. We had our fun in the sun. It's someone else's turn.

  •  On one hand student loan debt has surpassed... (3+ / 0-)

    ...credit card debt, on the other hand;

    A record number of international students - 690,923 - are now studying at colleges and universities in the United States.

    The influx of international students is hardly new. Since 2006, every college admission cycle has attracted more foreign students who are eager to study in the United States.

    Chinese students are the biggest source of international students by far, according to the annual Open Doors report conducted by the Institute of International Education. For the 2009-2010 school year, Chinese student enrollment in U.S. colleges jumped an astonishing 30%. As you can see from the list below, no other country comes close to exporting as many young people to America for college.

    International Students: Top 20 Countries of Origin
    China 690,923
    India 127,628
    South Korea 72,153
    Canada 28,145
    Taiwan 26,685
    Japan 24,842
    Saudi Arabia 15,810
    Mexico 13,450
    Vietnam 13,112

    The numbers may not add up.  But here is another source;
    Some 671,616 international students attended U.S. institutions in 2008-9, an increase of almost 8 percent from a year earlier. First-time-student enrollments grew even more robustly, by nearly 16 percent.

    But the rosy data highlighted in the annual "Open Doors" report may obscure some potentially worrisome trends. Though graduate programs typically rely more on international students, enrollment grew far more strongly at the undergraduate level, where the number of students jumped 11 percent, than at the graduate level, where enrollments climbed a little more than 2 percent. What's more, the increase in students pursuing undergraduate studies was largely dependent on enrollment from China, which shot up by 60 percent.

    The whole thing seems wrong.  Our universities have been taken over.  Or am I missing something.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 01:15:33 AM PDT

    •  Foreign students studying here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      provides Americans with jobs

      How is that a bad thing?   It's basically an American export, which other factions right here at DailyKos (including the POTUS, btw) are trying to build up.

    •  You are missing a lot (0+ / 0-)

      First, you have missed the 3+ decades of the best and brightest of Chinese students attending American universities, a significant percentage staying in the US and contributing to the American economy (including developing a lot "American" technology" and starting  companies at a much higher rate than American born US citizens), a process that continues. What was a "brain drain" for China and other Asian countries, was $$$ for the USA.

      Second, you are missing the fact that the increase in Chinese (and other foreign) students, the vast majority of whom pay their own way, supports the US university system.

      In fact, the US, UK, EU and Australia compete to recruit students from Asia for exactly these reasons; they are holding up the system.

      But if you think it would be better to bar foreign students (I don't suppose you think there is anything special about Chinese or Indians or Koreans, just more people, right?) then perhaps you should subtract both the number of students and the revenue they represent.

      Have foreigners "taken over" your universities? Really?

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 08:49:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is no good reason for American dominance (6+ / 0-)

    Consider that both China and India have over 1 billion people and we are less than a sixth of their total population. Assuming that knowledge and resources are frangible eventually we will be a minor global player. Competition for resources and global climate change will put even more contraction forces on the US. We will not be able to compete with the major players, and they won't tolerate the US taking a disproportionate share.

    The only way that we could remain a global power is to integrate all of North and South America. This is highly unlikely considering our past behavior and that much of the Americas have recovered from American imperialism and economic neo-liberalism.

    If we don't reeducate Americans to the reality of the situation we will go down with a bang. Just listen to Obama talk about how we are the greatest nation on the planet. How are we going to reconcile that with the reality on the ground. We need a press willing to start reporting on the real economic and infrastructure progress in China and not dwelling on every negative issue as if China is about to collapse. I visited China a little more than a year ago and I was impressed by the scale and quality of their infrastructure. Returning to the US it hit me as to how everything here is much smaller in scale, and worn out. I think that the change is in full swing and that we are just too arrogant to see it.

    •  I have been traveling to China (6+ / 0-)

      for several years now.  My wife's family lives there and we spend two months there each year.  

      As you now know, Americans don't have a clue and would be shocked to see how the Chinese are advancing.    

      While they would be the first to admit they still have huge challenges, they are very confident about meeting those and the future looks bright for them.  

      The two biggest challenges are pollution and autocratic government with corruption at the local level.  Though, it must be said they are addressing these aggressively.  They will soon be the largest producer of renewable energy in the world and they are already "experimenting" with democracy in select communities.  They do have some anxiety over democracy however, given their disastrous experience with it at the end of the Qing Dynasty.  They have just recently approved a national subsidy for the purchase of electric cars, to make them competitive with gas powered.  They are also going full scale on nuclear energy.  But, it should be noted that they have decided to emphasize Thorium reactors (as opposed to Uranium).  Thorium is one of the most abundant elements, meaning cheap fuel, and Thorium reactors have none of the dangers and little of the pollution associated with Uranium reactors.  

      Wages are beginning to rise and the government "supports" the creation of unions.  It also realizes that multinationals will begin to flee to other markets ( mostly in SE Asia) though this will take time, as the cost of doing business increases so they are encouraging more consumer spending (which means "overcoming" the peoples habit of being extremely prudent with their money).  Among those who can now afford it, most Chinese prefer to buy American products.  They feel they are superior to their own.  This is particularly true when it comes to automobiles.

      Whenever I return to the U.S. I am once again, hit by the realization that, in comparison, we are an aging, declining country.  And though, for a number of reasons, we choose to live in the U.S., we could live at a much higher standard of living in China.

      Americans are living in a huge bubble and the press facilitates our denial of the realities here.

      I wish every American could visit China, it would certainly wake people up.  Hopefully it would stimulate imagination which we are severely deficient in at the moment.   Short of that, as you noted, it would be good if our press picked up on this.  But then, it would be nice if our press picked up on anything that is relevant of the quality of our life and our future security.  

      While I have traveled around the country, I have spent most of my time in Chengdu, the Capital of Sichuan Province, in the southwest.  

      Zye jee-en (Phonetic)

      Anyone who isn't confused doesn't really understand the situation. - Edward R Murrow

      by gc10 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:22:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  China (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marleycat, pigpaste

        China has made some fantastic changes/advances over the last 30-40 years. I first went to Chengdu in early 1984 and I am sure I would not recognize the place if I went back.

        But ... the Chinese model has flaws (like every economic model) and it is now ending it period of usefulness. The question is is it even possible to change at this point.

        Essentially the model now results in a massive malinvestment of capital resulting in industrial overcapacity, property bubbles, piles of non-performing loans in the banking system, and an totally unbalanced economy. China is very close to a major shock.

        One of the clues that something is afoot is the flood of Chinese money at a private level leaving China and heading everywhere else. Talk to people in real estate in Canada, the US, Australia, Spain .... they all note a flood of Chinese money from people dead set on getting their fortunes to a safe place, outside of China. Obviously not a good signal when your rich are trying to flee - they are usually the "smart" money.

        If you do the numbers a change in the Chinese economy to a consumption based economy (or even one just more evenly balanced between consumption and investment) is all but impossible in a short time, without a major crisis. Under the surface things are not as rosy in China as they may seem.

        There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

        by taonow on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:48:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I spent time in Chengdu, Beijing, and Shanghai (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Azazello

        The scale of the cities, the new buildings, the roads, the walkways are just unbelievable until you see them for yourself. I rode on HSR, and airplanes. The HSR terminal is more modern than most of our airports in the US, the airports are humongous and the aircraft are all brand new, no 20 year old, clapped out 757s. Every car on the road is less than 5 years old, and the roads are chock full and they are huge. They are not toyota corrolas, they are driving MBs, audis, volkswagens, Beemers, and of course, Buicks.

        I'm going to say something that some here aren't going to like. The long term political change is going to be towards democracy, but for now the Communist Party runs everything. This means that professionals are running the government not amateurs, as in the US. Within any management group they work by majority. The officials that I talked to claimed that there were very few leaders with singular power, unlike the US where we enshrine the king-like singular power to any hack that we can find. This is one reason why they can do Big Things and we can't. They are keenly aware of problems in the economy and take action to deal with them. Instead of bailing out the financial criminals and making them even more rich, they prosecute them and pass laws to fix the problem. They have zero tolerance for corruption at the city management level and have executed politicians who were found to be taking kick-backs.

        •  If their infrastructure is of the same quality (0+ / 0-)

               as the tools they sell at Harbor Freight, they're in for trouble.

          The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

          by Azazello on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:37:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I couldn't agree with you more. (0+ / 0-)

          The first time I traveled to China I flew on Continental, never again.  Since that time (2006) I have been flying China Air.  Very pleased.  I usually go via Beijing... another fine airport.

          Hope you liked Chengdu.  I love it.   In China is is known as "the laid back city."   The people really know how to enjoy life.  

          In addition to professionals running things, they long ago made a commitment to let science lead their decisions making process.  

          And yes, if the Wall Street folk had been living in China many of them would have been found guilty of "crimes against the people" and some would have been executed.  Not that I'm suggesting we start executing people.

          Also, during the financial meltdown, the government had it's own version of TARP... however, according to a Bank of China friend, the money had strings attached.... the banks were required to loan out the money.

          Anyone who isn't confused doesn't really understand the situation. - Edward R Murrow

          by gc10 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 08:36:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
        we could live at a much higher standard of living in China.
        Particularly if we were fond of breathing particulates.
        •  Yes, you are correct about this. (0+ / 0-)

          Especially around industrial cities.  Beijing is well noted for it's pollution, but much of it comes from its location in relation to the Mongolian desert.    All of the times I've been in Beijing the air was fine.  At least I couldn't tell it was bad by observation or breathing.

          In Chengdu, where I spend most of my time the air is generally better.   But at times, it reminds my of when  I was growing up in the U.S. in the 60's.

          Anyone who isn't confused doesn't really understand the situation. - Edward R Murrow

          by gc10 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 08:41:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  As Others Have Pointed Out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, nextstep

    India and China have a significant amount of the population of the globe. There is no reason why they should not have wealth, income and productivity in proportion to that population.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:28:20 AM PDT

  •  Uhm (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marleycat, Azazello, Kickemout

    1. China will not have a middle class of 1 billion by 2050. Its population will be less than 1.3 billion by that time.
    2. America is in decline, relative to the rest of the world. Why? Because it is almost impossible to maintain an advantage in a world with the free flow of information (think internet). It was inevitable.
    3. It is easier for countries to catch up but much more difficult for them to pull ahead.  When you are catching up you only have to follow the path of others. To pull ahead you have to be innovative.
    4. The US relies on the individualistic model, which has many benefits, but it also has serious problems especially when other countries do not play by the same rules.

    The core issue these days is a widening disparity between the rich and the poor, often driven by technological change. This is happening everywhere. Fundamental new approaches are required - especially in the US, where this widening gap is becoming more and more evident.

    Unfortunately the political system in the US is dysfunctional and the society is burdened by the weight of outdated ideas (militarism, private health care, private education, guns, war on drugs, etc) so change will not come until there is a crisis.

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:38:27 AM PDT

    •  It was obvious that there would be (1+ / 0-)

      some decline in America as the rest of the world rebuilt after The War. The question was how to manage it. We did the exact wrong thing, denial. We elected Ronald "Morning in America" Reagan and the country has been in a slow-motion train-wreck ever since.

      The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

      by Azazello on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:41:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The aversion of our neoliberal leaders, including (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, Klusterpuck

    our pluto-Dems, to a robust trade policy, has been and will continue to be, among many other ills, our economic undoing.

    They think they are being serious and pragmatic. They insist there is no other way.

    We could index every country on the basis of its treatment of employees and the environment and establish an international tariff system to eliminate the "advantages" of exploitation.

    As the world's lone superpower, now, before it is too late, we could establish this system with our allies and the coalition of the "willing."

    But our "serious" friends are, at best, too lazy and at worst too corrupt to envision, much less plan and fight for such things.

    What's the point of letting neoliberals into the tent when neoliberalism is burning down the campground?
    Since elections will never change the ownership of government, why does our strategy rely entirely upon them?

    by Words In Action on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:09:01 AM PDT

  •  Trade policy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, Klusterpuck

    is one of The American Prospect's fortés, IMO.

    Here's a good article by Kuttner on "Playing Ourselves for Fools," from an issue that had a whole collection in a Special Report.

    Search "The American Prospect Trade policy" and you will get a treasure trove.

    What's the point of letting neoliberals into the tent when neoliberalism is burning down the campground?
    Since elections will never change the ownership of government, why does our strategy rely entirely upon them?

    by Words In Action on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:21:29 AM PDT

    •  OT spelling police (0+ / 0-)

      The singular form of the word you probably want is forte (pronounced "fort", but in the US almost always mispronounced "fortay"). The plural is "fortes", not "fortés", and is also pronounced "fort".

  •  As part of the emerging Chinese middle class (0+ / 0-)

    I'd like to comment on some of the wrong conclusions you seem to be reaching.

    First, we must recognize that all economies - national and global - run in cycles and interact in a dynamic fashion where relative wealth seesaws. At this point, certainly the relative wealth of rich, developed nations is declining as underdeveloped and developing nations as in ascent, but as a whole, the global economy has actually ascended in the past 100 years although we have to question whether recent trajectories are sustainable.

    Have you questioned why developed economies are now stagnating?

    One answer is they have, for several decades, over-consumed to the point of accumulating so much debt they must now rebalance (and how that is done is maybe the more important issue give rising inequality).

    Another is demographic; as nations become more wealthy, birth rates tend to decline and populations age, resulting in generational economic shifts, with younger people assuming a greater burden. Japan, is the extreme example, with a national debt greater than 200% of GDP that will be shouldered by a declining working population.

    Now let's consider global economics. For millennia, regions, empires and nations have leveraged comparative advantage in many forms (e.g., military, cultural, technological, human/natural resources, etc.) to their relative advantage, in many cases turning disadvantage to advantage as the wheel turns. This is the case now as it was before.

    Nations in decline have to use their advantages better. Is the US doing that? Are Chinese or Indians to blame if they are not? The opportunity the US has, is to use it's relative cultural, technological and social advantages (you really have that, and if you doubt it I invite you to move to China or India) better to compete and benefit from the rise of other economies. Notably, the trade agreement you mention aims to do just that, and notably, excludes China and India.

    Now let's consider population. China's is presently the world's largest, but will be overtaken by India's within 1-2 decades (more likely 1). This means:

    - Surely China's economy will over-take the US at some point, and when it does, American will still be a more wealthy country simply because China has 4 times the population. Whether Chinese ever attain the wealth of Americans is highly questionable because of (a) global resource limitations and (b) age demographics (which will be worse than the US in a generation). For that to happen, the US would have to make a very big decline and China an impossible ascent that is simply unattainable in rel terms.

    - In India's case, the picture is yet more bleak since they still have an unsustainable population growth and a late start that makes a harder mountain to climb, but hopefully they will manage at least to raise their poorest out of abject poverty and build a semblance of a middle class. They have youth and a good educations system on their side but not much else.

    Now let's consider China's "Middle Class", since it's a relative term. I'm middle class: We 2 working adults, a 600 sq/ft apartment with 4 family members, 2 bicycles, enough to eat and wear, 2 computers, 3 mobile phones and a daughter in school with parents saving so she can attend college. Comparatively, we have less than the typical American middle class family, but we are doing great for China so I can't complain. Even supporting 3 retired parents, we get by.

    Today, China has about 400 million such middle class people. And, I should add, China, by global standards, is now a "middle income" nation with only about another 400 million living below the poverty line (US$ 1.20 per day, here).

    Is there something wrong with that? If a billion had a decent home and enough to eat would that somehow be worse, or something that harms the citizens of wealthier countries because they would be less relatively better off? Given your narrative, I get the sense you look at this as a zero sum game so these are legitimate questions.

    Lastly, I'd like to comment on what seems to be a sense of entitlement or ownership in your diary.

    Most people in this world do not get handed a living, including Chinese or Indians. We work quite hard for what we have and, indeed, worked hard for generations and got very little (often while making the rich of this world wealthier at our expense). And suffered a greater depravation, famine, unemployment and underemployment than Americans are presently experiencing. Merely by doing better, we do not take away from others what is not ours.

    Everyone deserves an opportunity and to better, but it's not a given and never has been. What we modern people consider an ideal minimum is actually a historical oddity. 200 years ago, a far greater percentage of the world was poor. That doesn't mean we should accept less, but it might mean we should expect less that what we have now been sold to expect. Why?

    Because, the mean of material wealth that is sustainable on our planet is actually a lot less than what wealthy nations now have. Which is to say, if the world was suddenly "equal" and "fair", what people would have is less than what Americans, Western Europeans and some Asians now enjoy.

    And the simple fact is, that in both ecological and economic terms, what the world is consuming today is simply not sustainable and so both of these systems are in crisis.

    If you think it would be a better for US to build a fortress that locked the world out, I suggest you visit the Great Wall of China; we tried it 2000 years ago, and it didn't work then so I doubt it wold now.

    And you should also consider that about 500 years ago, China and India were the two wealthiest nations on earth with riches and culture that amazed European visitors (who promptly leveraged comparative military advantage to help themselves).

    How far did we fall? Think about it.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 08:36:29 AM PDT

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