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.
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"?