It's time we stood up as a nation and openly acknowledge some of the wrongs of our past. Not only is it the right thing to do, we are going to be called to account for a lot of them by the rest of the world. But if we put a lot of it out there first, acknowledge our mistakes and promise to do better, it won't be so hard to take.
For many decades we have been first in wealth and first in power. However, we are very near to sharing the title of wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth with a few other nations, not the least of which are China, India, Brazil and a lot of South East Asia.
Let's face it. Regardless of our beliefs, it is our wealth and industry that have made and kept us Number One. It is to be proud of, notwithstanding the understanding that, having learned how from watching the U.S.A. over 235 years, at least two of those nations will easily outstrip any capital or industrial accomplishments we've made. Before 2050 - a short 39 years - we may be #3 behind China and India, who will share the crown of wealth and industry.
Rothschild misthought when he cared less what military might a country may possess if he had control of it's economy. The implied threat is that one country could defeat or undermine another strictly by economic means. This might be true if there were only two nations, but we have hundreds of nations. Some are big and some are small but they are all in the same economic game and pretty much independent of each other as well as being mostly democracies.
If, for instance, China wanted to overthrow us economically, the rest of the world would simply not permit it - mostly because it would interrupt their own growth of wealth. Wealth is not a crop that grows well or long under dictatorships. See those recently deposed around the world. Note their frozen assets and trials in courts of law.
Capitalism is a game only free nations can really play well. China is currently about to learn that lesson. So far they have achieved second place in the world by virtue of their exports based in cheap labor. Ninety percent of their wealth came from manufacturing and selling products the rest of the world wants, needs and uses. Note the hundred plus trains a day going east through Kingman with Chinese containers on them then heading back west mostly empty.
But inflation is starting to heat things up in China. A one-sided economy - one that depends solely on exports to survive - has so much money that it's pushing prices to rise fast. It also throws their balance of trade dangerously out of balance. As an aside, this is a lesson the OPEC nations are about to learn - the hard way, I think. They are all about selling oil and have no internal infrastructure that isn't for pleasure.
China's masters are not stupid, however. They see all this and are beginning to develop their own consumer-based economy, which in turn will bring imports and thus a concomitant rise a balance of trade. Making and selling goods and services to be sold to their own domestic economic base will in turn raise wages because people always want more. It is this dynamic that will push China and likely India to first and second places ahead of us.
However, China is getting to skip over the 1870s through the 1940s part of our own economic development, including the Crash of '29. They've also watched the explosion of our economy after WWII, and the various recessions and booms we've had when we really put our capitalist engine into gear. The point being that they get to learn from all our mistakes.
And with a modest work force of even a third of their numbers, they're coming into the game with more than five hundred million chips ... uh, workers and probably a billion consumers. China also has the advantage of being mostly an atheist nation. Religion has little foothold there. Draw what you will from that.
India has the same advantage and is not far behind China. They have about the same number of people, mostly with a Hindu foundation, a democratic government and capitalism catching on just as fast. If India can get a handle on their immense poverty, they could even outpace China. Though I won't be around to see it, by 2050 the reality of the wealthiest nations will be China, #1, India #2 (or vice versa) and the U.S. #3 and being closely pursued by others, too.
By the sheer brute force of their wealth, both of them will outweigh us by two or three to one. Fortunately, as noted above, India is a functioning democracy. In fact, probably 95% of the nations ranking high in wealth are democracies. This is a good thing. The few dictatorships include Hugo Chavez's Venezuela and a few nations in the Middle East that are about to become democracies of one sort or another.
There's little to worry that China will even try to become dictatorial just because it's #1 economically and still consider themselves a Communist dictatorship. They'd wind up trying to buy and sell on the world market but without anyone to play. Democracy has exploded around the world, hand in hand with capitalism.
I wrote a short essay a while ago about how capitalism leads down the road to democracy. I include it herein by reference. (http://kingmandailyminer.com/main.asp?SectionID=160&SubSectionID=712&ArticleID=31962&TM=66712.4 )
The sum of this for us - the U.S. - is to get better at the unique things that have made us great. There are many areas where we excel, such as innovation, science, education (notwithstanding K12 which is currently a mess), and especially capitalism. What we've done here in the U.S. with financial, fiscal and market creativity and innovation is enormous. Some would say these are evil things but only if used so.
Moderation in all things is a good rule. That doesn't necessarily mean always keeping it at 50% - half throttle. We've seen we can stretch it near 70% and keep it together. But we were way over the limit in 2008, that's for certain.
Capitalism in moderation can keep us peaceful and growing for a long time. I know, that sounds very long term and high thinking for a naturally very short term-minded Western culture. Profits now! I see the markets fall for a day or two then go back up, I think to myself, hmm. Profit taking. Even though we brought capitalism to its greatest heights so far, there are clearly lessons we have still to learn.
I mean, can capitalism continue to exist without long-term considerations? I don't think so. I think we have brought our economy to its peak of short-term goals and rewards. The terms are going to have to become longer. I think they will just by natural evolution, a built-in survival mechanism and the invisible hand of the marketplace.
Maybe someday I will start believing in a god. After all, it seems like something must be overseeing all this natural order. On the other hand, creations always seem to come with their own set of rules on how to fit into the scheme of things and vice versa.
For example, we created capitalism and it has taken over the whole world. It's evident that it has rules it adheres to that are beyond our ken or control. Are these rules inherent in the creation or do creations adhere to a pre-existing order in the universe? This is getting into areas were we also play with angels on heads of pins and rocks that god can't lift.
Meanwhile back on earth, we've learned some of the limits of our capitalist aggressiveness but that's still amount of allowable profits. If life is a series of opportunities, capitalism provides the means of engaging them.
Why did I write, someone once asked. My answer was simple. To plant a seed that might grow, to encourage a mind to think. I also write to engage. I engage myself in discourse which appears as written words and might engage others as well. The opportunities to engage provided by the Internet are infinite.
What sometimes troubles me are the people who have questions for which the Internet would easily provide a spectrum of answers but they don't have the words to describe their curiosity. Therefore a search engine frightens them. They don't know how to phrase a query. This is a failure in our society, and from what I've seen, of our educational system as well. Children learn how to operate a computer, but I've never heard of any schools around here which teach children how to phrase a search, how to use boolean logic (which is the method by which search engines operate). This is sad, especially when there are numerous good books available on using Google's massive and very flexible search engine. Google also has an online tutorial that is pretty decent for beginners.
I recall how often I've heard over the years, even today in some dark pockets, "I don't need no college degree." Once in a while I hear - generally from older folks - that they didn't need a high school diploma. Even my family. My father never graduated high school and he came from a wealthy Russian Jewish family. I started going to college because if I didn't use my GI bill, it was about to expire. I only realized the advantage after the fact. But I stray.
The point to all of this was the coming accounting to which we will be called by the rest of the world for some of the unilateral wrong-headed moves some of our presidents and legislatures have made in the past. Think not that Arizona's recent blunders will not have their global implications and consequences. Never has the butterfly effect been so beautifully exemplified as in a capitalist economy. And Wikileaks I am sure have in their vault, prime evidence of dirtier deeds by some of our ... uh ... more clandestine operations?
That's all OK, though. We may be embarrassed a bit but some upcoming revelations, but we're still big players in the game and in the marketplace. Capitalist. Capitalist. Capitalist. Get used to it. It's not that bad a moniker. Remember. It's what the Soviet Union and Communist China used to call us. Capitalist pigs! Now they both are one and not doing badly. Welcome to the club. Pull up a couch. Have a cigar. Brandy? I got something I want to tell you about.
By Edward Tomchin, Golden Valley, Arizona