Monday, August 18, 2008

America and the Global Economy

Here's something that's bothering me:

Everyone is worried that the United States seems to be losing its position as the leader in global in economics.

To me this sounds more like xenophobia than anything.

So what if a few years down the road China outproduces the United States in its industrial output? This doesn't mean that the United States becomes poorer. It just means that more goods are being produced in China than in the United States.

If athlete A can run a mile in 4:45 min., but athlete B can run the mile in only 4:50 min., does that mean that athlete B is a pathetic loser? No, it just means that A can run a mile a little bit faster than B. An even better comparison, is that athlete A improves his mile time by 4 seconds, but athlete B improves his by only 2. The way that people are talking about global economics, it sounds more like athlete B had actually gotten slower, that athlete B is getting fat and lazy, that athlete B is liable to suffer cardiac arrest due to his lack of fitness.

Truly, if American-owned company X makes a 250 million dollar profit on a given year, it's considered by many to be a tragedy if Japanese/Chinese/Korean/non-Anglo-Saxon company Y makes a 350 million dollar profit.

The Dark Knight just recently surpassed Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope on the all time highest grossing films list. This must mean that Star Wars sucks.

Weightlifter A bench pressed 600 pounds, but weightlifter B bench pressed 640 pounds. Hey weightlifter A, you're a wussy!

It's time to dispense with this mercantilist nonsense that economics is a competition between countries. The most recent article that I read regarding this issue bemoaned that there are only four American billionaires in the world's top 20 list of billionaires--and then a point was made that India (gasp!) had four in the top 10. Why is it an issue which country has the most wealthy billionaires? Are we afraid that these new Hindu billionaires will use their newly found wealth and power to replace our meat and potatoes with curry vegetables?


  1. Wow I didn't realize India had more billionaires; that surprises me. There's nothing wrong with it, but if you told me India had more Hanks than Texas, I'd be surprised too.

  2. I think that there is a strong belief in this country that there is a large, yet limited global market. Americans are afraid that nobody wants to buy our stuff, especially at prices that allow our companies to pay our workers wages to maintain the way of life you and I enjoy. American workers believe that China and India have enough industrial potential to meet the demand of the rest of the world, at prices Americans can't match. So, what is the answer for Americans?

  3. Surrealist.9:10 AM

    But you know, I really don't like curry vegetables at all, at least not since I was trapped in line at an airport full of curry-sweating Indians. -shudder-

  4. I think people just like being at the top and don't want to lose the position and bragging rights that come with it (are there any for this situation?).

    Also, doesn't India have a larger population than us? This would mean a larger number of billionaires.


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