Joseph Stiglitz, one of my favorite economists, believe that Asia is “decoupling” from the United States and Europe. You see, the United States is a 300 million population but if you sell to India and China alone of the nations in the region, you have 2.6 billion consumers. It’s a better market in the long term than the United States or Europe as well as providing necessary long term benefits to the nations themselves.
But there are other reasons, the great nations of Asia are likely to shift more to domestic production and investment. In the past, China, India, South Korea, Japan, etc. invested in the United States. They as well as many European nations bought into the housing bubble as well as many more reliable investments. They did this in the belief that the United States was reliable investment environment and that, more importantly, Wall Street had great skills in the banking and other investment industries. Of course, the “legendary” expertise of Wall Street was no more than successful propaganda protecting a rotting edifice that through financial “innovation” and simple greed severely damaged the world’s economy.
If you were a government official would you encourage investment in the United States or take the advice of any Wall Street investment firm? I’m sure there are some officials remaining who can hold that view but the long term does not bode well for U.S. investment or purchasing, you see, the development of the domestic market in these countries means a rise in the standard of living, an increase in wages and rise in prices. All of these factor mitigate against the corporate dream of an endless stream of off shored jobs pushing their profits.
But this is an opportunity. As these other nations develop higher standards of living and their purchasing power increases, we can sell them products. We can make things again. If we start now, and by now I mean by the end of this decade, for not only is there no political will, intelligence or leadership, the current business philosophy will not allow the government to encourage such investment. The United States government since the 1980’s has pursued a policy of the financial sector as a priority as opposed to the poor stepchild of manufacturing. The result of this policy are all around us. We can do better.