Our staggering longtime trade deficit with China coincided with our own economic decline and an astronomical unemployment rate. Power usually is based on wealth. We provided China with both by our profligate lifestyle.

Corrective action by our national leadership is said to have been contraindicated because we are a capitalist or free-market society. The Chinese government does not face these constraints. They will resort to corrective action.

The money trail led to China. Our industry followed. So did our technology, our jobs, our manufacturing base.

Globalization, outsourcing to boost Third World countries, reversed a long-held tradition of a Western world industrial superiority and high living standards.

Cheap labor had its own rewards, and plagiarizing Western inventions was more than helpful. Asian societies reaped incredible benefits.

Why would the U.S. political leadership allow another foreign country to be the sole supplier of manufactured goods in the U.S.? Why would they allow China to acquire vast American territories with implicit mining and other exploitation rights (Cnooc/Nexen and Sinopec deals) without reciprocal concessions? South Korea is also allowed to flood the U.S. with manufactured goods (Hyundai and Kia cars and Samsung electronics). We, in exchange, are allowed to supply them with agricultural products — something they would need to acquire no matter what.

Our Washington leadership is no match for its clever Asian counterparts. We are told that the unpleasant changes are the result of free enterprise. Should we as a consequence dissociate ourselves from free enterprise? This would mean protectionism and the re-introduction of import tariffs. An un-thinkable thing?

Howard N. Stewart


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