Thought for the Day

I am sick and tired of so many people treating the economic growth of India and China like it is bad news.  The astounding numbers of people emerging from almost unimaginable poverty is fabulous news, and perhaps one of the ten greatest events in all of world history.  Too many people -- from neo-Malthusians to global warming alarmists to cold warriors looking for the next enemy to trade protectionists -- treat these countries' emerging wealth like it is some sort of disaster.


  1. John IV:

    You forget. Most of the people seeing the rise of wealth in India and China believe in zero sum economics. They see the gain off wealth away from the west as a sure sign that thier own status and wealth must be declining in an equal amount, draining away overseas as it were. They cant wrap thier heads around the idea that wealth is created, not transfered, as they are taught in school, and so they see it as a real threat to thier own lives and lively hood.

    The press does not help in this regard, being able to sell far more advertising by stirring up those fears, rather than hiring journalists that actually understand anything about economics or wealth creation.

  2. silvermine:

    I was about to say the same thing. The only people who are threatened are people who believe it's a zero-sum game.

    Usually it's a democrat problem to see wealth as a finite object. But all sides seem to be capable of it. I actually tried to convince a group of lefty friends that wealth has increased, and they could not allow themselves to grasp it. Apparently they think today we are just as wealthy (and no more) than cavemen. Yes, I went back that far, to make my ridiculous point. They couldn't follow it.

  3. Global Warming:

    Right on.

  4. Michael Miller:

    "Right on"


    For better than half the worlds population that had been mired in the muck of socialism for half a century to suddenly break free and to begin to realize some of their innate potentials as human beings is truly one of the great events in human history.

    Instead of criticizing and fear mongering, we would be wise to study carefully and follow their example, lest we find ourselves in their former position. Wealth in the US is now decreasing, and if we continue any farther along the path to socialism, WE will rapidly become an impoverished nation, and they will become the leading nations on the planet.

    The left is totally clueless about any of this.

  5. Dr. T:

    I have no problems with the Chinese people getting wealthy. That's great, and it might help them overcome the pseudo-Communist autocratic government. My worry is that said Chinese government is becoming much richer than its citizens. Much of that wealth has been invested in US government bonds and Treasuries. My fear is that an emboldened Chinese government decides that it needs more space and resources. Goodbye Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Burma, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Perhaps Japan and Australia, too. Australia recently detected Chinese spy subs in its bays. Australia increased its naval budget due to the Chinese threat.

    The USA could be cowed into inaction by the threat of economic catastrophe if China dumps all its US paper holdings.

  6. nom de guerre:

    especially in the case of china, an argument *could* be made that their burgeoning wealth IS, in fact, a harmful transfer of dollareenies from us. and - again, mostly in the case of china - that that's not in our best interests at all. US manufacturing is a sad shell of what it once was: we don't make TV's anymore, or refrigerators, or tires, or clothing, or pretty much anything else, and please don't make me mention the ruined wastelands of detroit, cleveland, or youngstown OH.

    all that manufacturing moved overseas - to china - and although we as a nation got to benefit from the lower prices inherent in a $2-a-day workforce, we lost a lot of jobs. *good jobs*, since manufacturing jobs tend to pay higher than average. now back in the go-go '90's, that didn't matter, since we were all daytraders or realtors or mortgage brokers. now? here in the times of 15% unemployment? might be kinda nice to have a manufacturing plant *somewhere* in the US that's hiring, wouldn't it? manufacturing is the *actual* creation of wealth: a few bucks of sand, plastic, glass, and wires, mixed in with knowhow, can make a TV set that you can sell for $1000. pretty good deal, huh? well, it WAS, until we pissed it all away. (GAVE it away, to be precise.) instead, middle america sees a future of jobs at walmart or maybe seasonal construction, both of which will net about $20K over a year. not much of a future to sell the kiddies, is it?

    then of course there's what china DOES with that technology; and how they acquire it; and their absolute refusal to play by any rules but their own. one reads that china supplies key component chips for our military fighters, chips that all seem to have unreadable code embedded in them at the factory. that code wouldn't contain a "suicide" order if activated from shanghai during combat, would it? who knows? chinese theft of new products is *breathtakingly* brazen: have read stories of a toy-company exec unveiling his company's **brand-new** toy at an industry show, and 3 booths away, he sees a chinese company marketing the **exact same toy**: copied and made before it even hit the market. chinese contempt for intellectual property is legendary: you can bet huge bucks there'll be bootleg dvd's of "avatar" for sale in shanghai & hong kong a week before it opens anywhere in the world. you know it, i know it, james cameron knows it. then of course, there's china's response to problems caused by their notorious cost-cutting methods: they just ignore them, and ignore also any legal actions filed against them by foreign devil courts. you think all those people in florida living in houses contaminated by poisonous chinese drywall will ever see a penny in damages from the manufacturer?

    yeah, me neither. the company was "sold" to second-cousin wu, and the corporate entity that made the drywall sadly no longer exists. so sorry. bad luck for you, yankee! no tickee, no laundry! buyer beware! not our fault if toxic industrial waste accidentally got mixed in with gypsum at factory!

    then there's the fact that by allowing china, a communist country that solves civil unrest by killing tens of thousands under cover of darkness, to get RICH.....and buy up lots of out IOU's.....means that eventually, we put our economic future into the hands of people who are doing their best to ruin us. are china's actions - supporting north korea; whoring themselves out to sudan/iran/syria; contributing mightily to worldwide misery because they can make a buck doing so - are those actions in our interests? no? if/when china decides to take taiwan - forget politics, it'll be no more 'political' than a bank robbery - you think they might threaten to bring down our currency and our entire financial system if we try to intervene? remember, we're the country that stabbed the south vietnamese and later, yhe iraqi kurds in the back because helping them like we promised we would was proving *inconvenient to us* to do so. i'll BETCHA china figures we'll cut & run like little bitches if they threaten our whole economy, and their $4 trillion in our IOU's oughta give them just about enough clout to do it.

    that's not "bad news"? how you figure?

    like idiots, we sat down to eat with wolves, and figured we'd win them over and change them with our good table manners and witty dinnertime conversation. they ate every bite we offered, and took seconds. now we face wolves that are no longer poor and weak - oh no. now they're well-off, well-armed, well-prepared, ambitious, and wondering what we might taste like if served with a nice chianti and fava beans.

  7. Brad K.:

    The problem is the essential blindness of hating people richer than we need them to be.

    I mean, if there were no people with money, no one would be able to hire anyone. Not all well-to-do people are ethical; not all poor people are, either. And certainly not all politicians.

    Hating other nations for getting richer is the same coin as wanting to rob those with money - redistribute wealth - in this country. It is stupid, it is self-defeating, it is wrong. But liars can still make their impassioned plea, and convince someone that taking someone else's money makes sense.

    Many of us over 40 remember that taking money from one person - usually means siphoning off a big chunk for the dude doing the siphoning. Redistributing wealth amasses corrupting power, and nothing else. Redistributing wealth can and does cripple economies, and places the general populace at the mercy and whim of a self-created elite. But until the wagon finishes crashing into the dirt, the deluded dreamers keep wanting to wreck more and more.

    So it is no surprise that the same people that blame other countries for making US products cheaper - including the extra shipping and handling - are appalled that other nations are growing.

    When I look at the money trail to the spiels and propaganda, I often find Union Bosses tied in somewhere. Because competition does *not* favor unions, union dues, or the artificial burdens unions place on employers and businesses.

    And places like India and China don't pay union dues to American union bosses. And that is the bottom line behind the hatred - American union bosses are upset about competition.

    American businesses, barring union and Federal interference, can find ways to adapt and thrive.

  8. Shawn Pickrell:

    It's not a zero-sum game. The total wealth of the world is certainly increasing.

    But the challenges posed to American firms and workers are different from the challenges posed in the the first part of the 20th century, when the Sun Belt began its economic development. The most obvious is, of course, that American workers cannot simply avail themselves of these fabulous jobs in China.

    If we started (in terms of wages, standard of living, etc.) at 100 in the 1970s (when globalization began to include China/India/SE Asia), Europe and Japan started at 90, and China/India/SE Asia started at 20, it is entirely possible that when everything is said and done, we'll all be at a 70. That's a tripling for China/India/SE Asia and a 30% reduction for us.

    Without a recognition that the *American* worker might have a hard 15-40 years going forward, this opens the door to demagogues who would implement cures worse than the initial diseases.

    As for not having unions: if it means people get to work 12 hours for $5 a day in workplace conditions resembling conditions of the 1890s, I can't see too many outside the anarcho-capitalist/libertarian axis thinking this is a Good Thing.

    (Or, if American unions and high wages depress our competitiveness so much, why aren't these folks volunteering to cut their own wages?)

  9. Michael Miller:

    "Right on"


    For better than half the worlds population that had been mired in the muck of socialism for half a century and several millennium of feudal slavery before that, to suddenly break free and to begin to realize some of their innate potentials as human beings is truly one of the great events in human history.

    Instead of criticizing and fear mongering, we would be wise to study carefully and follow their example, lest we find ourselves in their former position. Wealth in the US is now decreasing, and if we continue any farther along the path to total socialism, as we are now doing, WE will rapidly become an impoverished nation, and they will become the leading nations of the world.

  10. LoneSnark:

    Wealth is a product of productivity. I see no way for anything happening in China outside of resource competition to quell our productivity. If they bought all our productivity enhancing machines, we could just use the money to buy new ones.

  11. Gil:

    Is a mistake that many Libertarians see the Chinese government as a Minarchist Capitalist government? Do Libertarians forget the way most Hong Kong people, especially the small business owner (where Libertarians are to be found), did not forward to handback of rule to China? On the other hand, big business Hong Kong rulers loved the thought of a fascist government helping them out and giving them lucrative contracts. Likewise what of the Chinese push into Africa? The Chinese want the resources and happily support dictatorships that will secure the resources for them?

  12. Doug:

    I see the pie getting bigger. I think the idea that India and China are creating a middle class is a good thing. Why should the West have a lock on this kind of wealth. It is arrogant to think this. Yet, those who swim in the deep end think stopping growth in those (and other) countries is a good thing. These human beings should be able to have the same material comforts as we do.

  13. abass:

    The Center for Media Research has released a study by Vertical Response that shows just where many of these ‘Main Street’ players are going with their online dollars. The big winners: e-mail and social media. With only 3.8% of small business folks NOT planning on using e-mail marketing and with social media carrying the perception of being free (which they so rudely discover it is far from free) this should make some in the banner and search crowd a little wary.