By Ben Tanosborn
Strange bedfellows: Communist China and Capitalist America! Yet, it has become the indisputable reality that faces the sunset of one empire, and the sunrise of another. Not that such a thing could have been prevented, but did America have to accelerate by a generation or two such a transfer of power? US’ political masochism, in servitude to corporate capitalism, provides the answer in the creation of a take-charge Frankenstein.
Most Americans have been brainwashed into believing that it was Ronald Reagan who singlehandedly brought about the end of the Cold War, the submission of the Soviets to the economic might of the West. Americans’ distaste for anything-Nixon likely made it possible for a total disregard of what had happened the week of February 21 to 28, 1972 when Richard Nixon visited the PRC (People’s Republic of China) creating de facto an alliance pitting the US and the PRC against the Soviet Union. It was this alliance, and not Reagan’s economic/military policies, the causal variable for détente and the eventual ideological capitulation of communism in the eastern-block.
It is, however, unfortunate that the political brilliance exhibited by the Kissinger-Nixon duo in reaching to China failed to consider the strength of corporate capitalism, and the very fact that capitalism in its purest form has only one loyalty: profits. Not flags; not nations; not peoples; not compassion, nor social justice. Profits… first and foremost!
So it was that semen ejected during that third week in February 1972 that conceived what rapidly has become America’s uncontrollable Frankenstein; or, more in line with today’s technology: an intelligent robot capable of reprogramming itself.
Corporate America thru its schizophrenic disorder, Consumer America, singlehandedly during the next 30 years (1972-2001) built an industrial infrastructure in China which would allow that communist republic a total economic transformation and the creation of a large middle class. A creative, professional middle class larger than the one we have in America… and, ironically, at the direct expense of that American middle class – China upgrading during that generational period more than 50 million households to middle class status, while the US was downgrading a similar number of households to the 2-wage-earners status required to stay economically afloat as middle class. [A much touted 23 million job creation during the Clinton administration providing the lion’s share of these low-paying, low skills jobs.]
China no longer depends on the goodwill of Corporate America or its politicians for a viable growth; its economic emancipation, to remain viable, probably dating as far back as a decade ago. That, of course, is not to say that America is not a good trading partner for China… only that economic dependency has been severed; that nation on its way to become the principal economic engine in the world within two decades.
China, our very own frankensteinian creation, emerges as a nation with a very quickly solidifying infrastructure reaching every nook and cranny in the planet for business, and the acquisition of natural resources, while the US continues living in its glorious past; an unaffordable – and wasteful – military power; and a decadent infrastructure that could sink the nation into a second-rate economy… with a middle class numbering fewer than 20 percent of the population. That’s the prospect for a 2025 America unless there is an economic overhaul that trashes every economic, military and political design that emanate from the two political parties which jointly have squandered the future of a nation by giving the reins to an elite team represented by the yoke of a military and a corporate class, both deceivingly draped in the American flag.
America, if it desires to stay as a meaningful, if smaller, economic player in the future, needs to invest from 15 to 20 trillion dollars (yes, doubling the national debt!) during the next decade in the building of a two-sided infrastructure which would allow it to compete elbow-to-elbow with both China and other emerging large economies. A third of that amount could go for what most of us see as traditional infrastructure: the repair and/or replacement of decaying physical structures, plus needed additions to the inventory… answering the long voiced call to arms of our civil engineers; but two-thirds would have to be forward-looking, much of it dependent on both research and education.
And by education, the implication is not to continue subsidizing the creation of more worthless, predatory online diploma mills (from existing and/or new institutions) but a well-designed system for educating our population (all ages) that is efficient and effective, one that will add to the physical as well as the intellectual productivity of the nation. Not just make a larger bubble than the one we presently have!
If anyone thinks of such an investment as fiscal irresponsibility, I suggest they look at the composition of our present 18+ trillion-dollar national debt. Most of it, whether directly or through accruing interest, has its roots in the wasteful schemes of both empty-suits (financial corporate thievery and miscalculations) and empty-uniforms (the funding of an unnecessarily large military and the Pentagon’s wars of choice).
No better time than the present, given the existing (or non-existing) interest rates, to give America a legacy for the future by building a strong 2-sided infrastructure, instead of leaving a nation in ruins for our children and grandchildren to rebuild from scratch, and the high probability that they won’t be able to catch up to those who will then economically rule the world.