Let’s travel in our time machine thirty years into the future.
It is the year 2039. In this sad future, the economy of the United States of America has become the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer goods. Our country, which once had good wages, now has some of the lowest wages on earth. The standard of living of the average American has fallen to a third of what it was, even during the recession of 2009.
Our low American wages have given us a distinct advantage in manufacturing. The sweat shops and textile factories have returned, after an absence of fifty years. Millions of Americans sew garments, manufacture cheap consumer goods, hand-assembling parts to make electronic devices sold all over the world. Our wages are so low that we can assemble an entire cell phone ear implant for $4.00 a unit. Once exported, the implants sell for $120 in the rich countries that buy them from us.
The US government calls itself a democracy, but the two major political parties have merged. The American People’s Party (APP) is the nation’s only political party. The APP rules with an iron hand. The President is a virtual dictator. There are few individual freedoms and the US government now owns over 50 percent of the land, factories, and investment capital in the country. Taxes are stifling, eating up nearly 65% of the wages of the average American worker. Freedom of assembly, press and religion are virtually non-existent. The US government is obsessed with the increased possibility of an armed citizen’s revolt so it prices our products cheaply for international customers so that Americans remain employed.
Occupational safety is a joke. Over 2,000 men die each year in our coal mines. Global warming be damned; to manufacture the world’s products we are constructing a new coal-fired power plant every week. Once prosperous Americans now engage in back-breaking manual labor, just to put bread on the table. Poor farmers pour into the cities in hopes of finding a job, but employment prospects are as bleak as the wages.
Worse yet, we’ve become so dependent on consumers of rich countries that our government actually buys the bonds of the “consuming” countries, in effect, lending these countries the money to buy the cheap products we produce. Imagine; we’re so desperate for exports that our government actually finances foreign governments so their citizens will buy our inexpensive products. No wonder our tax burden is high.
Middle class citizens in the rich countries live “high on the hog” consuming our low-priced products, while the US government holds their bonds. Even though The United States owns billions of dollars of the bonds of the rich countries, our government would never redeem those bonds. If the US redeemed the bonds, making the rich countries pay back the principle, this would drive the rich countries into a deep recession, reducing their purchases of our cheap products, causing massive unemployment and the starvation of millions of Americans.
Is this the future of the United States of America? Unlikely. If not, what year am I talking about and what country am I describing?
The year is 2009. The country I’m describing is not the United States of America; it is present-day China. The rich, consumer country is the United States. Count your blessings. It could be a lot worse.