Opinion | Why the United States is likely to be the most astonishing comeback-kid in world’s economy
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 23:02
Even the proudest and above-all patriotic Americans will be ready to admit that the States have lost more or less a part of its hegemonic world influence in terms of economic and political superiority as well as cultural impact and maybe even military strength and recognizance in the past several years.
Those assumptions have to be accepted as facts of a nation that has constantly been at war in the last twelve years, and that has had to put a lot of funds into solving the financial crisis since 2007.
Many experts already stated the fall of the resilient yet sensible construct of what we call the United States.
Libraries full of books have been written about the collapse of the “giant on feet of clay” as the German-speaking writer Peter Scholl-Latour already argued in a 2006 published book with this title.
He analyzed the enormous risks the Bush government has taken in dealing with Iraq, Afghanistan and the military stretching into the pacific region while China was constantly gaining political and economical strength at a more and more rapid pace.
Furthermore, social problems, excessive debts – to not say over indebtedness – and constant political dispute have been weakening the super-power during the last semi-decade. The latter being the ultimate reason for near financial and economical fallout – the fiscal cliff – which was able to be avoided at last second.
Given those well-known circumstances, it may be astonishing for some to hear economists say things like that the dwindling super-power will not just survive anyways but will also begin to thrive economically very soon, much like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
There are three reasons for why that will be actually the case.
As of the end of last year, prognoses came through that due to massive amounts of shale gas, the United States will be net-exporter of energy by 2020 and even energy-autarchic by 2035.
In Europe, green parties, NGOs devoted towards protecting the environment as well as principally skeptical citizens condemn even the thinking of harvesting such resources bounds politicians to retreat from these ideas.
But in America, more liberalism and generally more open-mindedness for such projects opens a window that the energy industry could cherish from for years to come.
Second, the American population is growing in a very healthy manner.
Whereas the European continent is slowly becoming older and older with no or only slight population growth, on the other edge of the Atlantic youth sprouts and is being educated in a highly selective but still unreached world-famous university education system and therefore able to support their elderly in a form the European social welfare state is likely to have to abandon soon.
As a consequence of the first argument, the most important one is the following: in the last three decades or so, an unprecedented form of outsourcing and monumental de-industrialization has set in well-developed western societies.
The uprising of the so-called “service society” seemed to be the logical, ultimate step towards perfect prosperity.
However, managers, politicians, businessmen and economists see the non-negligible tradeoffs in this concept.
Consequently, when taking this argument into account, it is not surprising why Apple managers publicly thought about moving back at least parts of the assembly of the iPhone back from China to the States.
And, in addition to the first argument, another very important factor for this trend is obvious: since unit labor and energy costs are rising in many of the emergent countries, America’s abundant resources may be the ace up the sleeve in the future.
With higher unit labor costs in Asia and even lower energy costs on the American continent, it is much more likely that your next car will have been produced rather in Detroit than in Shanghai.
But as odd as it may seem, in the 21st century re-industrialization has already set in the United States.
On the other end of the great lake, problems are too abundant to be broken down in some pieces.
Politically, America views Europe as what it is: a bunch of heterogeneous countries, discordant in terms of international and economic issues and sort of Vanity Fair.
In the United States one tries to strengthen the middle class and sets incentives towards working one self up the ladder again.
Left-wing European politicians pursue the ideal of the 30 hours working week in Germany and governments, like in France, want to forbid profitable foreign firm to close down their plants there and settle elsewhere. These are just two absurdities of which you certainly will never hear of again.
Europe and the United States are heading in two different directions while America apparently has made the wiser choices.
This doesn’t mean that Europe is doomed and the United States is safe to hold its course exactly as it does.
It just means that the “new world” has figured out something for the future and that the “old world” can risk a glance towards the other side of the ocean to maybe get an idea or two.