America's Decline

Fall Of Empire

There can be no denying the 20th century was, the American century. America came of age, showed her cultural, industrial and fiscal might, fought several wars, and was the engine driving the world economy for decades. America was all powerful, the last remaining superpower after the collapse of communism and the USSR.

Its a fact of reality that everything must go into decline. No matter how great, how powerful, how big. Sometimes the decline is blatantly evident. Other times, not so apparent.

A while back, I read an article predicting that China would match or pass the U.S. GDP by 2050. China was the superpower in waiting. Sitting quietly biding her time. Building her infrastructure. Building wealth. Building industrial strength. Building technological might.

I recall from my last trip to the U.S. a few years back, I was surprised by how much product was made in China. T-shirts, pants, training shoes, baseball caps, sunglasses, toys, electrical equipment, cameras, binoculars, equipment, tools, lights, furniture, vacuum cleaners, wash machines, dryers. The list seems endless. Wandering around Wal-Mart or Gap and checking product origin, it seemed near everything came from China. I recall thinking how the low cost of labour and materials, created a competitive and price advantage for Chinese goods, and driving up profits for manufacturers and retailers alike.

I recently read a New York Times article that clearly shows the disparity between China's workforce, her industrial capacity, China's economy and that of America. The article entitled "How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work". The article goes on to explain how six weeks before the launch of the iPhone, Steve Jobs, head of Apple, raised a prototype iPhone above his head and showed to the executes sitting before him, the scratches on the face of the iPhone. He explained the keys he carried in his pocket had scratched the plastic face on the new phone. Jobs insisted that before the launch, the iPhone plastic face had to be replaced with a glass scratch-resistant surface.

Engineers took the next plane to Shenzhen, China. The factory working on assembling the iPhone was updated with specific instructions on the changes that needed to be made before the launch, just six weeks away. The Foxconn assembly plant, rustled up 10,000 engineers to oversee the changes and implementation to the iPhone.

An Apple employee explained; to execute the same task in the U.S. would have been impossible. He went on, it would take around 9 months to recruit 10,000 U.S. engineers, aside from the fact that there was no factory in the U.S. capable of undertaking the mammoth task of changing the faces on the phones already assembled.

While I was on The New York Times website, I followed a link to another story, entitled "This column 100% Made In America". This calls on more Americans to buy American made products, to create American jobs.

It seems strange that the all powerful American Industrial Machine is begging consumer to buy Made In America badged products to save or create American jobs.

Britain was once a global power that ruled a vast empire. Canada, Africa, India, China, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. Britain went into decline around the time of the First World War. By the end of the Second World War, Britain was bankrupt. Through the 1950s and the decades that followed, its industries remained uncompetitive and fell into terminal decline.

No matter what policies or initiatives the UK Government followed, it could not stop the rot. Japan over took the UK in GDP and industrial capacity. In the 1960s, a campaign was started to try and get the UK population to buy UK made products. It was called "I'm Backing Britain". It was an effort to stem Britain's industrial decline.

The initiative was a spectacular failure. Government cannot entice consumers to buy shoddy made goods, inferior or expensive products with calls to patriotism. Consumers are attracted by perception, quality, features, build, price, status, and sexiness of products. Britain's manufacturing capacity continued to decline right through the 80s and 90s. In early 2002, "British Made For Quality" was another initiative that again tried to tempt British consumers to buy British made goods. It failed, and the decline continued.

It was the discovery of oil in the North Sea that allowed Britain to sustain its economic activity. As a crude oil exporter, it brought in much needed foreign currency to shore up the ailing British economy.

The tail end of last year, the British Governement once again tried to boost manufacturing by launching yet another initiative. Britain's manufacturing capacity now stands at an historic low at 12% of GDP.

It now appears that America is heading down the same road of inevitable decline. All empires eventually fall. Last year General Motors, the world largest car manufacturer for over sixty years, was overtaken by Toyota of Japan. Toyota now ranks as the worlds number one car manufacturer. These all point to the inherent and inevitable decline of the American Empire.

What's strange, is that American Corporations, by seeking higher profits, shipped out jobs and technologies to poorer countries such as China, India, etc.

This allowed some countries with-in certain industries to build on the influx of American dollars, American know-how, education and training. Those countries built competitive industries, on the back of American industrial production, know-how and profits. 

The corporate search for lower costs and higher profits, resulted in exporting jobs, dollars and allowing competitor countries to build their economies on the back of Americas exported industrial production, which had previously been done in-house.

The horse has bolted. Too late to close the stable doors.