My Take on America’s Position in the World

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I am no economist, historian, or political scientist or a conspiracy theorist but it seems to me that one of our most fundamental problems right now is that it is hard to continue the momentum of success in our country. The generations of the past were producers. They worked hard with their hands and built this country from the ground up. They didn’t have ipods, internet or a zillion other mind-numbing distractions to keep them fat and happy. If they didn’t produce something they would starve. They did such a good job that their descendants were able to receive from them great wealth and infrastructure. What set in was a level of comfortability and a lack of drive to produce goods that the world would find desirable and we changed from producers to consumers. As a result of our consumer mindset we now import far more than we export and we have leveraged ourselves in debt up to our eyeballs to do so. Now what we are seeing is a fatal combination of those who have never had to produce anything of their own or to put on the market in the precarious position of having to dig themselves out of a financial pit but they have no gumption. People still want to numb their brains with technological time-wasting devices and addictions in order to not face the reality that is before us.

We need a kick in the pants. We need to close our eyes to those things which distract us and open our eyes and see just how grave this problem really is. We need  people to step up and produce a quality product again and for the free market to work itself out. Instead the government has found this the prime opportunity to do what some have wanted to do for a long time…nationalize everything. So they purchase over 80% of AIG and are now moving on buying stock in many other banks. In doing so they will be able to use our tax money and loans not only to buy up “toxic” debt (which is a horrible thing to do with tax dollars) but also to control the banks/their boards of trustees. Ultimately, those who control the purse-strings + have legislative and executive power can then freely push their agenda wherever they want it to go. They can withhold lending to companies they don’t like and do many other things that will suppress the free market in America and ultimately we will end up with a socialist system just because we felt we needed immediate help to work this situation out. We have chosen slow death over a rather painful but temporary and treatable illness. It should be an interesting next 5-10 years! Hopefully we can swing the momentum back to being a productive part of the world again.

Boy am I glad to be a Christian and realize that the kingdom I am part of is not of this world and will outlast anything the government or society can throw at it. God is good.

0 Responses

  1. I just discovered your blog and I have enjoyed reading it.

    You bring up a good point about people today being consumners and not producers. I believe you are right in saying that this has caused many of our problems along with the distractions that preoccupy us.

    Great thoughts and keep up the good work!

  2. That the country shifted from being a net producer to a net consumer of the world’s goods was not because people got lazy; it was because your christian capitalist managers TOOK production off shore. Lower wage costs = higher profit. Once upon a time, the American electronics industry invented and produced top notch video tape recorders (think Ampex Corporation – 2 inch and later 1 inch video tape recorders for use by television studios and broadcasters. Why did this industry move to Japan (and later China)? First, new technology superseded the big machines, and it so happened that foreign capitalists acted faster than American capitalists. Second, because cheap labor was needed to produce small consumer models (think Sony) that American workers could afford. Just one small example.

    The United States was an industrial powerhouse for decades because WE had cheap labor (all those European immigrants willing to work for less than top dollar), a huge expanding economy (all those European immigrants wanting a better lifestyle) and a huge supply of natural resources. Those advantages no longer apply in the way they did in, say, 1920.

    Eventually every top-of-the-heap economy is succeeded by another one with more advantages. If you want free enterprise, get used to being on the losing end of the equation sometimes.

    By the way, during the gory years (not the glory years) of US capitalism, that time when everything was so great, there was a tremendous enrichment of the few by the many. All those hard working Americans (and they really were hard working) were repaid pitifully poorly for their efforts. They still are — look at Sam Walton’s wage slaves at Walmart.

    I don’t know why you think production is more blessed than consumption: Consumption simply means that one enjoys the benefits of one’s productive labor. Don’t you think people SHOULD enjoy the fruits of their labor?

    As for the distraction of Ipods, cell phones, etc.: These are simply the toys of the current generation. How about your toys or the toys of your parents? Did you grow up with radio and TV (the distractors of the previous generation)? Did you listen to vinyl records or CDs? Did you enjoy driving a car and going to movies? Reading magazines? Talking on the telephone? Etc. ETc. ETC.

  3. Matt,

    Something that concerns me is the state of denial that many are in. My opinion is that we are terribly close to, if not already entrenched in, Emperialism. No one has the world-wide presence we do. I don’t think its good either.

    The strength the country was solidified “inside out” when it abided by the constitutional approach of non-interventionism. Few will admit this, but I believe denial is the reason.

    Take the Iraq war. I believe it was a mistake, one that we will be paying for for a long time. Few and far between, though, are the ones who at one time advocated invading Iraq who have now admitted it was a mistake. Why so few? Denial maybe.

    You are right. Things need to change, but like matters surrounding the church, they won’t as long as we are in denial.

    Good post bro!

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