Economic Nationalism

One of the new TV shows this fall is Outsourced, a sitcom that focuses on a call center that was moved from Kansas City to a place in India. It somewhat gets your mind off the sad topic of those Kansas Citians who lost their jobs and redirects our attention to the funny things happening in the new call center. It causes me to pause and reflect on the ways that I, and my friends, here in middle America have personally been affected by such corporate antics.

I saw a video clip of corporate mogul Donald Trump this morning about dealing with China. Trump is no dummy and understands the nature of the global economy. Here are a few things that Trump has opined on this over the past year:
I love this country, we have a great country ... but it's not really great like it used to be. Let's face it, we are no longer respected the way we used to be respected, and if we keep going like this, within 10 years China is going to overtake us easily.
I know many of the people in China. I know many of the big business people. And they’re laughing at us. They think we’re stupid and our representatives are so stupid, that they can’t even believe what they’re getting away with.

They take our money. They suck it out of us. We charge them virtually no tax and no tax, and they loan it back to us. And then they have our treasury bills. And they say, oh, gee, we have to be afraid of China because they have our treasury bills.
we have all the power, because if we ever say we’re going to tax you 50 percent for all of the things that you sell to this country, you could pay off your treasury bills in a short period of time.

And, by the way, guess what would happen? People would start making things in North Carolina and Alabama and Illinois and lots of other places where they’re all unemployed. So, we have the power
Trump espouses something that might be considered Economic Nationalism.. the idea that a nation should protect it's financial interests through the use of taxes and tariffs on imported goods. I think that a lot of folks might rally around these ideas.

Thinking back I can remember the days when things made in Japan and China were somewhat of a joke. The words "made in Japan" were an anecdote for poor quality. The advent of brands like Sony, Panasonic, Lexus and Honda seems to have changed that perception. Many American consumers prefer these Japanese brands because of the quality associated with them.. and they are price competitive as well.

So I guess the challenge might be two-fold. Firstly American products must find a way to identify as quality items and at least match foreign products in this area. Secondly I think that there has to be a way to create a level playing field in the global marketplace. Sadly late night comics sometimes refer to the overseas child labor used to manufacture the stuff we all buy. I do not think that we can ever compete in that kind of environment.

It is kind of crazy how a company can manufacture goods on the other side of the world, and transport the stuff here, cheaper than simply making the stuff here in the USA. It speaks to me of the inequities of the global marketplace. Also speaks to me about the influence that these corporations have on the US government.

I think that many resonate with Trump's message and think that American governmental leaders should be helping American workers by leveling the playing field in the global marketplace. I would love to see the USA turn things around in this next decade. If not we will see more jobs outsourced and and less products made in the USA.

Do you know of anyone who has lost their job to workers in other countries?


  1. I've never cared for Trump too much, but I do agree with what he has said. I remember, too, when Made in Japan was junk.

    I don't know anyone directly who has been directed by outsourcing. I just know I don't like to talk to people I can't understand.

  2. I think Trump has a point. Not only are our people being put out of work by outsourcing, many of the products we are buying that are made overseas are becoming increasingly shoddy and and many even contain toxic materials. With 20% of China's exports landing on Walmart's shelves, we've got a problem. Chinese parents are buying expensive Japanese-made toys for their children because THEY don't trust the safety of Chinese-made toys, so that ought to be telling us something, don't ya think?

    America's problem is that we are addicted to cheap. Unfortunately someone always eventually pays the price for cheap. :(


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