The Beginning of After

So Vlad is getting the band back together and going out on tour. Some political voices, like Marco Rubio, are calling for the U.S. to act. It might sound good, but we will not. We cannot.

The era of a powerful United States is past. The decades of growth and wealth following WWII have been over long enough for us to dig a seventeen trillion dollar hole. To try to maintain spending on social programs we are currently cutting the U.S. military back to pre-WWII levels. This, after using up our military, both the personnel and the equipment, in two wars over the past 13 years. Russia isn’t worried about us doing anything other than issuing strongly worded statements.

For that matter, Iran isn’t either. They nodded and scraped a bit, but they have continued right along the path of developing the capability to enrich uranium to the level necessary to make thermonuclear weapons.

And China is leaving us behind economically. They may be using their own population as slaves to make the products, but they are winning. In 2013 they passed us as the world’s top trader of merchandise. We don’t make electronics, the last American made TV was a Zenith and they gave it up in 1995. **UPDATE in the comments** Cars? Steel? Oil? Textiles? China has no reason to pay attention to the needs or wishes of the United States. They have already won their war with us, one department store sale at a time. We owe over five trillion dollars in debt to other countries. Half of that is held by just two, Japan and China.

So, this Russian expansion in eastern Europe? This is what after looks like. We are going to see a lot more of it.

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5 thoughts on “The Beginning of After

  1. While I agree with the gist of what you wrote about us not doing anything about Ukraine, Iran, those Japanese islands or anything else, and largely being a country in slow motion collapse, there’s miles and miles of difference between “the last American made TV was a Zenith and they gave it up in 1995” and “We don’t make electronics”. We make literally tons of electronics every year, just not the lowest end consumer products. We even make high end consumer products. I’ve been in electronics manufacturing since about 1976 and this company I’m with (for the last 18 years) is the first that sends some of it out of the country to be built. Mexico isn’t really “offshore” in the technical sense, but it’s not in the USA either.

    Sorry. The “we don’t manufacture anything” meme is a pet peeve of mine.

  2. My understanding of technology manufacturing was that all the consumer electronics were made in China, Malaysia, India, etc. and that part of the issue was the EPA regulations concerning chemicals used in the manufacturing processes. Since SiGraybeard works in the industry, I’ll stand corrected.

  3. Yep, the Soviets are reconstituting, China is on the rise, and we’re retreating… NOT good (for us)…

  4. I’ll have to both agree and disagree with SiGraybeard (I believe we’re of similar ages and experience – we’re at different sides of the same industry). Of course we still manufacture high-end technology … and do it well – but I don’t believe we have the flexibility/attitude/business climate to pursue R&D with the enthusiasm that characterized the 70s – 80s. Nor do we have the “vertical infrastructure” to be self-contained in at least the electronics industry.

    R&D is risky and expensive. Accounting procedures are rarely – if ever – configured to associate R&D costs now with payoff 3-5 years in the future. The payoff – if anf when – is “later”; the expense is “now”. While not everything is outsourced, the abandonment – or perhaps more importantly – the mental attitude (and tax laws) which encourage significant amounts of offshore outsourcing have not helped us keep an edge. Even if we manufacture on-shore, many of the parts used in manufacturing are now built overseas. Labor costs have increased, salaries decreased. I work with a pretty sharp newbie … who accepted a job at a payscale appropriate for the 90s. Just one of the little insignificant straws on the camel’s back … but the straws are adding up.

    I most certainly agree with the main point of this post …

    Q

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