Undiplomatic Banner
10th August 2008 Charles J. Brown
10:17 pm

The Avis of Nations


From the Financial Times today:

China is set to overtake the US next year as the world’s largest producer of manufactured goods, four years earlier than expected, as a result of the rapidly weakening US economy. . . .  Last year the US was still easily in the top slot and accounted for a fifth of the total. China was second with 13.2 per cent.

John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington-based trade group, played down the effect of the projections. It was “inevitable” that China would take over on account of its size, he said. “This should be a wholesome development for the US, for it promises both political stability for the world’s largest country and continuing opportunities for the US to export to, and invest in, the world’s fastest-growing economy.”

As recently as last year. . .economists predicted that the US would retain the top position until 2013, but a large downward revision in likely output this year and next is expected to cause the US to slip more quickly than had been expected. . . .  The expected change will end more than a 100 years of US dominance.

In case you don’t know already, John Engler was the Republican governor of the failed state of Michigan from 1991 to 2003.  Those were the years that Michigan’s manufacturing base (primarily automakers and auto parts makers) collapsed.  Engler was rumored to be interested in running for President in 2000 but instead was an early supporter of then-Texas Governor George W. Bush.  Although Engler never held a postiion in the Bush Administration, Dubya did appoint Engler’s wife, Michelle, to the Freddie Mac board.  And we all know how well that institution has been doing lately.

So basically we’re talking about the economic disaster power couple of the year.

I’m not an economic nationalist.  I think globalization is largely a good thing — and likely inevitable.  But that doesn’t mean I want our economy to implode beyond recovery.  And if I were an economic nationalist — or perhaps a trade group that is economically nationalist — I think I’d want someone other that this guy running the show.

Our manufacturing base is going down the toilet and our largest manufacturing trade group has as its CEO an apologist for the President.  Apparently NAM and Engler believe  that the United States becoming the Avis of manufacturing is somehow a good thing.  We may be number two, but we’ll try harder!

Somehow, I’m not reassured.

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 10th, 2008 at 10:17 pm and is filed under globalization, politics, world at home. It is tagged under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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