The Economic Pendulum Swings from West to East
The term “American Century” was triumphantly proclaimed in a famous editorial in Life magazine in 1941 in the early phase of World War II, before the United States had even entered the war, to describe the system publisher Henry Luce saw dominating the postwar world after the fall of the rival British Empire.
The American Century has lasted a mere seven decades if we date from the end of the war. Its record has been one of dismal failure on balance. The industrial base of the United States, the predominant leading industrial nation and leading scientific innovator, today is a hollowed, rotted shell with once-booming cities like Detroit or Philadelphia or Los Angeles now burned-out ghettos of unemployed and homeless.
– – William Engdahl
Undoubtedly Engdahl’s assessment of “the American Century”, past and present, will be viewed by many to be overly harsh and pessimistic. Such readers are either living in the past, or they simply spend too much of their time reading the pie-in-the-sky reporting on the U.S. economy from the mainstream media.
According to the mainstream media, and the U.S. government itself, the U.S. economy has created 14 million net new jobs during the (near) eight years of the Obama regime. In the real world, however, the actual number of Americans with jobs has declined by roughly 3 million people over this period of time, as reflected by the civilian participation report.
To hide this truth, the U.S. government does what it always does when wanting to make the U.S. economy appear “strong”: it makes up its own numbers. The favorite tool of the U.S. government in fabricating statistics is “seasonal adjustments”. And here is where the deceit is exposed.
There can be no possible “seasonal adjustment” made to a simple measurement of the total number of Americans who are employed. A person is either employed, or they aren’t. This simple truth cannot change, irrespective of whether the date is January 1st, December 31st, or any day in between.
However, via the magic of “seasonal adjustments” the total of three million less American jobs during the last eight years morphs into a gain of five million jobs. Note that even with this statistical chicanery, the total number of supposed new jobs is 9 million lower than the claims by the BLS and the Obama regime, religiously parroted by the mainstream media.
Eliminate the 8 million additional jobs which the BLS conjured into existence via “seasonal adjustments” in the jobs reports themselves, and the gap between what has been claimed by the Obama government — and reported by the mainstream media – swells to 17 million jobs. These 17 million jobs don’t exist, and have never existed. For the past eight years, the only job-creator in the U.S. economy has been the calendar.
While the United States spends its time and effort manufacturing reports of imaginary new jobs, in the East they have a somewhat different philosophy: manufacturing products, and in doing so creating real jobs. Once upon a time; the United States manufactured products and created real jobs. Indeed, that was largely at the root of the proclaimed “American Century.”
Now it is the Eastern world which is the world’s primary manufacturer. Along with this massive manufacturing base, the East is creating a 21st century transportation network to support it. Engdahl continues:
The Eurasian Century is the name I give to the economic emergence of the countries contiguous from China across Central Asia, Russia, Belarus, Iran and potentially Turkey. They are being integrally linked through the largest public infrastructure projects in modern history, in fact the most ambitious ever, largely concentrated on the 2013 initiative by Chinese President Xi Jinping called the One Belt, One Road initiative or OBOR. The project and its implications for Europe and the rest of the world economy have been so far greeted in the west with a stone silence that defies explanation.
Informed readers will be aware that China’s “One Belt, One Road” policy is a modern reinvention of the ancient “Silk Road”: a Eurasian trading network that spanned from China in the East to Turkey and the Mediterranean in the West.
In resurrecting this concept for the 21st century; China focused on an elementary premise. In order to increase Eurasian trade and to be able to handle much larger traffic levels of trading requires infrastructure. Once again we see a dichotomy between East and West.
The West (and the U.S. in particular) used to be the world’s epicenter for infrastructure development. Not surprisingly, when the U.S. was evolving into the world’s premier manufacturer, it was also rapidly developing an enormous infrastructure network to support all that trade.
Today, infrastructure across the U.S. (and the rest of the West) is no longer being built. Existing infrastructure is no longer even being properly maintained. Instead, Western infrastructure is literally crumbling. Once-smooth highways are now pockmarked with pot-holes, and even the bridges linking those highways are now literally falling down.
America’s economic basic infrastructure–bridges, sewer and water treatment plants, electric grid, railways, highways–have been neglected for more than four decades for a variety of reasons. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently estimated that gross domestic product will be reduced by $4 trillion between 2016 and 2025 because of lost business sales, rising costs and reduced incomes if the country continues to underinvest in its infrastructure. That is on top of the fact that they estimate the country at present urgently requires new infrastructure investment of $3.3 trillion by the coming decade just to renew.
A recent commentary highlighted the stark contrast in infrastructure and infrastructure spending between the West and the East, specifically China. Western spending on infrastructure is near-zero, apart from all the “security infrastructure” being erected by these fascist regimes. Meanwhile, China is building real infrastructure, and OBOR is the epitome of its empire-building philosophy.
It is instructive to note an intense propaganda campaign that was launched by the Western media several years ago. The propaganda proclaimed that China was building “ghost cities”: brand-new urban centers which, supposedly, were never going to be populated. This propaganda was ludicrous, on multiple levels.
First of all, China is still in the early stages of urbanization: relocating 100’s of millions of its own peasant population into urban centers, in order to elevate them from subsistence agriculture to the status of middle-class workers. The supposed “ghost cities” built by China can only house a small portion of these 100’s of millions, thus the notion that China had built excessive urban/residential capacity into its economy was utter nonsense.
Furthermore, even the propaganda noted that the supposed “ghost cities” were being immaculately maintained, in anticipation of the hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants who are in the process of relocating from more rural areas.
In contrast, as Engdahl observes, the United States has real Ghost Cities: crumbling, inner city ghettos – which have been abandoned by all but the poorest residents. And the only reason the U.S.’s inner cities haven’t been abandoned by the Poor is because they lack the economic mobility to flee these dilapidated, crime-filled neighbourhoods. With millions of urban homes still vacant as a consequence of the U.S.’s previous housing bubble and massive wave of foreclosures, local governments continue to fight with foreclosing banks over which should bear the costs of either maintaining these premises, or bulldozing them to clear the way for new development.
China’s immaculately maintained “ghost cities” will soon be fully populated. The U.S.’s Ghost Cities continue to depopulate – and crumble. Which “ghost cities” should the Western mainstream media have been writing about?
The United States used to continually boast that it was “the growth engine of the world.” Today, that engine has clearly broken down. In contrast, China already has plans firmly in place to make itself the growth engine of Eurasia – on the way to becoming the new growth engine of the world.