The US never attacks a country that possesses nuclear weapons. We never have. Here is a cute little two minute vid which explains it in a funny way:
The bottom line is that the US doesn't pick on countries where a major fight could occur. The only time we fought big fights was when there were several on our side, and most of the war had already been fought. There are few exceptions to that rule, and those were times when the fight was brought to us, not the contrary. We're not about to start launching bombs on a country that could turn around an devaste a great portion of the world, including a lot of us. I'm still waiting for APL's great intervention plan on how to attack China and NOT have a nuclear war. I'll be very surprised if he can come up with anything at all.
I wouldn't mind everything being made in the US. I think we do a great job for the most part. Our labor's expensive, but the quality is often very good.
You stated this:
For 200 years, the US built the world's biggest economy, and best standard of living
The above implies that 200 years ago we had the world's biggest economy and best standard of living. This just isn't so. Up until the 20th Century the US was a fast-paced, expanding nation that grew in size by way of purchasing land, fighting wars and wiping out local popluations. Our industries grew, our labor was relatively cheap in the world, and our manufacturing ability steadily increased. We didn't have the greatest standard of living, but we were steadily improving.
Only after the second world war were we pretty much alone at the top. That's because the other major economies had just been flattened by 5 years of steady bombardment. We were IT as far as production was concerned. Our standard of living didn't necessarily rise to the top. It was more a case of the other nations fell below us. Nevertheless, since WWII our labor costs have been among the highest around the world.
So when you have WalMart, Target, CostCo, and others vying for your dollar, they realize that you will purchase from the store with the cheapest cost, all else being equal. Labor costs become a huge factor in this. If it's made in America, the overall cost of it will generally be a lot higher than if it was made overseas and shipped here. That is economics 101. As a consumer, if WalMart sells their widget for $2.00 because it was made in China, and Target sells an identical widget for $12.00 because it was made in Akron, Ohio, you're gonna buy from WalMart. There will be a small percentage of the population that will "buy patriotic" and spend the extra $10.00, but if you're a member of the lower middle class or poor class, the meaning of "patriotic" takes on a whole nuther rung.
The bottom line??? For every widget "made in USA" that Target sells, WalMart will sell 1,000. You know that, they know that, we all know that. That's why no one among them is pushing the "buy patriot" advertising. American labor is too expensive for most common goods. If you're talking a high end performance vehilce, I don't care how much cheaper China makes it, I won't buy it. China is definitely not known for their attention to detail and quality. High end cars are not cheap. I want good quality for my money especially when I have to pay thousands of dollars to get it. In other words, the US has not been able to compete on the world's stage for cheap items for a long time now. The US can and does compete in other areas such as, computers, military equipment, fast food, certain construction supplies, high end technical machinery, space technology etc.
You're also implying that in 1977 and before we didn't buy from overseas countries.
Over the past 30 years, we have been propagandized to believe that we need cheap crap from third world countries in order to survive.
I can remember back to the early 60s. Then it was cheap radios from Japan. I remember that there were also about 25 different brands of TVs, all made in the US, competing for out dollars. Over the years, and prior to 1978, that dwindled down to two or three. Japan could just make them better and cheaper, even when you factored in shipping costs. In the 60s the rest of the world was still coming out of the second world war. The major economies that existed before the war were still retooling and rebuilding. As the years went buy, their abilities improved, the production of common goods became very standardized and easy to make, and cost cutting maxed out on all raw materials. The only cost cutting measure left was labor. Since our labor is expensive, companies started shifting their plants to cheaper countries. Those companies that didn't follow suit are no longer with us. Their employees are either without a job, or with another company which is sending its mfg overseas.
As Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and a few other high end labor countries can attest, the only items that are logical to produce in their countries are high end technologically superior products that cannot be mass produced. This isn't a US-only problem. This is Economics 101. It's the same for every country. When Chinese labor starts becoming more expensive, global mfg companies will switch to other countries to cut labor costs, it's that simple. My paradigm will work regardless of what American companies do.
btw, your cute little cartoon missed a big point. The gentleman was making US wages in the US. In Mexico, he's making 1/10 the wages. There is no reason for any company to shift their manufacturing to another country if they don't receive a benefit for it. That makes no sense.
"Hey Bill, let's ship this production to Japan, what'd'ya think?"
"But Japan has the same labor rates we have. We'll be paying a ton more in new costs of shipping, packaging, customs, delays to our stores, etc. We'll increase the cost of the product by 50%"
"Yeah, I know. I just want to be able to tell little Johnny that we are now making stuff overseas like the big boys. You know he asked me the other day, and I said I'd look into it."
"But our product will be priced out of the market. If we pay the same labor rates in Japan that we pay here, all the other companies will be cheaper and we'll go out of business."
"Yes, but I promised little Johnny that we'd make stuff overseas so that he can tell his other friends whose parents run Ford, GM, WalMart and the other big companies."
"But it doesn't make sense to spend MORE money somewhere else for the same product. The only reason to build elsewhere is to save costs, not spend more!!"
"Oh, you know how little Johnny can whine. Now let's see how we can ship this overseas and spend more money making the same thing and THEN try to sell it to Americans. I hope our Marketing staff is up to the task."
And yes, I realize that Mexico isn't "overseas," it's next door. You forget that I worked there for four years in a town called Apizaco, Tlaxcala, Mexico. I worked for CLEMEX, Creusot-Loire Entreprise, Mexico, a French-Mexican consortium. They are located at the industrial park, Ciudad Industrial Xicohtencatl (and it took me nearly a year to pronounce that last word correctly). The make heavy equipment for the petrochemical industry.
I know what it's like to work in other countries. I know the differences. I know Economics 101 and the need to stay competitive in a global economy. So do our business leaders. Many of the 163 incursions into other countries were to help our industry in a beleaguered country survive. You can look it up.
http://adbusters.org/media/flash/hope_a ... meline.swf