I haven’t read Zakaria’s book myself but, judging by this review in the New York Times, I don’t think I need to read it. We’ve heard it all before.
The following excerpts in particular caught my eye:
… America is “becoming suspicious of the very things we have long celebrated — free markets, trade, immigration and technological change”: witness Democratic candidates’ dissing of Nafta, Republican calls for tighter immigration control, and studies showing that American students are falling behind students from other developed countries in science and math.
We’re “suspicious” of these things because decades of experience with them have taught us that they’re not working to our benefit. If American students are falling behind in science and math, it’s because they don’t see any future in it, with all of our manufacturing being lost to parasitic trade “partners.”
While readers might take recent signs like recession at home, a falling dollar abroad and a huge trade deficit as suggesting that the American economy is in trouble, Mr. Zakaria asserts that the United States (unlike Britain, which was undone as a world power because of “irreversible economic deterioration”) can maintain “a vital, vibrant economy, at the forefront of the next revolutions in science, technology, and industry — as long as it can embrace and adjust to the challenges confronting it.”
We’ve been trying to “embrace change” (a euphemism for acquiescing to the will of our trade welfare recipients) for decades, and look where it has gotten us. Finally, Five Short Blasts has exposed the folly of our trade policies. This is nothing more than the typical globalization cheerleading that has gotten American into such a financial mess in the first place.
As Mr. Zakaria sees it, the “economic dysfunctions in America today” are the product not of “deep inefficiencies within the American economy,” but of specific government policies — which could be reformed “quickly and relatively easily” to put the country on a more stable footing. “A set of sensible reforms could be enacted tomorrow,” he says, “to trim wasteful spending and subsidies, increase savings, expand training in science and technology, secure pensions, create a workable immigration process and achieve significant efficiencies in the use of energy” — if only the current political process weren’t crippled by partisanship, special-interest agendas, a sensation-driven media, ideological attack groups and legislative gridlock.
And here we have the kind of polyanna-ish “solutions” that our candidates feed us. “We can do it,” cheerleading isn’t a solution. Exactly how does he propose this be done without addressing our $700+ billion per year trade deficit and without reining in our explosive population growth? Where would he get the money to “secure pensions” without bringing that trade deficit and our jobs back home?
It’s time for the American people to see this kind of nonsense for what it is – propaganda disseminated by those with a vested interested in population growth and the pursuit of markets in overpopulated nations – the global corporations and their CEOs and their stooge economists who lend them credibility in the eyes of the gullible.