In anticipation of this glorious holiday I asked several people what their favorite part about America is. It must be the crowd I run with, but few could muster non-sarcastic answers. Some even declared disdain for the country in general. I’m not patriotic to say the least, but I do recognize that growing up in this country has provided me many privileges that other people around the world have not had. To say the least a higher standard of living due to our abundant capital. And for facilitating America’s awesomeness I’d like to thank China.
Yes, China is my favorite part of America. And this isn’t a Christopher Columbus geography flub; I know that China isn’t physically connected nor politically governed by the US. However it is quite entwined in our success as a nation and for that we are indebted to them, metaphorically and fiscally. Without them who would push us to improve? As long as capitalism reigns there is only one winner, and to have a winner there must be other competitors. If I remember correctly, we took Britain out of the picture centuries ago; Japan gave us some difficulty, but we showed them we knew how to play with fire… er, nuclear bombs; we’ve been out of Russia’s league for decades; Bin Laden was a terrorizing hellion for almost a decade, but that’s history (though I’d still feel more comfortable with photo evidence). Point being that if we didn’t have China there would be no competition to drive us.
Additionally they do our work for us, thus providing more evidence to support the claim made by Intro to Economics textbooks that there are mutual benefits to trade. Why have Americans perform jobs that we could export to China instead? Recession, shmession. Gaby and Erika, my childhood neighbors, have to buy their grandfather products made in the US for Christmas each year. That’s the only stipulation. I didn’t even know we did that anymore. It’s preposterous to manufacture our own products when they are incredibly cheap to import, which is bewildering considering that requires more product miles, but why worry about it? And those cheap products that end up on our shelves enable us to maintain the basis of our culture: consumerism. Because who doesn’t need more stuff? Particularly plastic stuff. Sure, there’s the occasional lead paint poisoning, but we use chemicals to suspend or facilitate produce ripening depending on the season. And produce is supposed to be ingested vs the likelihood that infants and toddlers will stick toys in their mouths. Our use is just a better kept secret.
So I’m proposing a toast to China. I raise my PBR (sorry, I don’t know of any Chinese beer available in AR) and extend my gratitude. Without you, winning the future would be remarkably less of a big deal.