It's not about numbers. China had that same advantage for 200 years. It didn't do them much good.
Of course it's about numbers. Per capita, the US would have to outperform China 5:1 to achieve the same GDP. As China is gaining entrance into the first world, that is just not possible anymore. The US doesn't outperform Belgium 5:1, why would it do it with China?
The US is in sad shape.
How so? The US is leading China in just about every viable statistic there is: GDP per capita, average income, adult literacy, social security... not to speak of the various civil liberties and human rights. Yes, there is a downward trend with the US and an upwards trend in China, but it will still be a couple of decades before parity is achieved. The US might compare a little less favourable to some European countries but what the heck, those are nuances. The US is not in a sad shape.
May I assume that you are a US citizen and a registered voter?
I'm a German citizen and I have voted.
Can you honestly say you are proud of the people whom you have elected to lead you?
No. I didn't elect them to lead me, but to run the country. They could do a better job, they could do a worse job. Democracies are a bitch to govern.
Germany is an export machine.
Let me tell you first hand that it isn't doing any wonders for us. Germany is doing fine, about the same as the US or France I suppose. Nuances, again. But it's not like the export monster is filling the streets with gold.
Tell me, what exactly do you think is better (or worse) over here than in the United States and how that ties to exports.
It was once that you were better off as a mediocre high school graduate in Philadelphia than the brightest kid in Shanghai. You faced a better and easier life. You can't say that any more.
And that is a bad thing...?!
It's great that China is closing the gap! Shouldn't they? Do you see documentaries of the third world and think "Good, just as God intended!"
I think Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and some of Southeast Asia have reached a peak. Until we invent a better system than capitalism, that's about as good as it gets. We can't stay ahead of developing countries, 'cause we have less to develop. I'm seriously not a winner of capitalism, no steady job and little money. Still, I have just about everything I could ask for: a nice home, reliable car that I can afford to fill up with gas, decent clothes on my back, never hungered a day in my life, never feared the cold. I got a TV, a smartphone, a computer. I am the envy of at least 5 billion people in the world who would kill for a life like mine. Yet I know people who are arguebly better off than I am and they bitch. And I think: what do you think you're owed in life?
So the world economy is going through a rough patch. I learned in school that recession is part of the deal. Can't be avoided. Until we invent that better system.
And China is catching up. That isn't bad at all. Nobody believes it would do the US any good if Canada performed poorly or if Australia got into trouble. No. That would be nonsense. By that logic: how is China not doing as good as Canada or Australia going to help? It isn't.
I swear it was you who were defending or apologizing for the naivety and/or stupidity of Japanese energy executives?
I was not. I was challenging your assumption that Japan couldn't handle the situation and would need outside help. And that they were too stupid to ask for it. Which they aren't. I know that the German THW (disaster relief) was over there, as well as nuclear experts.
The Japanese energy executives aren't naive or stupid. If anything, they are greedy and wreckless. Completely different traits.