The past century brought innumerable opportunities and hence riches to Americans; we were the envy of the world. WWII was over, American GIs came home – the economy roared ahead. The sixties were the best of times, the dollar ruled the world. Seventies saw great anxiety, the eighties inflation, the nineties dot.com bust. Growth could not be held back as it took hold time and time again. The new millennium saw house prices boom, then crash, bringing with it the rest of the economy and that of the world. Financial empires were lost and new ones rose from the dead.
Despite an avowed socialist winning the presidency in 2008 and 2016, the economy prospered as the monetary fountain showered the land with easy money. New technologies came to the fore, older paradigms became obsolete. Brawn became old hat, physical labor trumped by brain power. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the algorithm revolution gave birth to new enterprises. Despite all the hoopla, predictions of the coming doom and economic malaise can be found in various media outlets.
(click)Factories turning to robots like there is no tomorrow; menial jobs being replaced at warp speed with bots. But with all that being said, the economy is buzzing along, employment at an all time high and unemployment skidding south faster than America’s retailers. Bitcoin has becomes the new tulip craze, propelled by Viagra chewing speculators.Image from Industriemuseum Chemnitz.
When will it end, can we see the future, what disaster lies ahead? Will China rule the world? Will a black swan make an appearance? Is America’s glass half full or half empty? It is important to note that the odds of us remaining the behemoth that we are for another century are slim indeed. Technology can migrate in milliseconds, communication sees to it. Fifty percent of start-ups are by foreign born; they come here for economic reasons knowing that their inventions are safe from tyrannical governments, but that is changing fast. Other countries are now transforming their political and legal systems. They understand what it takes to grow the new economy, especially those in the tech sector. Manufacturing at one time ruled, holding sway not only here, but in the developing countries as well, but these countries have not stood idly by. They have found out that economies don’t run on oil alone.