The American media loves to latch onto a narrative and then relentlessly pound it home, until it becomes accepted fact -- even if the narrative is full of flaws and half-truths. The latest example of wrong-headed groupthink: The Chinese economy will soon bury us alive.
To be sure, the Chinese economy recently became the second largest in the world, after finally overtaking Japan. That means we're next -- right?
Not really. Back in the 1980s, America feared that its once-mighty manufacturing base was getting "hollowed out" and its assembly line workers were being transformed into a mindless horde of minimum wage hamburger flippers. Not too long ago, economic pundits warned that our country was saddled with a low-skilled, poorly educated workforce on the verge of becoming indentured wage slaves to the Japanese.
What a difference a recession makes. After the bubble burst in Japan in 1989, that once mighty economy is still mired in a 20-year slump and is grappling with deflation. With the ascendancy of American high technology during the last two decades, you don’t hear that kind of whining about Japan anymore.
But now, everyone is afraid of the latest boogeyman -- China.
It's a fact that China increasingly dominates the world economy by wielding carefully calibrated mercantilist policies. But here are eight serious shortcomings to Red China, Inc. that you should keep in mind: