June 30, 2009
The United States has, from its conception, been part of the global community. However, in the modern era of renaming, repackaging and rewriting the world wide economy has become globalized. Of course, there is an important distinction between being a part of a global economy and having your economy globalized. As the laws of supply and demand work their magic on the markets, the economy fluctuates, sometimes violently. However, apart from the complete collapse of international trade and travel the system survives, revives and soars to greater heights each time. From the very birth of our great nation with the writing of the Constitution, we have had to consider the impact of international trade. While our nation was born of enlightenment and came of age in industrialization, the 21st Century has redefined what it is to be part of the global community, possibly to our detriment.
One way that the Constitution addressed the economy succinctly, was that it pushed off the decisions concerning slavery to later generations. There is no doubt that the cotton of the South and textiles of the North relied heavily on trade with Europe. As that trade was imperative to the survival of the nation’s economy, the founding fathers chose to turn a blind eye to the mechanism of production of cotton in order to insure that the economy would not fail. Of course, in the end that choice led down a dark road to civil war and destroyed the basis for that economy. We survived as a nation, rebuilding and transitioning into an industrial powerhouse. We became the toolbox and breadbasket of the world. Unfortunately, this too would draw us into war.
The United States has since gone to war many times and suffered through the Great Depression with her foreign sisters due largely to a global economy. We avoided the great wars of the 20th Century in the beginning, but could not keep out of the fray indefinitely. Whether because of the Japanese Imperial hunger for raw materials or the tons of equipment sold to the allies, economy had as much to do with our actual entry into the war as the Zimmerman note or the bombing of Pearl Harbor. We as a nation have tried to avoid such foreign entanglements, as warned by President Washington in his farewell address in 1796. Nevertheless, we have in the end, succumbed to the irresistible draw of the morass that is globalization.
Our nation is today more entangled than ever. We outsource jobs to faraway lands where labor is cheap, reducing the number of jobs available to our people. We are bound by convention and treaty to uphold standards that our global competitors refuse to acknowledge. We have entered into treaties that protect our neighbor’s local economy to the detriment of our own. We are so inextricably tied to the global network of money, whether via trade for goods or the sale of bonds to foreign governments that nearly any fluctuation has an effect on the economy of Main Street USA. Of course, short of becoming complete isolationists, there is little hope of extracting ourselves from the global community. However, one can only hope that we begin to realize how much we have given away for a few barrels of oil, or a few cheap cars.
The United States has been blessed by the will of the gods and the toil of man with prosperity and power for nearly two and a half centuries. We have risen from an upstart rebellion to a world power and have largely (with one major exception) transitioned power every four years without bloodshed. Our economic might plays an arguably bigger role in the global community than does our military. We are a nation built on international trade and our diversity has served us well. We were also warned in our infancy of the dangers of foreign influence, and have tried to avoid them. However, to avoid international trade and become isolationists is a nearly impossible task. Therefore, we as a nation must recognize the pitfalls before us, as well as the ones that we are already in, and try to regain some sovereignty while maintaining trade relations.
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Posted by: km at August 30, 2010 10:27 PM (yeyN2)
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