“America is back,” said the President of all the Americans, “Anyone who tells you America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
Well, Dear Reader, we’re here to tell you: America is in decline.
We can give it to you straight because we’re not running for public office. And if we were elected, we would immediately demand a recount.
Anyone who tells you America is not in decline is either running for office…or not paying attention.
In 1969, more than one out of every three dollars of income in the entire globe was earned in the US. That’s what the IMF’s World Economic Outlook tells us.
By 2000, that number had fallen…but not by much. The US still took home 31% of global income. But in the last 10 years, the US share has fallen hard – losing more than 7%. Now, only 23% of the world’s income is generated by the US.
Ten years ago, China’s economy measured about 1/8th the size of the US. Now, it is 41%. Another decade and it will be the biggest in the world. It is already bigger by several measures. And even if its growth declines to 7% a year, it will still surpass the US in a dozen years.
Hey, don’t take it personally. The entire developed world is in decline – with America leading them all down.
The New York Times reports:
The American economy’s reported 2.8 percent growth in the fourth quarter, at an annual rate, was seen as mildly encouraging. But it meant that over the previous 10 years, the economy had grown at a compound annual rate of just 1.7 percent. Until the current cycle, there had been no similar prolonged period of slow growth since the Depression.
The International Monetary Fund’s latest forecasts indicate that there is not likely to be a pickup in growth anytime soon, either in the United States or other large industrialized countries.
..if the fund’s forecasts of 1.8 percent real growth in 2012 and 2.2 percent in 2013 prove to be accurate, the 10-year American rate at the end of 2013 will have fallen to 1.5 percent… But it will still be a little above the 0.9 percent compound growth rate in the decade from 1929, the year the Depression began, to 1939.
For Britain, which endured a horrible decade in the 1970s that led to talk of the “British disease,” the previous postwar low, not shown in the charts, was in the 10 years ending in the second quarter of 1983, an annual rate of 0.95 percent. The figure for the 10 years through 2011 is 1.4 percent, but the I.M.F. predictions indicate the 2013 figure will fall to just 0.94 percent. The fund expects the British economy to grow by just 0.6 percent this year and by 2 percent in 2013.
The situation is even worse in Italy, where the fund expects the economy to contract by 2.2 percent this year and 0.6 percent the following year. If that happens, Italy’s economy will be smaller at the end of 2013 than it was 10 years earlier. The French economy is forecast to have grown at a 1 percent annual rate over the same 10- year period.
As the developed economies stagnate, the ’emerging’ economies grow. Nineteen of the world’s top economies in 2050 will be those we regard as “emerging” today. China and India will hold the number 1 and number 3 spots, with the US sandwiched between them.
So far, we are just talking about numbers. Try to imagine a world in which today’s emerging markets have more economic power, and vastly more people, than today’s leaders. It is not just China and India who will be calling the shots, but Brazil, Turkey, Russia, Mexico and Indonesia too.
New technologies, new fashions, new ideas, new music, new cars, new movies…all are likely to come from countries where, today, Westerners are afraid to drink the water. Now, they are imitating us. Soon, we will be listening to pop Indian sitar music, eating doner kebabs and watching movies made in Jakarta.
Military power, too, is likely to shift to the growing economies. Like a body builder with a protein shake, they will use their increasing resources, human as well as material, to add muscle. But their muscle will be young, built with new technology and new techniques. America’s geriatric, expensive, bureaucracy-ridden, zombified military industry will be unable to match it.
It is one thing to talk nonsense to the voters. They love that kind of stuff. It flatters them. It comforts them.
But only a fool would believe it.
for The Daily Reckoning Australia