“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Extract from Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus (1883)
In the late ‘90s, the pocketbooks of American Main Streets were content as their president in the White House was going through the worst personal crisis of his life being played out in the public square because of his own folly of entangling the two. He left office with very high personal likability after being impeached by proxy by the people in the United States House of Representatives but acquitted in the court of a more reasoned public opinion in the United States Senate. And then all hell broke loose after the crystal ball fell and as the millennium turned.
The principle and purpose that fueled the Clinton miracle was the search for markets: more mouths to feed around the world with the purpose of making Americans better off while making others better off. It was assumed to be a catalyzing force after the Cold War to achieve eventual self-sustainability for all.
Cooked in the halls of the ivory tower, that the United States could be better off if and only if it innovated while passing on its previous riches to the aspiring noveau riche around the world was a clever concept that failed in practice in the halls of power. Americans consumed to feed the rest of the world, but did not innovate fast enough to keep pace with the change elsewhere, eventually hurting their own capacity to consume.
The facades of information technology and finance could not be converted into real capital stock that could be spread around the global production chain as a matter of sound business practice by the 30 global corporations constituting the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Wealth, achieved quickly, had desiccated the desire to perform real work.
The political and economic expedience of the convenience of eager, cheap and less litigious labor abroad displaced domestic investment in real innovation. Innovation itself could be outsourced, in toto, without creating a value chain as strategic best business practice demands, because the financiers do not care, in the absence of sound government oversight, about where their money goes as long as they receive more than they lend.
People’s happiness drained from their faces when holes were poked in their pockets because their stock and home values along with their jobs were hung out to dry by the very same financiers on Wall Street who had showed them glimpses of a wealth. Money and machines were going abroad making the counterparts of the Wall Street mavens in other countries wealthy at the expense of the rest of the people, the perpetual certainty of a few turning into chronic uncertainty for the majority, baited by illusions of wealth, to be tended by designs of expanding welfare states.
Around the planet, globalization stopped looking better by mid-decade in the new century. The new buzz phrase for damage control had then become “better globalization.” But what is it anyway?
The Clinton administration had failed to realize, followed by his successors in the White House of both parties, that Americans, a mere 300 million in number from sea to shining sea in God’s sweet spot on earth, need not go abroad to search for markets where there are the multitudes, but markets can be brought in to globalize, because this is what America is and has always been. Immigrants – red, white and black – always increased the population of the United States, and markets are but people.
For the United States to expand to the markets of the remaining 6 billion people, the first order of business is to make America representative of them. We must learn to like the people as much as we like their markets. A country of a billion people by 2050 means a much larger economy, given the wherewithal of America’s productive capacity, than a country of a mere 400 million. For example, expecting to turn China and India into America is a fool’s errand in comparison to first bringing willing Chinese and Indians into the America that already is for the benefit of the United States.
Approximately 20 million immigrants per year or about 8 times the current rate of immigration will produce a 4 per cent net population growth rate at 2.5 live births per woman over the next 40 years. Assuming relatively unchanged birth and death rates, US population will be about 1 billion by 2050, contrary to the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) normative estimate in its World Fact Book of the annual population growth rate of 0.993 per cent (the net population growth rate is the birth rate minus the death rate plus the immigration rate).
Such an immigration policy, reversed in practice in an un-American manner by the Clinton administration after the Cold War by seeking foreign markets rather than increasing the US market size as had been the case throughout American history, will also renew and change the economic structure of the United States, as the time tested growth theory of Solow can attest, by raising the potential growth rate at the existing global technology frontier without raising inflation.
The G13 emerging markets group of the newly created G20 can make it happen for America, to keep it what it is, by dumping US debt for dollars rather than lending to the United States. These dollars can be used to better integrate with the G7 by significantly expanding their investment and demographic presence in the United States using their foreign exchange reserves when Wall Street does not want to.
Integration here will transform them there.
Oh! Ancient lands,” calls she
With silent lips. “Your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, need me to come to thee.”