Monday, March 15, 2010

Keeping Up With the Competition: Can We Compete in a World Market?

Much has been written about the global economy in the last twenty years or so. It was presented as the New World Order of Economics, wherein everyone was a beneficiary and there was nary a downside. Indeed, we would all be ushered into a brave new world (by our benevolent governments, of course), everyone could work as they pleased, money would be plentiful, the price of goods would be reduced and everyone would enjoy all the positives and none of the negatives.

Here we are twenty years later, enough time to accurately gauge the effects of this new way of economic thinking. So, where is here, exactly?

Hint, it's not as good as we were used to. In fact, if you use any traditional yardstick, we're much worse off.

Today's unemployment numbers stand at record levels not seen in a generation. Job growth is non-existant, the GDP is flailing, purchasing power and consumer confidence are very low, and nearly one out of five Americans is jobless or underemployed.

It's gotten so bad that the Obama administration has tried to change the traditional measurements of economic health by introducing the new paradigm of "jobs, saved or created". This is a blatent attempt to fool you into thinking something that isn't true.

Thank goodness it isn't working. There are too many folks out there suffering. Do you know someone who hasn't been negatively affected by the economy? Do you know someone who has lost their job? Or their house? Or been forced to move to find a job? This blog is willing to bet that the majority of you do.

Which brings me to the original point: Is this global economy working to our advantage or is it time to reconsider and perhaps try something different?

Anyone who has ever engaged in business will tell you that you must keep up with the competition. In the quest to generate wealth, it's axiomatic that someone will think of better ways to do things. You can either become better than your competition, or you'll lose market share and money to a more agile competitor.

But when the government becomes a business factor, look forward to reduced efficiency and higher costs, with the resultant drag on the economy and a reduced standard of living. Once government decides to impose its will in the private market, we all see the negative impact, even if we somehow manage to avoid the consequences. Eventually, if the government becomes too large a factor, everyone suffers.

As government increases its role in the private sector, the costs of doing business rise. More government = higher prices. It just doesn't get much simpler than that. Think for a moment about the contradiction of a government that encourages our participation in the global market, but then creates so many rules and regulations (compared to other countries) that we lose any advantage we may have once enjoyed in the market. It is entirely possible to legislate ourselves out of the running, as we watch companies flock to other countries with far fewer regulations. Is this already happening? Look at China, one of the few countries enjoying rapid growth.

It's time to reconsider the role our government plays in the nations' business and ask ourselves if we're hurting ourselves by electing the wrong people into office. Should we be electing those who insist on government rules and regulations as the solution for everything, or should we perhaps shift our focus away from Washington and towards Main Street, where the greatest  reservoir of talent lies in the common sense of Americans?

To be continued...

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