I confess one effect I didn’t see from having so much of our manufacture outsourced to China is inflationary pressure. If China gets the chill, we get a cold. In case you need another reason to support United States industry (or your own national industry if you’re reading from outside the United States) see today’s New York Times article by David Barboza entitled “China’s Inflation Hits American Price Tags.”
Of course, we can just as easily have inflation with an inwardly-oriented economy, if not more easily. All I’m asking is that we make better considerations about what we need to consume, under what conditions its comes and how we dispose of what remains. My sense, though, is that it will take strong inflationary pressure for people to start doing this, because right now consumer goods are, in relative and historical terms, quite cheap. (And it’s easier to feel prosperous with consumer goods than demanding a well-functioning government or even getting decent housing, which really is a terrible burden.)
I do want to remind my readers, especially the skeptics, that this is a very conservative point of view. But don’t expect to see thrift and conservation at the forefront of anyone’s platform this year. And it does come with some discomfort: wounded pride and uneasiness most of all.
Not that I’m feeling sorry for Americans. A different kind of inflationary pressure treatens the lives of the world’s poorest people. Rice prices, fueled by shortages and a strong demand, are reaching records. . . .