This post's contents are partly motivated by articles in an issue of the Atlantic (April 2009) that has been under a 'to read' pile for a few months. In particular, there was cover article, One World, Under God , that appeared to relate to thoughts on globalization. Then, there were articles about China and India who are, and will be, the largest consumer players just from a size of the population perspective.
Why? The consumer set's cardinality is vastly huge. Now, let's recall that the consumer part of the economy is not just about 'stuff' and its accumulation, which is not sustainable. That is, analysis shows that the recent upbeat in consumerism in the US was paid for by borrowing. One large creditor was, and is, China and its population who sacrificed for our sake, albeit not by choice but by government decree.
As Fallows said in his article, same issue: "Two years ago, ..., I described an economic symbiosis in which Chinese workers assembled many of the world’s products—while ... America or other rich countries got the lion’s share of the financial returns. It is the announced policy of the Chinese government, and of many Chinese companies, to keep more of the rewards in China. ... Outsiders can rightly criticize the Chinese government ... no one can criticize its ambition to increase the rewards for its people’s work."
For Americans, there will be one thing that we can learn from watching China over the next few years (decades). What? Given that we've allowed the capitalistic ideology to descend to its lowest level by allowing the best-and-brightest (oh, we're to thank them with bonuses? - rake backs, please) to lead us on the perdition path of casino capitalism.
We must now endure the consequences, part of which will be that another ideology (ah, Marx never left) will have the greater economic hand.
Sheesh. Nixon opened the door. Crazy materialism, and more, took it off the hinge. Get used to it, folks.
We, the populace, can still benefit from the coming changes.
12/13/2011 -- McKinsey report shows that households hold over 40% of the world's wealth. Hence, the consumer as the major influence on the economy. Now, consider that the household wealth collection (using income in the U.S. as a proxy) is skewed to a very small bunch.
11/16/2010 -- A recap of sorts.