Can’t Make It Ourselves, Let’s Just Import

As it now stands, America functions because other countries want the US dollar. It is still the currency that runs the global economy. Thank God. Without it, we would not be able to domestically produce enough produce, so to speak,  to function. For some reason, America, at least in its way of thinking, is planning to have the same imports for the most valuable resource of all, its people. By 2050, we expect our population to grow to around 450 million, but we’re expecting most of the growth to be due to immigration, not domestic growth.

I can’t say for certain that it is bad. Immigration has always been the cornerstone of what makes America great, but it does make me think America is relying too heavily on foreigners. I don’t know. I could be wrong, but it feels almost as though we are giving up on ourselves even in our future planning. In addition to importing our goods, let’s just completely give up on having a society that has a very clear American identity. However, even the smart people are projecting a death of Americanism, especially as it grows. 

Trade Deficit

Economically, America is running a large trade deficit that relies heavily on foreign imported goods to sell at a loss. The trade deficit rose to an all-time high in 2020 at 679 billion dollars. The OECD reports:

Between 2000 and 2010, US manufacturing experienced a nightmare. The number of manufacturing jobs in the United States, which had been relatively stable at 17 million since 1965, declined by one-third in that decade, falling by 5.8 million to below 12 million in 2010 (returning to just 12.3 million in 2016). Certainly, the 2007–08 recession accelerated the disruption, but the causes were also structural, not simply financial. There was trouble with capital investment, output, productivity, and trade deficits. Contrary to what many believed, productivity gains due to robotics or automation have not been the cause of manufacturing employment’s decline; the sector has been hollowing out.

As a result, America currently is forced to import 80% of its goods. In other words, it only relies on itself to produce one-fifth of what it consumes The rest comes from foreign countries, mostly China.  America is becoming more and more dependent on other countries for the goods it needs to survive.

People Deficit

Unfortunately, America is in an almost identical position with its most precious resource, its people. According to Pew research, right now, significantly fewer Millennials are getting married or forming families than past generations. CBS News reports:

New data is confirming a baby boom that some doctors expected was actually a “baby bust.” Health departments in more than two dozen states provided records to CBS News, showing a 7% drop in births in December — nine months after the first lockdowns began. 

Researchers say it continues a much bigger plunge in fertility in recent decades.

The number of babies the average woman in the U.S. is expected to deliver has dropped from nearly four in the 1950s to less than two today. 

As a matter of fact, this isn’t uniquely an American problem. The BBC reports an expected massive decline in population for many first-world countries.

Japan’s population is projected to fall from a peak of 128 million in 2017 to less than 53 million by the end of the century. Italy is expected to see an equally dramatic population crash from 61 million to 28 million over the same timeframe. They are two of 23 countries – which also include Spain, Portugal, Thailand and South Korea – expected to see their population more than halve…China, currently the most populous nation in the world, is expected to peak at 1.4 billion in four years’ time before nearly halving to 732 million by 2100. India will take its place. The UK is predicted to peak at 75 million in 2063, and fall to 71 million by 2100.

What is interesting, however, is, despite the expected decrease in fertility of those countries, America still expects its population to grow by 2063. According to Pew Research

The nation’s population will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and fully 82% of the growth during this period will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their descendants. 

That data is what struck me, especially when I saw that we are importing almost the exact same amount(80%) of foreign consumer goods. Likely nothing more than a coincidence, Americans still are stuck in this mindset of, if we can’t produce it ourselves, let’s just import it. That way, we can keep growing and maintain America’s global dominance. That may work, but I fear that, especially if 82% of our population growth by 2063 is due to immigration, American culture will be unrecognizable by then. If we do end up with such high immigration, then, at a minimum, we need to ensure that American values of freedom, equal opportunity and the like are not lost.

Our nation has to figure out how to incentivize family formation and kids. The fertility rates are crazily low! More on that in my next post!

Thx.

-pntr

This music video is obviously a joke, but it is kind of what I’m afraid America is losing.

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Pedro Robinson

Pedro Robinson

I grew up on the Stanford campus, where my Dad worked and still does. I went to Dartmouth College where I majored in Classical Studies, walked onto the football team for 2 years. After Dartmouth, I went to Palantir Technologies, where I did operations and strategy work for 3.5 years. From there, I went to ITAM startup where I did business development for a year. Wanting to get back into writing, I started free lance writing for some tech startups, at which point I met Rob. Since then, I have been helping him out with his content production and creation.

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