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_Whitetigress's avatar

True or False: 300 years from now when humanity studies the late 1990's into the 2000's outsourcing will be main reason why the U.S.A. lost it's grip on being the worlds #1 economic superpower?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4362points) November 13th, 2012

We know that throughout history it’s rarely one single phenomena in history that causes change to society, but a lot of other factors combining to the outcome of a said society.
What do you predict will be the United States downfall in economic supremacy in the world?
Try putting on the shoes of someone who exists 300 years from now.

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41 Answers

bookish1's avatar

How about spiraling national debt incurred in no small part due to our most recent imperialist adventures?

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I am going to say they will be smart enough to see that the financial and social programs put in place during the new deal protected the country for 70 years, and we got into trouble when we started to repeal them, thinking that the economy had changed fundamentally. Most especially, the Glass-Steagall act.

wundayatta's avatar

The news of my demise has been greatly exaggerated!

Oh ye of little faith. The American economy is in much less danger than you think. There may be many Chinese, but they are mainly poor and they don’t think like we do. Few peoples in the world do, and we are still creative. Our creativity is centered in California, for some strange reason. Movies and computers.

I don’t see our innovation stopping any time soon. And we grab the best people from all over the world and bring them here to make great new things. They come because they have the freedom to do a good job here. It is exciting.

Oursourcing? Please! That has little to do with it. Our national debt is nothing, either. A lot of fuss, but it is not that big and not a problem.

Regulations, pro or con, only affect things marginally.

People fuss and fulminate, but there is not a problem. Although perhaps seeing problems where there are none is what keeps us pushing ourselves hard. So go right ahead. Worry away. Me? I’m Alfred E. Neumann.

jaytkay's avatar

What @wundayatta said, plus:

1) We may not be #1, because of simple math. China is bigger and India is bigger.

2) If we really decline, it will be thanks to a lack of education.

Conservatives think they are competing against poor Americans and we must stop any activity which might benefit poor Americans.

Normal people understand that we have to invest in education and health care to maintain our 1st World status.

hearkat's avatar

I’m no expert on labor relations or economics, but outsourcing seems to be another symptom of larger issues… such as the declining quality of education, as @jaytkay notes, as well as the lack of ethical behavior by the corporations that put profit for shareholders before liveable wages for the employees.

bolwerk's avatar

If anything brings down the USA, it will lack of education, obstinacy, and/or stupidity – basically all things we’d be able to blame ourselves for. Other advanced economies haven’t had much trouble finding niches in the world economy.

I don’t know about creativity* being a particular strong point of the American economy, but perhaps the related concept of R&D is. Of course, it requires keeping up in science and engineering, something we can only do by importing educated immigrants, which our authoritarian pols don’t want to do…well, here’s the obstinacy and stupidity part.

* and Hollywood is decidedly not creative, though maybe the nearby porn industry is

emilianate's avatar

Government spending, high progressive taxation (income & capital gains), unions, regulations (including central banking), protectionism.

_Whitetigress's avatar

@emilianate I’m curious, are you pro-low wages/no company insurance offers? That is essentially what Unions provide, the lower class to have insurance and “American” pay. Otherwise lower class with crap wages tend to qualify for “Government Spending” Unions and Government Spending don’t go hand in hand…

bolwerk's avatar

Most U.S. unions long ago gave up worrying about anyone besides their own members. The result has been stratification into a sometimes overpaid working class with bourgeois mores and privileges (e.g., New York’s TWU, who often openly drink Republikan kool-aid) and an underclass of lumpen have-nots who border on unemployable and are more or less excluded from politics and society.

We need more progressive taxation, not less, to pay for more government spending – on infrastructure, not wars. And the infrastructure should ween us from the oil we go to war for.

emilianate's avatar


I’m sure it would be great to pay every Walmart employee a $100,000 salary with insurance, pensions, vacations, etc… that would make things more “fair”, but it doesn’t work out economically which is why unions are mainly located in the public sector where tax dollars pay their illogical economic demands, but that doesn’t work out either when the state cannot keep up with the demands. See California.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@emilianate it is my understanding that the Walmart family is worth 100 billion. Saying that giving their employees health insurance would not work out economically seems a little, off.

jaytkay's avatar

Gee, you totally destroyed the arguments of people in your mind who say government must do everything and we must pay Walmart cashiers $100K/year.

Golly! What a brave warrior!!

bolwerk's avatar

Actually, @Imadethisupwithnoforethought, WalMart wasn’t always the deranged sociopathfest it became. Earlier on it actually practiced fairly extensive profit sharing. At least some workers really did come out making the equivalent of what today would be six-figure salaries.

emilianate's avatar


Why don’t you open up a business, pay your employees a salary above market standards, with benefits and see how long you can keep that up. Show walmart how its done.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@emilianate Um, can I start with 23.4 Billion like a Wal-Mart heir? Cause I assume you are against estate taxes as well.

emilianate's avatar

Or right, fairness, I forgot. We cannot allow people to have a head start like that.

Not every successful business had that start-up capital.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@emilianate I get it. Nobody should get a head start. When the walmart family makes 100 billion with a business that features just in time shipping delivery methods and provides no health insurance for their employees, I should quietly pay taxes for the roads they use and pay higher medical insurance because hospitals have to write off the cost of when their employees use the emergency rooms. You have shown me the light. The walmart family by not paying their employees a living wage they could pay taxes on, and not giving them medical insurance, and not paying income taxes like they would have under Clinton, is doing me a huge favor.

emilianate's avatar

You’re not paying for their roads, you’re paying for all roads, as is Walmart, and everyone else.

I don’t think you understand something. You’re never going to defeat an entrepreneur. You will always lose because the costs will be on you, on society, not them. And when you finally manage to corner them to the point where they can no longer put the costs on you, they go out of business, or outsource to other countries, which again puts the cost on you because you lose the wealth that they created for everyone.

Your views/policies are self-defeating.

jaytkay's avatar

I don’t think you understand something. You’re never going to defeat an entrepreneur.

Wait, earlier you said Obama is East Germany and he eliminated all the entrepreneurs.

emilianate's avatar

No, I said East Germany had a socialist economy (liberals were in East Germany).

I was pointing out what happens when you give them free rein. Hell, you don’t have to look too far. See what is going on in California.

jaytkay's avatar

California’s GDP is bigger than almost every country on Earth.

emilianate's avatar

And they have the highest cost of living.

jaytkay's avatar

And they have the highest cost of living

Somalia probably makes that argument, too.

Pandora's avatar

Real reason would be, because we have become a me, me, me generation. We want it all, and few are willing to really work or sacrifice for success and we are far to deeply financially indebted in our race to keep up with the Jones’s.
I’ve seen people with only one driver have three cars and live in an apartment, or buy a huge house that is so expensive that both parents have to work from sun up to sun down and can’t afford to furnish the home properly or even be able to stay home with the kids or even have time to make them breakfast.
Greed is what will destroy our country and the growing lack of common sense.

_Whitetigress's avatar

@emilianate Be reasonable here… My mother works two union jobs, Rite Aid and Vons (a Safeway Company) One is full time the other is 32 hours a couple hours short of “full time”. She makes 45k a year.

You’re speculation that every Wal-Mart employee would make 100,000 is absurd.

@Pandora True we may live in a “me, me, me” society, but the “me, me, me’s” living in apartments with three cars finding parking on the streets because they are designated only one spot would most likely love to work in American company in the same city, but guess what? It’s shipped overseas. So I don’t think it’s the, “me, me, me’s” who are at fault here. Maybe at the 1% level, but definitely not the lower class fault. But I catch your drift anywho.

emilianate's avatar


The 100k was exaggerated to empathize the point and since there are a lot more points to be made, see this link

This is just the consequences of unions. Businesses still have to deal with regulations and taxes. All of this is self-defeat.

cazzie's avatar

I don’t think the US has kept up with a decent level of education for its population. As it stands, it ranks 37th in spending on education as a percentage of its GDP. When you look at the stats, it looks like they are paying more per student, but you really have to ask yourself, where the hell is that money being spent? Sports teams? Car parks? Security? If teaching was a decent job to have, they would have more decent teachers.

tedd's avatar

What dream world are you living in where the US will lose it’s grip on being the #1 economy anytime soon?

Our economy is so powerful that if you broke California off, it would be the #3 economy on it’s own. The big bad Chinese economy isn’t even half as large as ours, and the entirety of the European Union (that includes Turkey) just barely surpasses us.

I won’t get into the debate (at least not yet) about us being on an upward or downward trend, but the US isn’t going to lose it’s spot on the podium anytime soon.

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bolwerk's avatar

Turkey is not in the EU.

tedd's avatar

@bolwerk I’m aware they are just a candidate nation, I should have said including Turkey rather than that includes Turkey.

bolwerk's avatar

@tedd: The EU surpasses the USA’s GDP without Turkey. But then, the EU has 190M more people in it. Regardless, Turkey is not included in EU GDP figures.

tedd's avatar

@bolwerk From my earlier post; and the entirety of the European Union (that includes Turkey) just barely surpasses us.

I recognized point blank that they surpass us, but pointed out that even including Turkey they only surpass us by a marginal rate.

Was your entire point in commenting on this to point out things that I had already said? Who does that?

bolwerk's avatar

@tedd: Huh? Even without including Turkey they surpass the USA. Turkey is irrelevant to whether they surpass the USA. Though throwing Turkey’s trillion-dollar economy into the mix would appear to make how much they surpass the USA more than “marginal” – and would make a lot of sense to bring up if Turkey were an EU member.

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Kropotkin's avatar

The decline in US economic supremacy could likely be caused by the following if current trends continue:

Lack of stimulus spending by the government, not enough progressive taxation (especially capital gains which is comically low) weak unions and low union membership, lax regulations (especially in the finance and banking sectors)

Jussange's avatar

@cazzie I can tell you that much of the spending in California that goes to schools is mostly directed at school facilities and equipment but not truly to the students or the classroom (ex. Solar panels, pools, astro-turf for football fields, better televisions/projectors in classroom, better computers in classroom, contracts for better firewalls/online security, contracts for better programs for teachers to keep track of grades… but little or nothing directed towards textbooks or training for instructors to improve their curriculums).

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