Antoine van Agtmael, an emerging markets expert, is quoted in the Wall Street Journal today as believing that the most dynamic emerging market in the world is……….the United States.
“For the first time after 40 years in Asia,” he recounted, “the Chinese complained about American competition.” Labor costs in the US are stable, but have increased by 15 percent in China, annually. He estimates that about 200 companies have moved offshore locations to the U.S. mainland in the recent past. “Nine of ten companies a decade ago were thinking of building plants in China,” he points out, “today it’s about three in ten, and five in ten want to build in the U.S.”
He says that markets are emotional, not necessarily efficient, and that people are realizing that the American market is a half-full glass, not a half-empty one.
We are surrounded by the doom and gloom patrols, who manage to find the dark cloud in an otherwise bright sky. Within a few days law enforcement, cooperating wonderfully, found and removed two terrorists no one could have anticipated. Yet “pundits,” searching for their Andy Warhol 15 minutes in the lights, are claiming, “This changes everything.”
For every uptick in housing, auto sales, manufacturing, entertainment, and other sectors, someone will find an exception and a negative. The fact is that even with the intractable, juvenile gridlock in Washington, we haven’t fallen off a cliff, fiscal or otherwise. In fact, the country has perhaps the strongest economy in a long time, and continues to have the strongest in the world.
Can we improve our schools, infrastructure, spending habits, and other problem areas? Of course. Are there people harmed by the economic volatility who need jobs and more support? Yes, and we ought to provide them. We’re far from perfect. But let’s stop creating self-inflicted misery.
To a very large extent, we are emotionally driven, and we need to stop listening to those who are actually paid to provide bad news, and find the light. I don’t know about you, but I’m weary of blown-dry reporters who have no credentials and murder the language, standing out on a street unnecessarily to be “on the scene,” who simply wind up saying, “Time will tell.” Edward R. Murrow must be rolling in his grave.
We’re fortunate to be here. Let’s start acting like it, cooperating the way we saw law enforcement cooperating, remaining optimistic, believing and acting with the confidence that we can create even better tomorrows.
© Alan Weiss 2013