In the 1970s, 1980s and even in the earlier parts of the 1990s, many feared the ascension of the Japanese economy and foretold how the Japanese were going to dominate the world economically, where it failed to do so militarily in the 1930s and 1940s. This turned out to be an exaggeration, to put it politely. Since then, Japan has gone through almost three decades of economic turmoil and seen its economic strength cut by half in Yen terms since its heyday.
Now the discussion is turning to China (and South Korea, also, but more as a side note) as the next emerging economic threat, and there is some truth to that given its history of strong economic growth since the early 1980s and its 1.3 billion population. And, as a whole, China will be an economic superpower, SOLELY because of its population. Since it has almost 4-times the population of the US, their per capita GDP only needs to be some $16,000/year – currently around $8,000/year – for the Chinese and the US to have economies similar in size. But, I don’t see this happening until at least the middle of the 2030s.
However, it is a completely different story for China to achieve parity with the US on a per capita GDP basis. Chances are, in present dollars, China is unlikely to exceed per capita GDP of some $30,000-$35,000/year on a steady-state basis. This means that China’s overall GDP will be just about double that of the US, but this is assuming that China becomes even more of a capitalist economy than it is today and there is a measure of democratic freedom, including political freedom. Otherwise, China may not even get to those levels.
The main reason for why China cannot surpass that threshold of some $30,000-$35,000/year in per capita GDP is because that seems to be the highest level attainable by countries that lack economic and technological innovation. For example, Japan’s per capita GDP in 2015 was some $32,000 and South Korea’s was about $27,000.
Without technological and economic innovations and development, countries like Japan and South Korea are having immense difficulty finding a path to grow above their current economic pale. And, to make matters worse, countries like China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines are copying the economic path carved-out by Japan and South Korea to continually move-up the economic ladder putting even more pressure on Japan and South Korea’s economies to innovate and challenge the US and European economies.
However, both Japan and South Korea will not be able to challenge the US and European economies because Japan and South Korea are both incapable of innovation. They are incapable of economic and technological innovation, because their educational system is based on a very rigid rote memorization system. Combined with a Confusion-based social system, this type of educational system does not encourage nor engender creativity and individual thought. In fact, it goes out of its way to minimize, dissipate, and even destroy creativity and individual thought. This is epitomized by the well-known saying – even in western cultures: A nail that sticks out gets hammered down.
In such an educational system, those that succeed must abandon all individualism, creative processes, curiosity, and reasoning, and certainly questioning the status quo or inquiring as to the whys and the wherefores are strongly discouraged, and even beaten (literally) out of children starting at a young age. In these Asian cultures, conformity, harmony, integration, structure, status quo, norms, morays, and tradition are prized, while differentiated thought, change, individuality, creativity, challenge of the status quo, and anything “new” is frowned upon, discouraged, laughed-at, and disparaged.
In such a rigid educational/economic/cultural system innovation cannot be fostered. Think about children that are forced into uniformity, undistinguished one from another, and made to spend an eternity doing nothing but memorizing and regurgitating. Therefore, while these children may grow-up to be great evolutionaries, processors, administrators, and managers, and most of all great standardized test-takers, they will NEVER be innovators, creators, and thinkers, and most of all will NEVER BE REVOLUTIONARIES. They cannot because of the way they were raised and the way success is defined in their cultures.
As an aside, how crazy is it that we are forcing, FORCING, our children to perform better at standardized tests?! This is insane, and can only lead to the path of economic and technological malaise, ending up in an economy moribund in an intractable quagmire. We, as a country, have to abandon the notion that the average performance of our children is what defines the greatness or the progress of this country. On the contrary, the children that are making the difference in our country and will continue to make a difference in our country, like in the main economy itself, are the top 10% of 1% of 1% of 1% (or about 1-in-10,000,000). And, while it isn’t necessarily bad or undesirable that the average American children learn more and perform better at standardized tests, this accomplishment, if ever realized, will mean absolutely nothing, if we don’t allow and strongly continue to encourage, the top 10% of 1% of 1% of 1% of our children to be themselves, to think outside the box, to be creative, and most importantly to be themselves and to pursue their dreams.
The problem is that the short-sighted, pretentious, superficial, experienced, and self-righteous, unthinking, know-it-alls “think” they know better and “believe” that forcing our children to be better test takers will be good for our children and our country. Many of these morons have no idea what they are imposing on our children and what the long-term consequences will be to our country. Yet, they continue to push, citing so called “data” regarding test scores by country, which have absolutely no bearing on the long-term economic success or failure of any given country. Yet, because superficially, we have fallen behind in standardized test scores, these superficial, pretentious and educated knuckle heads believe with all of their infinitesimally miniature minds that increasing the average standardized test scores will be good for our country, and, therefore, continue to push an nonsensical agenda.
What they don’t realize is that the more they succeed in pushing the masses towards raising their standardized test scores the more they succeed in debilitating the economy. Here’s why. If you look at people’s ability to “contribute” to their economies based on a normal distribution curve, and we plot the US, Europe and Asia on separate curves, in general, what you’ll see is that Asia has a very tall peak, a narrow deviation (i.e., a narrow base to the distribution curve), and a mean that is the furthest to the right. What this means is that a the worst and best performing scores will be closer to each other than either the US or Europe, in general. For Europe the mean is likely to be lower, the peak shorter, and the bell-curve is likely to have a wider deviation. And, finally, the US bell-curve is likely to have the lowest mean, the shortest peak, and, most importantly, the widest deviation. So, why is a wide deviation so important? Think about it. A wide deviation means that the extremes are far apart from each other. This means that the country or continent that has the widest deviation means that it has the stupidest, least educated, unthinking, lazy, good-for-nothing deadbeats. But, it also means that on the other extreme, you have the smartest, brightest, the most creative and innovative, brilliant, thoughtful, and motivated people in the world.
So can we do something where by we move the US average to the right, increase the peak and narrow the deviation? Especially, could we do this by eliminating the extreme left scores (i.e., the negative-2, 3, 4, 5, 6 standard deviations)? This is the fantasy of morons on the left of the political spectrum. The same people who go around saying stupid things like “wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could realize the ideal that is communism?” Idiots! The answer to the the two questions are yes, and no. But, if we realize the objective of the first then this means that we lose many of the positive-3, 4, 5, 6 standard deviation people and likely virtually all of those very few that actually drive our economy, innovation, technological development, and make our lives better.
The liberals/socialists/progressives/democrats are all shrieking and howling that they can have it all, but it is a fundamental truth that for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. When you push children to do better on these tests and teachers are measured against the performance scores, what happens to our education system? Teacher’s no longer teach. Instead they imbue students with techniques to do well on these standardized tests. And, students focus on memorizing answers to questions on the test and stop learning. As I said, this may have the result of improving standardized test scores, but it does nothing to help our children to learn, but most of all, due to the program of forced rote memorization, it destroys creativity, innovation, curiosity, imagination, and independence. I know this to be absolutely true, because I have had direct personal experience with such matters.
So, the bottom-line is simple. China will become the largest economy in the world, but only because of the sheer size of its population. However, it will never be the dominant economy, and unlikely to surpass more than some $30,000/year in per capita income. And, the only way we lose our crown as the most dominant economy in the world is if we allow the narrow-mined, vision-less, unthinking, bureaucratic, pencil-pushing numbed-skulls to dictate to the rest of us how we should educate our children and push them towards uniformity, consistency, and predictability making them unimaginative, life-less automatons.
Therefore, we must protect our future by ensuring that our children get the best, most flexible, inspired and innovative education that we can possibly devise. In order for this to happen, we must not force all of our children through a singular program. We must make sure that our education system remains flexible and focused on fostering creativity, imagination, innovation, revolution, and inspiration. Of course, we should not forget qualitative and quantitative measures of education, along with history, and the arts. Nevertheless, what we teach and how we teach are two very different things, and we must do both well.
The problem is that people are too impatient to find out if their children are getting the best education. The problem is that the tell-tale signs of a good or bad education may be gleaned here and there in the short-term, but the long-term effects of one’s education cannot be measured for decades after the person graduates the highest level of education that they obtain. Therefore, to track the effect of our children’s education, we have to follow and track the progress of 100s-of-millions of our children for many decades before we really know whether or not our education system is working. And, here in lies the problem with what we as a country is doing today. We’re too impatient to see results, but somethings cannot be rushed.
This is why it is so important for states to have control over their educational system. And, in turn each school district within the state should have control over their school system, how students are taught and what they are taught. This way, we have as about a diverse group of teaching methods and processes that can be and are used. Over time, this diversity will reveal that which is effective and that which is not, which allows the creme to rise to the top. Then any school district that wants to can emulate the success stories while dropping ineffective methods, subjects and processes.
Over decades, as these grand “experiments” continue, we should develop an immensely strong educational system that is in lock-step with the growth opportunities and prospects for our country. This is the key to our future and iron grip on the top spot of the economic mountain, as long as our political system survives, thrives and goes in the right direction – I’ve written on this subject in so many other posts that I’ll jast leave it at this.
Getting back to the main point, the real challenge for the US in the long-run is India from an economic perspective. The reason for this is very simple. India, not only has the population, but also a more robust educational system that doesn’t solely rely on rote memorization. India has a very diverse educational system, which will provide the opportunity for the best systems to rise to the top, which will foster innovation and creativity.
However, India isn’t without problems. Politically, it is too fragmented and building consensus is all but impossible. And, like the US, the split of political power between the federal and state governments further adds to the political turmoil. However, these problems pale in comparison to India’s single most insurmountable issue: Its overwhelming and dominant social programs. No matter how creative and technologically innovative India’s economy becomes without drastically limiting or eliminating its social programs, India’s economy will sink under the weight of its own largess; no if, no buts, no ands.
Therefore, even India will not present a challenge to the US unless it eliminates its social spending or the US continues to expands its own social programs. This is why it is so important that the US revisit how it views wealth, income, so called “social safety net” and all of its social programs. Simply put, any government should be responsible for only three things: 1) Defense, 2) Infrastructure, and 3) Education – the way I define them.
For more, please read my books, “… Under the Constitution with Liberty and Justice for ALL,” available at http://www.CreateSpace.com/3978962 and also available on Kindle, and “The New Constitution for Modern America,” available athttp://www.CreateSpace.com/4281897 and also available on Kindle. Please don’t forget to rate this post. Any comments or questions are welcome and can be left for me on this blog, @Ahmedinejahd on Twitter, on Facebook or via email atAlexAhmedinejahd@Yahoo.com. Thank you in advance for buying my books, and rating this post. And, thanks for visiting my blog; I hope you get an opportunity to read my other posts. Have a great day!