Cam's concerns about the market only working in a perfect world are ill founded. We live in a demonstrably imperfect world and yet the market does work. The Chicoms did not embrace capitalism because they wanted to, they did it because they had to. The authoritarian regime hurdle has already been seen to be no obstacle, or a limited one at best; Chile. Take a look see at their social security plan and tell me who is more progressive. What will not work is totalitarian control such as the former USSR and present day Cuba. Also keep an eye on Venezula. A country with a lot going for it has fallen into totalitarian control and I predict you will see economic chaos there within 5-10 years. You read it here first. There are, for the record, more manufacturing jobs in the US than there were 10 years ago. You can look it up. Of course things look different than they did ten or twenty years ago. when have they not? For one, I'm not driving that pinnacle of automotive engineering, the Ford Pinto, anymore. 20 years ago, the gloom and doomers were all worried that the Japs were buying up the entire country from Pebble Beach Golf Club to Rockefeller Center and that Japan, Inc. would be dominating the world. As Japan enters it's second decade of malaise it is not inappropriate to recall the misery index of the seventies and early eighties, where inflation and unemployment ran at 20% combined. It was Ronald Reagan, implementing the ideals of Milton Friedman, that ended the slide and touched off the largest and longest peace-time expansion in the history of the nation. That expansion, with only a couple of very minor recessions, continues today.
I was at the stereo store today and was amazed to find that I could buy a middle range receiver or mid-range speakers for approximaterly the same price that I had in the early eighties-which means they have actually dropped in price over that time period. With an average inflation rate of just 2-3% they should have doubled in the last 25 years. While Pat Buchannon has some good ideas, in some areas, if you look in the dictionary under xenophobe you'll see Pat's photo. American know-how and can-do is still keeping us on top; our productivity continues to lead the world. Also, Americans lead the world in number of hours worked-not because they have to, but because they want to. What other country comes close to us in per-capita boat ownership? It's us and everyone else is second. I'll bet anyone who cares to that US productivity will lead the world 5 years from now and 10 years, 15 years, pick your time frame.
The same people who were worried about our unproven troops and weapons going up against the 5th largest standing army in the world, a battle hardened army with proven Soviet supplied technology, in the form of Iraq in the Persian Gulf war, are now worried about Chinese submarines. Their tears of anxiety had not even dried by the time Stormin' Norman had the whole group wrapped up or running for home. The US Navy is far and away the most dominant maritime force ever assembled. The Royal Navy, in it's heyday, cannot rival the force globally projected today by our fleet. The dominant position is such that no adversarial nation is even attempting to build a fleet to challenge American seapower. The last nation to try has it's efforts rusting at the docks of Murmansk and Vladivostok.
Rest easy pollyanna, the US economy (and the US Navy) are in better shape than at any time since WWII.