Global Retrenchment - Retreat, Not Surrender
Everyone knows good times don't last forever. Or do they?
In many economic downturns in America's history, the hubris of imaginary/undeserved perpetual prosperity has been present.
Why, even in California, we had a tax revolt launched over "that obscene surplus" - a "rainy day fund". California's had some incredible "rainy days" since. So not only is it fashionable to not plan for a downturn, it can be considered practically criminal in certain political lights.
But what's worse is America destroying its resilience ahead of time ... and being proud of it. Read more ...
Unlike other European countries, Germany did retain a "rainy day" fund ... perhaps not enough. More's the problem with getting them to spent it now, but that's another story.
The Germans inspired in the American's a sensible desire to maintain resilience, albeit from different parts of the psyche. For the German's retaining skills during down times comes from a recognition that to sell on extreme quality (enough so China, Vietnam, even Malaysia buy from Germany things at 20x local prices) means a long term commitment to such a skill set is a strategic imperative.
At war with a national sense of too frugal frugality, this comes from a root cultural metaphor of manufacturing from the legends of dwarves making fantastical swords.
In America, it had been, like Japan, a belief in national security rooted in maintaining a critical industrial base. This has been entirely lost in the last decade, where envy of those with greater skill (or intelligence) undermined the need to maintain such. After all, we were the masters of the earth, we could intimidate any to provide us what we needed - so with such power who need maintain (or have regard for) skill.
Ironically, those most politically trusted for national security were those whose craven needs ultimately debased national security - this is still underspoken.
It is clear that unlike the German's we have not created an enduring archetype in our culture to keep our economic "mojo" intact. Perhaps this current downturn might have a benefit of waking up America to the loss of some of its key strengths.