Monday, October 24, 2011

Darkness before dawn


In spite of all our challenges - in the end it is always a bad idea to bet against the USA.

Over at the UK-Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reminds us that, in the end, it is good to have that dark blue USA passport.
The American phoenix is slowly rising again. Within five years or so, the US will be well on its way to self-sufficiency in fuel and energy. Manufacturing will have closed the labour gap with China in a clutch of key industries. The current account might even be in surplus.
...
"The US was the single largest contributor to global oil supply growth last year, with a net 395,000 barrels per day (b/d)," said Francisco Blanch from Bank of America, comparing the Dakota fields to a new North Sea.

Total US shale output is "set to expand dramatically" as fresh sources come on stream, possibly reaching 5.5m b/d by mid-decade. This is a tenfold rise since 2009.

The US already meets 72pc of its own oil needs, up from around 50pc a decade ago.

"The implications of this shift are very large for geopolitics, energy security, historical military alliances and economic activity. As US reliance on the Middle East continues to drop, Europe is turning more dependent and will likely become more exposed to rent-seeking behaviour from oligopolistic players," said Mr Blanch.

Meanwhile, the China-US seesaw is about to swing the other way. Offshoring is out, 're-inshoring' is the new fashion.
The list of "repatriates" is growing. Farouk Systems is bringing back assembly of hair dryers to Texas after counterfeiting problems; ET Water Systems has switched its irrigation products to California; Master Lock is returning to Milwaukee, and NCR is bringing back its ATM output to Georgia. NatLabs is coming home to Florida.

Boston Consulting expects up to 800,000 manufacturing jobs to return to the US by mid-decade, with a multiplier effect creating 3.2m in total. This would take some sting out of the Long Slump.
There is another factor that helps a lot - a subject some don't like to talk about, but the future really does belong to those who show up.
Yet America retains a pack of trump cards, and not just in sixteen of the world’s top twenty universities.

It is almost the only economic power with a fertility rate above 2.0 - and therefore the ability to outgrow debt - in sharp contrast to the demographic decay awaiting Japan, China, Korea, Germany, Italy, and Russia.
Europe's EMU soap opera has shown why it matters that America is a genuine nation, forged by shared language and the ancestral chords of memory over two centuries, with institutions that ultimately work and a real central bank able to back-stop the system.

The 21st Century may be American after all, just like the last.
Another factor in our favor is our political system. No system is perfect - but in the USA if the voters make a mistake, they can mitigate it in 2-years and totally undo it in 4. A inefficient and clunky system for the power hungry - but good for freedom. As designed.

We have gone through rough spots before. With the right policies and a steady effort to put the dead hand of government back in its box - we can get through this patch of bother too.

28 comments:

andrewdb said...

We can hope.  In the mean time, yes, it is very good to have that blue passport.  Pic below from the gate of the US Embassy after the Haiti earthquake.

ewok40k said...

both democracy and free market have the wonderful tendency for self-corrections when needed... history is full of graves of those who underestimated US... oh and lately few more were added (Ben Laden and Quaddaffi, I am talking to you...)

Wharf Rat said...

I was about ready to agree with the Salamander, but Jing's comments give me pause.  I too thought it interesting that we provide 72% of our own oil consumption.  I thought w/all the problems in the gulf and along the coasts, the lefties have effectively shut down production, except for those freedom loving people in the great state of North Dakota, where, not even the lefties can figure away to stop the production near Williston. 

ken dawg said...

<span>I found an interesting article here...  http://www.eia.gov/energy_in_brief/foreign_oil_dependence.cfm  
 
While Jing is correct on his assesment, one thing of note is that total US crude production has increased over the last 5 years by about 5%  Not much, but it is an increase.  </span> :)

LT B said...

Attributable to President Bush.  Now if only we could get some new nuclear reactors and refineries past the NIMBYs.

walker_77 said...

Get rid off Obama (2008-2012) AND clean out the putrid, dung-heap that is the US Congress.
And the dawn will begin...

butch said...

Sorry, but Obama is a symptom. 

The disease is the degraded quality of the American electorate.

The Real Old Salt said...

I'd quibble with the idea that we can totally undo something in four years. The wheel of government moves slowly and inexorably to the left, as the Dems burrow in to our political institutions and the Republicans move out to pursue their interests. We may toss a President, but thousands upon thousands of low-level (SES-1 and below) functionaries remain in place. You'd be surprised at the number of Democrats in the Pentagon, not to mention the number of people who have never served a day in their life and have no intention of so doing.

MR T's Haircut said...

<span>"It is almost the only economic power with a fertility rate above 2.0 - and therefore the ability to outgrow debt - in sharp contrast to the demographic decay awaiting Japan, China, Korea, Germany, Italy, and Russia"</span>
<span></span>
<span>What is NOT be said in this analysis is the growth is due to illegal immigration, Babies having babies, etc... the devil is in the details.</span>
<span></span>
<span>I do not share the optimism.. </span>

MR T's Haircut said...

Concur. we have had the same ole progressive govt since 1900's.. we just package it is a D or R.  Problem is they are the same.  Once something is done in DC it almost NEVER gets undone.

cdrsalamander said...

I should have worded it better.  You can change direction ... not totally reverse actions.  Kind of like a moving average on a number line.....

UltimaRatioRegis said...

It is a partially valid point, though.  It may not be our salvation, but it will be China's undoing. 

MR T's Haircut said...

URR,

China's issue and our nightmare is the one child policy has produced 10's of millions of Single Males... Hellish future of prmal instincts to seek a mate.. what happens in 15 years?  hmm... 

The Usual Suspect said...

Surpluses of young males around the planet have historically portended major conflagrations.  This will not change. 

The Usual Suspect said...

359K bbl/day is enough to run two moderately sized refineries or one near world class refinery.  BP's Texas City refinery is capable of 457K bbl/day and produces ~3% of the gasoline in the U.S., so the amount is small, but not insignificant. 

Demographically, yes, we need more than "your tired, your poor, and your hungry" to sustain and improve the economy of the country.  We also need to refocus the educational system and seperate and segregate students based on aptitude and classroom performance.  This falacy that everybody goes to college needs to be stopped.  We need a two track system that recognizes and appreciates that there is a vocational technical side that is extremely valuable to society.  It is important to graduate high school students that have the ability to step into the workforce with a valuable set of skills or at least the basic building blocks to become electricians, masons, machinists, computer technicians, carpenters, mechanics, welders, plumbers, etc.

Pritchard's article is well intended, but full of wishful thinking.  Getting the current occupant out of the White House is just a small start.  The bureaucracy and the electorate are the bigger challanges.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

As a very lovely actress said in an old movie - "Valley Forge wasn't any strawberry festival".

We just have to get our head on straight.

Easy to say. Can we do it?

The world wonders.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

Symptomatic relief is not to be scorned, especially when successful treatment is impeded by the symptoms.

MR T's Haircut said...

Better teach the Daughters how to shoot...

Kristen said...

Cheerful posts about the future of America on back-to-back days here on the porch!  The eternal optimist in me shouts:  Hooray!

I knew that there would be a lot of pessimistic follow ups, and I understand why.  But every single one of us here gathered who has gone to the trouble and expense of having and raising children is betting on the future.  This country is able to correct itself in ways that other countries can't conceive.

I sat in a taxi cab in a European city a few years ago and asked the driver what he thought of the EU.  He said that he hated it but that there was nothing that he could do, because the ruling class made all the decisions.  It was a tremendous lesson for me in the difference between the European and the American attitudes toward government. 

Ordinary citizens are waking up all over the country.  I think we have a tremendous opportunity in this decade to shrink government everywhere.  Even the states that don't want to are going to have to because gold can't actually be spun out of straw.  Now is NOT the time to give up.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

Darn, you beat me to it, MTH...

A little more detail about the data collection and methodology is in order.  Fertility rates above 2.0 are meaningless if more consumers than producers are being born.

Aubrey said...

Couldn't agree more - why on Earth do we insist that the only viable path for everyone is through traditional college? That is silly - and is contributing to our situation where a college degree is all but meaningless, other than as a job qualifier.

An effective vocational system would be a huge improvement in every way. Not every kid is destined for college, but every kid deserves the chance to find a livelihood in which he can excel. Right now we deny that to many of our kids by implying that a trade is somehow shameful. Of the 5 friends/family of mine that I respect most, only 2 went to college - yet all are successful and provide outstanding lives for their families.

Dr. Grzlickson said...

Ad evidenced by the commenters here

MR T's Haircut said...

We have been consuming for decades.  We are no longer bound by common threads, such as Church, Community, Culture.  We have an immigrant problem that is a Tsunami regarding potential voting blocks and the "Californiaization" of the electorate. 

I see the following:
Mass Immigration, tipping the scales and the rise of increased tensions
Massive deficit between entitlements and revenue leading to end of entitlements and Austerity Measures.
Austerity Measures lead to riots along racial lines, and this will be widespread and not isolated to the traditional cities.
Massive increase of actions of the Government.  Martial Law and possible massive suspensions of personal freedoms.

All actions have unintended consequences.  I can see a Europe that is fractured and a massive default on the EU by member nations leading to a shift in politics and rise of National Socialism in France and Germany.

A rising Caliphate from Iran to Morocco and pockets of trouble in Europe.

Increased Border problems in the US.  

A hellish Nightmare I hope...

MR T's Haircut said...

doesnt become reality

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Hey Byron!  We have us a gen-yoo-wine TROLL here!  Goes by the name of "Doctor"!   

juan said...

The white fertility rate in America is barely above Europe. And in the left-wing, blue states it's no higher at all. America needs to shift to a skills-based immigrations system like Australia has. The difficult of travel in the past meant we attracted the young, healthy, smart and ambitious. The ease of travel today means we attract the old, the sick, and the spongers.

There's also some question of how accurate China's statistics are. Large #s of Chinese have had extra children and just hidden them from the authorities, or bribed the local ChiCom official to look the other way. Some of the estimates for how many "hidden" Chinese exist are quite large.

Byron said...

If he's a doctor I'm a Chinese astronaugt.... well, maybe a proctologist...

Walker_77 said...

Very True!
Too many IDIOT American "citizens" (who have NO CLUE or care about Politics or Current Events...) "voted" for Obama in 2008... and keep "voting" the same "morons, criminals & perverts" into the cesspool of the US Congress.

If you want to "vote" in America I think you should have to pass a basic US Citizen/Current Events Test 8-)