While free trade is never supposed to be a zero-sum game, in a globalized world, there will always be winners and losers. Those who have the most to lose are the advanced countries that cannot keep pace with the changes in fundamental productivity seen by their leaner and hungrier developing-world counterparts.
Shervin Pishevar is one of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. In a recent 21-hour tweet storm, he expounded on a number of pressing issues that are currently confronting the United States. One of the topics on which he held forth was the problems that an uncompetitive America will soon be facing in a globalized world.
Shervin Pishevar believes that the globalization of most industries is inevitable. This means that the United States will eventually be forced to trim the layers of fat that its clunky and corrupt political system has wrought throughout the land. As an example, Shervin Pishevar points to a train station that was built recently in China. The station serves a medium-sized city and will be able to handle hundreds of arrivals and departures each day. The entire train station, according to Shervin Pishevar, was completed in just nine days.
Such an incredible rate of construction is completely unthinkable in the United States. Projects like Boston’s Big Dig have made the U.S. notorious as a place where cost overruns and deadline misses are just a part of the public infrastructure landscape. But Pishevar warns that simply identifying that the problem exists will soon prove to be insufficient. That’s because train stations and other public works projects continue to bring China closer to and, in some cases, exceeding the productivity of the U.S. When China can produce steel at half the cost of American steel mills, hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars are in peril of being lost.
Pishevar believes that the United States will soon be facing a crisis of its political system. It will need to refine and reconstruct the systems that govern how it does business. Pishevar believes that many regulations will become untenable and government agencies may have to radically downsize.