Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago
The final feature of the US ‘real economy’ worth featuring is transportation & communications. This is among the most productive sectors that produce real wealth, contrasted to the ‘casino economy’ of predatory finance that produces wealth from out of wealth itself, producing really nothing worth our value. Broad as it is, let me focus on the transport sector.
Time was when the railway industry took off, inducing growth as soon as the railways hit the West. The continental divide among the US states was bridged quickly, intra-trade exponentially increased. Soon enough, foreign trade also increased in leaps and bounds as maritime shipping grew and matured quickly, making US articles of trade be exported to all corners of the planet.
Trains, ships, airplanes, automotives, trucks, heavy equipment, tractors, and other state-of-the art prototypes came out of America’s workshops to propel growth not only in the US but in other countries as well. “Made in the USA” products became household words everywhere, including my Wild Wild West province of Cagayan in Northern Philippines, precisely due to the miracle of the transport sector that was broadly a facet of the ‘real economy’ of America. I was a child in the 1960s and early 70s when the “Made in the USA” was chic and almost a cult-level cliché.
That era now is now consigned to the dustbins of a remote past. Sure, America still produces state-of-the art transport prototypes. But look, railways have stagnated (is there a mag-lev there now?), automotives are shrinking by the day (laying off and displacing thousands of top quality industrial technicians), while the cutting edge technology for almost all prototypes, save for military transport, have already been surpassed by Asia.
McCain and Obama should better do their homework and understand the catastrophic future that awaits America if the transport sector remains neglected and ceaselessly ravaged inch-by-inch by the infernal fires of predatory finance. The policy makers there better salve the ailing sector quickly, and get back those laid-off topnotch industrial technicians to work before they lose every iota of motivation to even get involved in the sector they grew up with but which rejected them (how traumatic!).
If there’s any sector to begin with, it’s railways. Better renovate the railways, and establish maglevs in all the major continental routes of the US. And quickly take the initiative to establish cross-border maglevs with Canada and Mexico. Later, establish maglevs connecting Alaska with Russia via Siberia, thus connecting US to the Asian land mass.
Sorry for sounding ‘interventionist’, fellows in America. We Asians are as concerned with your economy as you are, and we would want your economic leadership to again rise to the fore. If America does that, other nations will then move on, propelled by growth in the ‘real economy’ because America is doing so. Failing to do that, the economic baton will transfer to Asia, and it will crash our hearts to see our fellow Earthans of America sinking in esteem by the day, because of their collapsing prosperity.
We are all siblings on Earth, this is certain, that’s why we share words of wisdom about your economic conditions. May you finally have a reform-oriented President comes this coming electoral contest.
[Writ 07 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]