Winning the Future, or WTF, Again

Mon, 14 Feb 2011 00:32:54 +0000

In my reaction to President Obama's state of the union address, I wondered, "If we win the future, who loses?" and suggested that the analogy to a "Sputnik moment" was inappropriate.  In his New York Times column this weekend, Greg Mankiw makes a similar point, urging us to see "Emerging Markets as Partners, not Rivals."  The key excerpt:

Listening to the president, you might think that competition from China and other rapidly growing nations was one of the larger threats facing the United States. But the essence of economic exchange belies that description. Other nations are best viewed not as our competitors but as our trading partners. Partners are to be welcomed, not feared. As a general matter, their prosperity does not come at our expense.

To be sure, there are exceptions to this rule. When China uses our intellectual property such as software without paying for it, we should view that as a form of theft. And when other nations’ economic growth has side effects on the global environment, as it does when they emit the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, the United States has good reason for concern. But these limited exceptions should not blind us into taking a more generally adversarial approach to international economic relations.

Read the whole thing.