When I travelled to China in the early nineties, I saw hundreds of Chinese citizens near Beijing carrying wet cement in cloth sacks on their backs to dump in front of other workers who smoothed out the globs of cement with wooden utensils to build ten lane highways, when no Chinese owned cars nor had the income to buy them. I saw scores of men, climbing dozens of stories into the air on bamboo scaffolding, building the skyscraper city of Shenzhen when China yet had no office dwellers to fill their glass towers.
These were my witness to China’s strategy of ascending to their position as the 21st century hegemonist; a strategy that has been executed with a decade’s long horizon since the late 70s. While China fed our baby boomers that were entering their demographic spending years in the eighties, she patiently accumulated financial strength on behalf of all Chinese that had come before, and of all that would thrive in the future. While China exercised discipline on behalf of her citizens, our Wall Streeters demonstrated sophistication over that same extraordinary demographic to lead our country through one bubble after another, achieving societal instability and accruing immense personal wealth in the process.
Yes, our country’s leadership was outmaneuvered by a Wall Street banking system that has gone unchecked for 30 years. But it has also asked for and has been self-servingly supported by an enabling central banking system that feeds congress’s compulsive appetite for debt. As a result, America’s role as the world’s orchestrator of monetary policy has been undermined, our wealthy are seeking safe haven in the next world order, and our citizenry is at a loss for why our standard of living seems to be entering the community or European nations. Can we, as a pluralistic democracy, gain the discipline that the dynasty to our east has shown, or is our century of hegemony over?