July 14th, 2012 // 4:29 pm @ Oliver DeMille
Sometimes domestic politics can be so engaging that we miss the forest for the trees.
The Chinese government and government-run companies have been busy for a decade buying up oil, minerals and other natural resources in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Central Asia, while U.S. firms face massive amounts of red tape and regulations from Washington when they try to compete for world resources.
This is creating a new split between the haves and the have nots—China has resources and the rights to resources around the world, while the U.S. increasingly does not.
Free enterprise is a better system than state-owned, authoritarian economics, but in this case Washington isn’t allowing free enterprise.
It’s more like a statist, authoritarian economy in Beijing versus an over-regulating, short-sighted bureaucracy in Washington. And totalitarian dictatorships are notoriously more effective than bumbling bureaucracies.
There is an excellent article on the topic in Foreign Affairs (July/August 2012): “How to Succeed in Business: And Why Washington Should Really Try,” by Alexander Bernard.
Bernard notes that the motive behind China’s state-owned purchases of resources around the globe isn’t to make money, but rather to “fuel the country’s economic rise.”
Certainly military might and political clout will follow.
Nor is China the only nation in the game.
India, Brazil, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, among others, are far more aggressive in tying up the world’s resources and contracts than U.S. companies.
Again, Washington’s regulatory scheme makes a reversal of this trend unlikely.
When our own government shuts down free enterprise, our corporations can’t compete with the biggest governments in the world.
“Among its peers, the United States is by far the least aggressive in promoting commercial interests…. China has managed to plant its commercial flag even in countries that are U.S. allies.”
In all this, the future of American wealth, prosperity, investment and jobs is drastically impacted for the negative.
We are failing to reboot our domestic economy because of our addiction to high regulation and high taxation, and the same things are causing consistent failure for U.S. commercial interests abroad.
Free enterprise works, but American policy has turned against it.
We are losing the battle, but losing the war.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.