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Michael Turner
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I am curious as to your thoughts regarding the following: (1) How is "rich" defined? Is there a distributional component? While the U.S. is conventionally understood as the "richest" country, many citizens cannot be credibly classified as being rich (e.g. 75% of working individuals earn less than $50k US per annum). (2) Can a democracy sustain wealth and its status as a rich country in the presence of openness to globalization? The temptations of wage arbitrage, skirting costly environmental and labor standards, and the siren song of conditional access (even favored access) to rapidly growing emerging markets is proving irresistible. Any U.S. firm experiencing success in China likely has mortgaged its future for a short term gain. They have provided core technology to a Chinese firm that will transition from a partner to a competitor in China, and then everywhere else. (3) Can a democracy like the U.S., that has inarguably been coopted by MNCs on trade policy issues, ever align the interests of the working class with the interests of the MNCs. This seems critically important to ensure growth, competitiveness, and productivity gains over time.
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Sep 7, 2011