Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 = 19 - - ?

As we begin a new year in a far different world than the last year began, many people make prognostications on how this year will compare to other years in the past.

Will it be similar to the late 1970's?

Will it be similar to the early 1930's?

The best example in my mind goes back even further, to the year 1900. As we entered the new century we saw a similar story.

There was a world power that controlled over 25% of the world's GDP. They had the largest military force, and they were the center of the financial universe. The country was Great Britain.

Across the pond there was another country that told different story. They were in the process of building an industrial powerhouse. They worked hard, saved their money, and woke up in the morning hungry for a share of Britain's dominance. The country was the United States.

From 1900 to 1960, America built themselves from nothing to the world's economic power. We were the Saudi Arabia of oil drilling and exports. We produced goods at a strong price, with strong wages, and exported those goods to the world.

Now in 2008, we control about 25% of the world's GDP. We have the largest military force, the world's reserve currency, and we are the center of the financial universe.

Across the pond there is another country with different story. They are in the process of building an industrial powerhouse. They work hard, save their money, and wake up every morning hungry for a share of America's dominance. That country is China.

In the year 1900, people who talked about Great Britain's fall and America's great future were considered crazy at the time. Why? Because people think the past will be the same as the future.

I do not believe that America will become 0% of the world's GDP, but what if they fell from 25% to just 15%? How would that effect the global economy and the way the world invests? I guess a better question is, do you think the next 50 years will be the same as the last?

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