Higher Prices to Hit Americans as Labour Costs, Demand Rise in Asia

When globalisation was just getting going it was a great thing for the rich countries. They could outsource manufacturing and other labour-intensive industries. Even at home, they could import – or let sneak across the border – millions of foreigners to do the dirty work. Profit margins rose as labour costs fell. And even though the price of raw materials was edging up, the lower labour expenses more than made up for it.

But that darned planet…it just keeps turning! Now, the Asians have a little change in their pockets and they’re getting uppity. They want to buy OUR oil…our wheat…our nickel…our copper…and our beef. So prices are rising – OUR prices.

And now, get this, Chinese producers say their labour costs are rising too. “This development,” reports the IHT , “a long-time coming in China, has picked up as coastal regions full of cheap workers begin to experience labour shortages.”

Yes, those millions of Asian schleppers and bussers…whom we were nice enough to employ in unheated sweatshops at US$1 an hour…now want more money! The cheek.

The ingrates! If it weren’t for our willingness to impoverish ourselves by buying things we couldn’t afford and didn’t really need anyway, with money we needn’t have, they’d still be working in the rice paddies with wooden sticks.

But that is the way things go, dear reader.

The dollar is going down…along with the value of almost all US-centric, domestic, dollar-priced assets. Stocks. Bonds. Wages. Houses. That’s where the ‘de’ in deflation comes from.

But it could be worse. In fact, it is worse. There’s the other kind of ‘flation’ too. Now, Americans will have to pay more for everything – energy, food, housing…and all those stupid gadgets from Asia.

Bill Bonner
Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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Coffee Addict
Yes Bill, the East Coast of China is moving up the feeding chain rapidly. I’m always willing to admit I was wrong in being a market bear. At the moment I’m a fence sitter. Please correct my back of the envelope metrics concerning global prospects. 1. The US economy constitutes about a third of the world economy. A severe US recession rolled out over the next 18 months (say 10% of GNP) that would knock 3% off world growth. This would be my worst case scenario. 3.Outside the US, the hardest hit would be exporter countries like Japan which due… Read more »
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