Was looking at Twitter this morning and saw a retweet from FLEP, by Charles Payne.
Breaking China Economic News
Reatil Sales decline
Industrial Production decline
Clothing sales negative first time in 16 years.
China looks to more stimulus to spark economic challenge but dozen of similar schemes have failed to provide spark or stop slide
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) May 15, 2019
We can probably all agree, FLEP has keen insight when it comes to good news, hidden news, especially indicators of shifts in economics. Thank you, FLEP. Glad you’re on our side. It’s a good guess we will be seeing that tweet later on today in the News RoundUp.
So, I started thinking about what happens when 1.4 BILLION Chinese start to tighten their spending habits. I thought about how the Chinese economy works, how their system is set up, as compared to how the USA operates. We’re very different.
Although Chinese civilization is thousands of years old and America is a but a babe, the industrialization of China only occurred in the last 25yrs. The great move to the coast by roughly 600 million Chinese, is a new thing. Children of family farms left the interior and moved to bigger cities to join the factory workforce. Most of these workers still go home for Spring Festival, when China all but shuts down their factories for three weeks…. cuz it takes that much time to travel home and back again.
America was developed differently. Sure, we started on the coastlines but moved inland on rivers, and over the Appalachians fairly quickly. Our agrarian economy developed all over the nation. Cities sprung up, and trade flowed from the interior to the coasts and back again. We raced to build transcontinental railroads….. and then Eisenhower built the great interstates…… which beget terrific cars out of Detroit….. and truckers to move goods from coast to coast in three days. We even made movies ABOUT truckers.
Be honest. Who among us has NOT slipped in behind a friendly semi…… to join a CONVOY!!!!!!! Only in the USA.
We’ve done business in China since 2003. About three years ago, I had a huge problem with a client order. The factory, located in interior China, was working too slowly and I was going to miss the deadline for shipment to the USA. I wanted to move the raw slabs to another factory at the coast, so they cut to order quickly, making the ship. To move 2 containers, 800 miles, was damn near impossible and cost me a little over $6000. What was really funny….. it was an unknown problem for them…. something they had not encountered before. Wow.
To an American, if we want to move goods from Dallas to Memphis, Boston to DC, Seattle to San Fran, we call a trucking line, or use an APP on our phones, to schedule a pickup. We load at a dock, and the goods arrive in less than 24 hours. Not in China. Again, thank Eisenhower for your interstates. Ease of distribution makes everything else possible.
Remember the scene from the movie, “Hunt for Red October”, where the “Second” wanted to live in Montana, marry a round American wife, raise rabbits, and TRAVEL from state to state…. no papers…. maybe even own an RV and live in Arizona in the winter? Or visit an American grocery store? Freedom to travel, choices of where we want to live, THAT’s America.
I live in Mississippi, now, but I miss the food from my home towns of New Orleans, Chicago, New York, and Miami. As an American, I can order King Crab legs from Alaska, key limes from Florida for the pie, and bagels from my favorite deli in NYC, to arrive by tomorrow. In fact, most of these same things are available at my local grocery store, less than a mile from my home. THAT’s America, choices, freedom. Thank you, President Eisenhower.
Have you ever been to a grocery store in a foreign country, maybe 30 miles outside of a major city? I have. It’s NOTHING like the grocery stores in the USA. Choices are non-existent. Good heavens, we have 37 different kinds of toothpaste available. I can buy Turkish towels, grapes from Chile, or a blender from China…… in less than 20 minutes.
An old employee called me for 1/4″ rebar/20′ sections (he was being artsy-making a lawn ornament), which is almost non-existent. I searched on-line, while we were talking, found some in Seattle, and had it on his doorstep in less than 36 hours. God Bless America…… and Eisenhower.
Years ago, during the fall of the Soviet Empire, we were all in the kitchen one day, speculating on the primary cause. Some thought it was because of Desert Storm, and that the Soviets learned our weapons really did work. Others thought it was because of Reagan’s military build up = We outspent the Soviets. Husband spoke up and said, “No, it’s about food.” We were all curious about his odd answer and asked him to explain further. He said, “They can’t ship a potato across 13 time zones…. they have no roads…. how are they going to go to war and defend both coasts plus the Caspian Sea?”
But it all came to a head last night, when the realization finally hit me.
We got a call for the B&B from a potential guest at about 9:00pm, nice couple, looking for a room for the night. We were trying to figure out how close they were to us to give them directions. They were on the interstate….. Eisenhower’s interstate, which runs from Chicago to New Orleans. The wife said, “We just past a Circle K” Husband replied, “Well, there’s probably a Circle K at every exit ramp, can you give me another hint?”
Sure, there probably is a Circle K at every exit ramp. Once the interstate went in, the 7-11 or Circle K pops up. Then, we get the gas stations, a hotel, a grocery store, dry cleaner, small businesses, bigger factories, a residential community, etc. It’s how we developed our economy…… and it all started with the interstates. China doesn’t have them and neither does Russia…… not like we do in the USA.
Take a look at Europe. One would think Europe would have roads and distribution on par with the USA. Italy has great “stradas”/interstates and Germany has the famous “Autobahn”. Yet, have you ever tried to take the coastal roads in Italy? It’s scenic, sure, but it takes forever and it’s nothing like AIA in Miami to Palm Beach or US1 in California. Small town France is terrific for public transport back to Paris, but try moving a truckload of goods from Normandy to Nice.
Central and South America are far worse. Have you ever driven in Mexico? Or Columbia, Chile…… even Brazil from the coast up to Minas Gerais? Wear comfortable clothes if you do, cuz you’ll have to change your shorts when you arrive. Yes, we are spoiled in the USA. Our roads and interstates are a luxury.
Heck, as the story goes, the REASON Eisenhower was inspired to build our interstates was because of his experience moving trucks, equipment, men and supplies around Europe during WW2.
It makes me wonder, what do you suppose it’s worth, our distribution system as a whole, to our GDP? What kind of an advantage does it give us above other countries? The train woke me up this morning at 5:00am. Instead of complaining, I was happy. It’s the sound of America on the move. Goods being shipped. AND it wasn’t long ago our tracks were in serious jeopardy of being pulled up. Now, we have 5-6 trains a day. Gotta love it.
We take it for granted. We’re all familiar with the ease of travel in the USA. Because we have a B&B, we take frequent last minute trips if we are not booked for a few days. All of our vacations have to be spontaneous. I have a packing list, taped to the inside door of the closet, so I don’t forget something. Makes it easy to put together a quick go-bag. I’m thinking no one in China or Russia does the same thing. Travel can be spontaneous for us.
One of our QTreepers is in Florida right now. She posted that she was sipping wine and feeding crackers to the turtles. I miss those little turtles and mentioned it to husband. He gave me an impish grin, checked the spot on his wrist where he once wore a watch, and said, “Ya’ know, we can be there in 7 hours.”
Yeah, in America, we could. Thank you, President Eisenhower.
It might be time for a Cannonball Run….. to the beach.
We’ll see you, somewhere on the road……. in America! We are eastbound and down…. very soon!
Hit the road this summer….. America is a beautiful place.