With TPP in the process of being ratified and the American presidential race well under way, focus has again returned to the war for manufacturing (and manufacturing jobs) and its future in America. Boston Consulting Group released a remarkable survey a few weeks ago, which can be viewed here (pdf), here (slideshare) or here (scribd). It's worth posting the executive summary here to see its significance:
Key takeaways from BCG's fourth annual survey of U.S.-based manufacturing executives
1) Interest in reshoring production to the U.S. remains strong, and the percentage of companies actively moving operations back to the U.S. continues to increase
In a continuation of my Road to War series, I turn to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal recently struck (but not yet ratified and executed) by the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Much has been written about how this deal will (or will not) benefit the participants, but that is not the focus of this post. Instead, we turn to the strategic aspect of the TTP, and try to answer the question: is the TPP intended to contain China, or is it simply the extension of the Washington Consensus that drives the world towards greater openness and trade.
I don't often get a chance to discuss Australia, an important but often overlooked (from the American perspective) continent-sized country that serves as America's greatest ally in the Asia-Pacific region. As an alternative to an article I cited in the forum early in 2015, here is an Australian perspective. The Executive Director of the Lowy Insitute (an Australian think tank), Michael Fullilove, gave a series of lectures based on his book A Larger Australia which attempt to address the question of how Australia's foreign policy should adapt itself to the changes sweeping over the world. The audio and transcripts for the lectures are available online courtesy of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I would like to highlight several exerpts from the lecture series, which can serve as an important template for examining Australia's role in the world.
What connects China's push to internationalize the RMB, set up new global institutions to compete with the post-WWII order set up by the United States, and China's militarization of the South China Sea? I've revisited an old discussion in the forms debating the death of the American superpower, and wondering how it might be achieving by a rising China.
Interesting. Lest readers think that my posts on China reflect American triumphalism, here's a bit of balance with a video from the FT expressing concern that the US is headed for recession. Behold, the bear case: