Any renaissance of American manufacturing must begin by fundamentally reversing our trade policies—both in general and in particular toward China. Over the past two decades, leading U.S. manufacturers, both the venerable (like General Electric) and the new (like Apple), have offshored millions of jobs—by one recent estimate, 2.9 million—to China to take advantage of the cheap labor, generous state subsidies, and low currency valuation that are linchpins of China’s mercantilist development strategy.
The book that influenced my vision of the world more than any other is, by conventional literary standards, a very bad work of fiction. There are no characters in the traditional sense, nothing much in the way of a plot, and the writing is often stilted or crude. Yet the book inspired Jorge Luis Borges to write an introduction declaring that its author's "literary imagination was almost boundless," and moved the literary critic Leslie Fiedler to write the author's biography. Star Maker
Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power by Fred Kaplan (John Wiley & Sons, 246 pages, $25.95)
Darth Vader makes a better villain than Mr. Magoo. A sinister mastermind is not only more dramatic than a myopic bumbler but more reassuring, because a universe controlled by a malevolent intelligence is at least controlled by intelligence. For this reason, explanations of the Bush administration's disastrous foreign policy in Iraq and the world in terms of Halliburton profits and alleged connections between the House of Bush and the House of Saud satisfy many who recoil from the depressing thought that a great nation could be led into disaster by people who are well intentioned and sincerely deluded.