As I’ve traveled the world there’s one experience I have consistently…
I walk into a cafe or restaurant and order a coffee, tea or lunch from a bored young man working there.
He just exudes a bad attitude; frustration and irritation with his lowly role having to serve me. Which is only natural; young men full of testosterone should be doing more masculine work...
- Laboring in a factory or a farm
- Working a trade; building or fixing things
- Working in sales; hustling to close deals and make commissions
- Doing something outdoors that maybe entails a bit of discomfort
- Doing intellectually challenging work with computers or technology
Why is it that so many young men across the world are so underemployed, serving coffee and sandwiches all day instead of doing meaningful work? Probably a lot of them are just lazy and unambitious but I suspect there’s an underlying economic cause...
I’ve also noticed that in these countries full of frustrated young men wearing aprons, it’s almost impossible to buy anything that is from those countries.
Everything on the store shelves is "Made in China"
The popular clothing brands H&M, Zara, etc are made in Bangladesh or some godawful place.
The buses, Taxis and Ubers that transport me are usually German brands, tiny Hondas or Toyotas or of some less reputable Asian vehicle make.
Just about the only thing I buy regularly in these countries that is actually produced in these countries is food.
Another really consistent experience I have is that I'll buy something I need...
And then it breaks and the trash fills a little more with "Made in China" junk about three months after I've bought it, consistently just after my tourist VISA has ran out and I've moved to different country.
I get the libertarian economic argument for free trade between nations but it seems to me that many of the countries I’ve spent time in have taken this WAY to far.
These countries have given up on producing their own stuff and they squander their human capital.
The young people in these countries get "free college" but they have little hope of finding dignified work in their countries.
I'm not making a sophisticated economic argument but from my observation the world badly needs less globalism and more protectionism.
One big thing that my country really has going for it is that we are willing to pay a premium for "Made in America" products, we take some pride both in buying from and producing things for our countrymen. What a better world it would be if we could export that mindset...