Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The More Things Change, the More Things Change

re: Irwin M. Stelzer, ""IN TIMES LIKE THESE, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these," says Paul Harvey, the legendary radio commentator. A "great transformation [is] taking place around the world...a tectonic power shift...the world is very different," writes Fareed Zakaria in his Post-American World. /They're both right. We have indeed seen economic downturns many times in the past, some severe, some shallow and short. We have gone through periods of rising oil and commodity prices, of a falling dollar, and of rapid technological change. So Paul Harvey is right. /But so is Zakaria. We are finally seeing the impact on the world economy of the emergence of China, India and other once-poor countries. The good news is that we have brought billions of people into the world trading system, enriching them so they can afford to eat regularly, and trade their bicycles for cars. The less good news is that the process of adjusting to this increased demand on the world resources is proving painful, especially here in America. /Previous increases took the price of oil, and most especially of gasoline, to levels that were merely annoying. And anyhow proved to be temporary, as modest adjustments in fuel use and advances in technology combined with new supplies to ease price pressures. The current price spurt, which has taken gasoline prices to over $4 per gallon--half the level in the UK and other parts of the world, but previously unheard of in the United States--is different..."...

No comments: