The dip in Hickory's fortunes since the beginning of the millennium relates to the de-industrialization of our local economy which coincides with the rise of the Dragon - China. The industrialization of the Chinese economic system is hard to compete with under the current United States/North Carolina/Catawba County/Unifour/Hickory model. The Eagle will continue its descent until we take real action to address what led us here. Action does not come from cooking books to pull wool over the public's eyes. The Atlanta Federal Reserve has lowered its forecast for GDP in the first quarter of 2015 to 0%. We have been in a recession since late 2007. We have never come out of it, even if the government says we have. They have constantly underestimated inflation to make it look like we have had growth. If real inflation is accounted for, we have had negative real growth in the GDP for nearly every quarter since late 2007.
The following is an interview that I listened to on Youtube from the Coast to Coast AM program hosted by George Noory on April 3, 2015. The interviewee on the subject is Dan Collins, the founder of Tiger Hill Capital, a Hong Kong based asset management company. He has lived in China for 15 years. He addresses how China's unprecedented industrial revolution has created massive wealth. Since the reform in the 1970s, in which citizens began to be allowed to reap rewards from their own businesses, China's economy has catapulted ahead to become the world's largest. In the economic sense, it's actually more capitalistic than the United States, but politically it's absolutely communist, with tight controls, and little or no voting, he pointed out. "On the economic side, it's totally the Wild West-- no property taxes, no environmental regulations," and it's very easy to open a new business, he remarked, adding that there are an estimated 60 billionaires in the Chinese Politburo.
By not being a democracy, China was able to make quick economic strides such as putting in a high-speed rail system in a short number of years. They are currently building 50,000 skyscrapers (the equivalent of 10 New York City's), and they've constructed 70 international airports in the last 10 years, he cited, adding that there are one million Chinese citizens now living in Africa, pursuing business opportunities, and tapping into the bounty of natural resources there. China has been increasing military spending by over 10% a year for decades, but Collins doesn't foresee them attacking America-- they are much more interested in areas closer to home such as Taiwan, and countries near their borders, he said. For the US to beat or more readily compete with China, he believes it needs to overhaul its tax system, and move to a consumption tax that is more friendly to business and manufacturing.
Here is the direct link that takes you to where his interview starts.