Economic Sustainability

The two giant cement columns stand like Grecian soldiers next to the highway in an obedient posture. This reverent stance is only fitting as the bridge they once supported leads onto a Navy base. The road which is suggested by their presence would have been perpendicular to the one that currently is.

As I picked my way through the marsh on the other side of the highway under their blank gaze, a black thing moved out of the corner of my eye. Startled, I looked again. The “cat” was a ball of asphalt. The movement must have been my own. I looked about the cracking pieces of road that used to lead up to the bridge supported by the twin soldiers on the other side. Chunks of it lay like a sort of pangea jigsaw puzzle, the outlines showing where they once fit together. Some of the former lane was pushed up like the tectonic plates on the side of a volcano. All of this in microcosm of the real. Time kept marching leaving the remnants of the bridge and the road to dissipate at its own rate.

I read somewhere recently that Chinese workers have been getting paid more.

The fence along this stretch goes on for a couple of miles and the width of the road and surrounding area is maybe several hundred feet.

The higher pay for Chinese workers drove prices up this year for some items that we have purchased more cheaply in the past. For a couple of years, the article said, the importers have absorbed these costs. But now they are passing them on to us. And the wages of Chinese continue to climb.

The asphalt becomes a ledge at a certain point, sticking out maybe a foot in front of the fence all the way down. This ledge drops off and underneath the soil has eroded away into the yawning ditch next to the road in current use. I wondered to myself if a transfer truck were to lose control and crash my way, if the deep ditch between me and the functioning road would be enough to stop it from running over me, like those built up sand traps on mountains that stop transfers when they have brake failure.

Silly me, I think. This is Florida and their IS no mountain side to careen down!

I am delighted that the Chinese worker is being paid more. Only it seems to me that the role of the Chinese versus American market places are switching. I do not believe that we are going to see that mass production of goods will disappear. I think the people purchasing these items is going to change. As the Chinese worker increases in wage earning, the buying power of that group also increases. As we sink in global prominence, we will possibly eventually replace the global workers as, sooner or later, we must accept lower wages in order to  continue to compete. It will be US making it for THEM. I see this as neither good or bad in and of itself. I don’t see mass production of items ENDING, only SHIFTING.

A lizard dashes out of the side of a chunk of asphalt. Grass grows up in the cracks. I almost smack myself in the face as I am looking down and do not see the tree growing on the other side of the fence and the limbs that poke through…


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